Michael Kruger’s slammed 1961 Ford F100

Smith Concepts takes Michael 'Freddy' Kruger's slammed F100 and turns it into a hot rod-inspired stunner

Photographers: Simon Davidson

SLAMMED trucks are a favourite of ours in the Street Machine offices, and Michael ‘Freddy’ Kruger’s hot rod-inspired 1961 F100 is one truck packed with a whole bunch of attitude.

This article was first published in the September 2020 issue of Street Machine

The outside is now a far cry from what it was when Freddy first got it, Smith Concepts taking the rattle-can matte-black rat job and turning it into a masterpiece. “It’s like they’ve taken a hot chick and put fake tan on her – it’s awesome!” says Freddy

Freddy had been eyeing off the truck for a number of years, eventually trading it with a fellow member of his Ground Level Mini-Trucks & Customs Club for his 1949 Ford spinner. “I knew if I was to ever own a truck, it would be this one!” says Freddy. “I’ve been around the truck and the Ground Level guys for its whole life.

Slammed 1961 Ford F100

The 93/4in roof chop uses sections of the old bonnet to keep the same centre bulge flowing across the car, and Kyle used the same flame design on both the roof and the bonnet

“I got it as a running, driving truck,” he continues. “It was a bit rough, but that’s how the previous owner built and wanted it – he liked the rougher, down-to-earth kind of car. It was never garaged, even though it has no side windows!”

The Effy has undergone some extensive surgery to achieve its killer looks, most of which had been done before Freddy got his hands on it. Jason from Twisted Garage took on the bulk of the work, with some help from the lads at Freddy’s mini-truck club. Jason took care of the 9¾-inch roof chop by using sections of the original bonnet, and notched and four-linked the rear end with a McDonald Brothers nine-inch. Twisted Garage also grafted in a narrower front end from a Jaguar, fitted a stocko 302 Windsor and added a whole bunch of other custom touches, including a pair of Ford Galaxie tail-lights.

One of the most challenging parts for the build was sorting the glass, in particular the windscreen. “It was the part of the initial build that took the longest,” says Freddy. Constant trial and error with cardboard and fibreglass moulds eventually yielded sterling results

The F100 sits on Slam Specialties airbags, and Freddy went through a bunch of wheels before settling on the 15×7 and 15×9 smooth steelies it sits on now.

After finally getting his hands on the truck, Freddy had the tub re-engineered for tilting duties. “Before Kyle painted it with the flames, I used it for Bunnings runs and for work,” he says. “It was funny seeing the welder in the back, because it sits higher than the roof!”

Another custom touch is the Ford Galaxie tail-lights grafted into the back of the F100, and Freddy also had the tub converted to a tipper so the truck still retains some level of practicality

While the F100 was already somewhat of a finished thing, one night on the beers along with some blue-sky thinking triggered a renaissance for the low-slung truck. Freddy and his long-time mate Jayboy decided it needed some flames, and within days Jayboy had organised for Kyle Smith from Smith Concepts to sort Freddy out. “Kyle has a huge name in Oz for his crazy paint schemes, and Jayboy has an equal reputation for his ability and artistic flair,” says Freddy. “So when these two are in the same room it’s poetry in motion, and the vibe is amazing.”

“We were always going for a hot rod-inspired vibe,” says Kyle Smith of the truck’s wild flame design. “It was never really meant to be a traditional mini-truck in that regard.”

Kyle and the team taped up and sorted the flames in Jayboy’s garage, laying down the new eye-catching additions in record time. However, it was now clear that the rest of the truck wasn’t up to the same level as the shiny new flame-job emblazoned on the worn-out matte-black paint. “The flames basically triggered a second makeover for the truck,” laughs Kyle.

With that, the truck was shipped off to Smith Concepts, where Kyle and his crew brought the Effy up to scratch. “We did it in a bit of an arse-about way,” he admits. “It would’ve been easier to repaint the truck and then add the flames rather than working around them, but it was never really planned,” he says. Smith Concepts fixed some rust spots, sorted out the beautifully painted and pinstriped interior, and carefully resprayed the black before clear-coating over the whole lot. “Kyle and the guys took the truck and turned it into something it was never meant to be,” says Freddy.

The interior was standard and worn out when the Smith Concepts crew started out on it. They reinvented it with some delicious candy red before adding pinstriped highlights. A mammoth 24in shifter lets Freddy effortlessly row through the FMX’s gears, while the steering wheel locked down with a Cragar S/S centre nut makes for a sweet custom touch

Despite the way the truck looks, it’s probably done more road miles than most daily drivers. “It was built with driveability in mind, and to drive far!” says Freddy. “I’ve driven the whole east coast of Australia, from Mackay in Queensland through to Tasmania every year and then all the way back – you can do 11 hours straight and it’s still comfy as hell.”

Freddy doesn’t have much more planned for the F100 other than just to enjoy it, hinting that there may be an engine swap in its future. “I’d love to maybe put a diesel V8 into it one day; I think something like an LS would ruin this truck,” he says. “It turned into something I never could have imagined it would, so I’m just going to enjoy it and focus on my other projects for now.”


IN A CRUELLY ironic twist, the flames on Freddy’s F-truck now mean more to him than just a striking look. The devastating bushfires that ripped through NSW during the 2019-2020 summer destroyed both sheds at his parents’ home, as well as 20 per cent of their house.

“It was lucky the truck was at Smith Concepts and not there, because I lost a bunch of gear in those fires: engines, grilles, window conversions for the F100 – all gone,” says Freddy. “The neighbour’s house was completely destroyed, and a shipping container we had melted away to nothing. So the flames have even more significance now.”

1961 FORD F100

Paint: Smith Concepts flames

Brand: 302 Windsor
Internals: Standard
Ignition: Electronic
Cooling: Aussie Desert Cooler radiator
Exhaust: 2in, dumped after the cab

Gearbox: Ford FMX
Diff: Ford 9in

Front: Slam Specialties airbags
Rear: Four-link, Slam Specialties airbags
Brakes: R33 Skyline discs (f), Ford discs (r)

Rims: Smooth steel; 15×7 (f), 15×9 (r)

Jayboy Tattoo and Kyle at Smith Concepts – without them this would still be a farm truck;
Jason at Twisted Garage; Daniel from Metal Mavericks Mechanical; One-Dollar Vince for all the help over the years; Graeme at DTK for his assistance; The Chrome Factory; Mitch Buss for the hook-up; my family and a very patient wife of mine; all the Ground Level members and friends over the years