This is the official kickoff of the Bumpside Build-Off between Classic Trucks and Custom Classic Trucks magazines. If you don't know what a Bumpside is, it refers to the '67-72 Ford F-100s-they have a distinctive bump down the side of the truck as part of their unique styling. After I bought my '68 F-100, the new editor of CCT, John "Out on a Limb" Gilbert, bought a '72 F-100, and we thought the right thing to do would be to have a friendly competition.

We have a year to build our trucks with our own hands and a little help from professionals. Each truck will be built in a different style so we don't repeat each other, and we'll use different parts as much as possible. We'll debut them later this year at an undecided out-of-state event where we might even take votes for which truck people like the best. These F-100s have always been lost in the shadow of Chevy's ultra-popular trucks of the same period, so we're going to do our part to bring this alternative to light as we buck the Bow Tie!

We ran an introductory feature on my '68 in our Sept. '06 issue that outlined my plans, which are still about the same, and I'm starting off with a bang. I gotta get rid of one of the biggest reasons people steer away from building these F-100s-the twin I-beam front suspension. They're tough to lower, and you'd still be out a bunch of money doing so, which makes installing an IFS system look like a practical solution. Fatman Fabrications has a Mustang II kit for the '61-79 F-100s to do just this. It works well and isn't too hard to install. Hey, I did it, and the only physical help I had was lifting the front sheetmetal from the truck! Fatman's kit uses either coilovers or ShockWaves and is available with several disc brake setups, or you can use your own that fits the Mustang II spindles. Steering is upgraded to a power rack-and-pinion system, which will be a welcome change to the worn-out manual box in my truck.

Installing Fatman's IFS is something that could feasibly be done in your garage if you have a 220-volt MIG or TIG welder and basic fabrication and measuring skills. The most important thing during all this is to take your time. Measure and check that all the dimensions and angles are correct, and have a qualified friend weld it up if needed. I don't want to sound like your shop teacher, but make sure you use all the safety measures one should for a job like this, and read the directions 20 times if you have to. Also, feel free to call the folks at Fatman with questions-I did, more than once. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the new front end with the wheels back on the truck since I'm waiting for brakes from ECI, and American Racing is just getting their new AR 500 wheels into production, so bear with me!

Next month, we'll tackle the steering installation and figure out if the stock column is gonna stay or go. Follow along as we highlight the process, and go out and buy a Bumpside while they're still cheap!

SOURCE
Fatman Fabrications
704-545-0369
www.fatmanfab.com
Miller Electric
8-004-AMI-LLER
www.millerwelds.com
Jimmy smith hot rod design & illustration
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