Ford F100 Pick-up


The Ford 9-inch axle that came with the truck was retained, but to compliment the low stance of the front-end, the rear was lowered severely by relocating the stock leaf springs on to the underside of the axle. Being almost 50 years old, the truck obviously needed a considerable amount of repair work, which included new door skins, cab skins and repairing some well hidden crash damage on the nearside front corner, which was again all carried out by Paul prior to the VW Yellow paint being applied. Whilst Paul was given a relatively freehand with the build-up of the car, it was Colin himself who obtained most of the parts required, as John tells us. "Colin brought a lot of the bits back in his suitcase when he went over to the States; he had a pair of bumpers on the plane one time!" Such escapades seem to be a popular past time for American car owners!


It's a sad fact that the Yanks, along with many other countries, drive on the wrong side of the road. Now, personally I prefer the feel of a left-hand-drive car, being right handed I feel more natural changing gears that way, but I have to admit that to use a left hooker regularly on UK roads can be a pain in the proverbial. It's not so bad on the motorway or dual carriageways as you don't need to see what's coming the other way, but when you get stuck behind a slower moving car on an A or B road it can be a nightmare, and have you ever tried going through a drive thru or a toll booth? Thankfully, most of the American cars we drive in this country have the power to get you out of trouble should there be less time to overtake than you anticipated, but it would still be nice to have the style and performance of a classic Yank yet still have right-hand-drive. A number of the current crop of American vehicles can now be purchased in right-hand-drive form, the Chevy Blazer or the Chrysler Voyager are just two examples, but if you are looking for something a little bit older then I'm afraid you are going to be out of luck, unless of course any of you know a man who can!

Excerpts reproduced with kind permission of Custom Car magazine.

Colin Parker, it seems knows just such a man, or men, in the shape of Paul Burnham and his crew at Burnham Autos in Gravesend, Kent.

Colin was introduced to the hot rodding scene by his son-in-law John Coy, an NSRA committee member. John has managed to bestow his love of Fifties' American trucks, and in particular the Ford F100s, on to Colin, who immediately went over to the States to buy a truck for his first project, as John explains. "We'd been over to the States together when we bought my truck, and while we were there we went to a few shows and I showed him one or two trucks and then when we got back he called me a few weeks later to tell me he'd bought a truck just like mine.

Once Colin and John had picked the truck up from the docks, they were straight on the phone to Paul at Burnham Autos to discuss the options available. From the word go, Colin was keen to go for right-hand drive and as Paul had previously fitted a few of the Jag front clips, it was decided that was the way to go. Opting for a RHD front end cut out many of the problems associated with this type of conversion and, once a nice new column had been attached to the steering components; it only required the pedals and dash binnacle to be swapped over. Ok, so we've made that sound really simple, but in reality it did require a considerable amount of fabrication, especially on the dash, although as you can see from the picture Paul and his crew did a perfect job. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was a factory build.

Colin and John made regular visits to the Burnham Autos rod shop to watch the progress of the truck, but it was John who first saw it as a finished article, as he tells us. "Colin had seen it in paint, but not fully finished as Paul wasn't happy with a few bits and wanted to redo them. When Paul told us it was finally ready, Colin was actually in Florida so I went and picked it up!" And at the time of writing this feature, Colin is still yet to get behind the wheel, a little nervous of driving his new toy we think.

According to John the truck is great on the road. "It drives very nicely: it's just like an everyday car. It's a bit hard on the back with the leaf springs but really it's very good." The engine, however - a big-block Ford - is not doing as well and is in need of a rebuild. This was the engine that came with the car and other than a lick of paint and a clean up it has yet to be messed with. "It's a bit tired really and its using a lot of oil so we will probably rebuild it over the winter", comments Colin

The truck certainly looks stunning and is a credit to Colin as well as the crew down at Burnham Autos, and while many people may turn their noses up at professionally-built cars in favour of the home grown variety, not everyone has both the time and the skills to produce such a car, and I for one would much rather see as many rods and customs out on the streets as possible. Who cares who builds them as long as they get to be used on the street instead of sat in someone's lock-up waiting for the day when they have the time to get it finished!

Converting to RHD is nothing new, and Paul Burnham the proprietor at Burnham Autos has carried out a number of these conversions over the past few years, but they all have one thing in common, they look factory built! "We spend hours making it looked like we haven't done anything, we like the cars to leave our workshop looking like they came out of the factory like that", explains Paul. The Jaguar front clip is a popular choice at Burnham's as they are easy to source and relatively easy to fit... well, as long as you know what you are doing of course. The clip is used alongside the Jag master cylinder and the power steering components to retain some continuity, which helps to reduce build time and ultimately cost, as well as making it easier for the customer to source spares should the need arise.