Subtle art: Brad McGill’s 1968 bumpside F100

Brad McGill's subtly styled bumpside F100 is a masterclass in the art of less-is-more

Photographers: Jordan Leist

In street machining, there are pretty much two types of people: those who love the challenge of building a car but sell it as soon as it’s done, and those who are long-termers, having owned the same car for decades. Brad McGill is definitely the first type, never holding on to anything for too long and always looking for the next project to do a quick freshen-up on.

First published in the December 2022 issue of Street Machine

Brad assumed that this ‘build it up, sell it off’ formula would hold when he purchased this ’68 bumpside F100 in 2016. For those not in the F-truck mafia, ‘bumpside’ refers to the ’67-72 F100s that feature a concave contour on the beltline. After ’73, the contour became convex, and those trucks are known as ‘dentsides’.

However, after spending a year doing it up, Brad found that this particular bumpside had somehow got under his skin, as he realised when he had to send the truck off to its new owner in Melbourne: “I remember driving it to the CEVA depot to drop it off, and I was thinking, ‘Shit, I don’t really want to let this thing go,’” he recalls. In his defence, he hadn’t really had much time to think about it, as it had sold as soon as he put it on the market.

Cue some serious seller’s remorse. “Ever since I sold it, I’d been bugging the guy to try and get it back,” Brad says. “Last year, he caved in. He had to let it go, and I feel really fortunate that I was able to get it back.”

Cars can often undergo significant changes after they’ve been sold as the new owner attempts to put his or her personal stamp on them. However, Brad was pleasantly surprised to find that the F100 was in exactly the same condition as when he’d sold it, which was heartening given all the work he’d put into the truck the first time around.

“I originally bought it as a six-cylinder with a four-speed manual that was pretty ordinary to drive,” he recounts. “John at Muscat Mechanical installed the Jag front clip and 351 Cleveland for me, and from there I panel-and-painted the F100 myself. It was in decent condition for one of these old girls, but it still required a lot of bodywork, particularly on the tub sides, but I got there eventually.

It was one of the first cars I’d painted, so I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I used to have a furniture business, so I learnt how to paint by spraying lacquer on furniture.” Brad’s former profession had come in handy earlier in the build as well, when he swapped a dining table he’d made for the Clevo engine.

He also used skills learned from his CNC machining business to make the aluminium hard lid for the tray, which has slots machined into it with stainless-steel inserts that were themselves CNC-machined for a perfect fit. “That added a nice touch and really cleaned up the tub area nicely,” says Brad.

“I like my cars to be clean and stripped back, so that was the goal on this one right from the beginning”

Yet while the truck was already a pretty neat thing when he sold it, Brad has refined it quite a bit since he bought it back. It’s been lowered another two inches front and rear, and the interior has been redone – mostly paint detailing, as the only upholstery inside is on the seat and armrests, and the former was already sporting quality trim from its previous life in Clint DiGiovanni’s F100. Brad did the carpet and hoodlining himself, and then colour-matched the armrests to the seat.

Custom inner fender and radiator support covers were fabricated to tidy up the engine bay, which was something Brad had wanted to do the first time around. “The engine bay was letting it down big time,” he says. “Back then I probably didn’t have the ability to make that kind of stuff, even if I’d had the tools. I’m self-taught, and I’ve evolved as I’ve built more vehicles.

You learn from each one – the things you do right and the things you don’t do right – and your skills become a little bit better as you go along.” The rear bumper was also tucked a couple of inches closer to the body for a much cleaner look, and the battery was relocated to the tub.

It’s kind of ironic that the thing that makes this truck stand out is how low-key it is. The Wimbledon White paint is a factory Ford colour from the era, and all of the brightwork has been finished in a satin silver.

The wheels are big but don’t make the Effy look like a full-sized Hot Wheels car, and the stance is low but not ground-scraping – although Brad does have plans for a bigger notch, a four-link and airbags.

“I like my cars to be clean and stripped back, mostly with no badges and understated, so that was the goal on this one right from the beginning,” Brad explains. I’d say he nailed it right through the middle of the sticks.

1968 FORD F100

Paint:Valspar Wimbledon White
Type:351 Cleveland
Inlet:Edelbrock dual-plane
Radiator:XY Falcon, BF thermo fan
Exhaust:Twin system
Diff:9in, 3.5:1 gears
Front:Jaguar XJ6 Series II, lowered Jaguar springs, Koni shocks
Rear:Leaf springs, Koni shocks
Brakes:Jaguar discs (f), Ford discs (r)
Rims:US Mags Rambler; 20×8 (f), 20×9.5 (r)
Rubber:Federal; 245/45R20 (f), 275/40R20 (r)

My dad and my nephew Ben for helping me with the build; Danny for selling the F100 back to me.