Douw Van Der WaltrWalts Ford F100
Article and Photos by Jared Govender
I drop in on Bradley Lightening and Greg over at Speedway Auto every now and then to see what they have cooking, and sometime in 2014 at their workshop I noticed the incomplete nose belonging to an F-100 poking out at me from around the corner. It was pretty impossible to miss, having just received a flawless Skoda Red paintjob at the hands of Dane and Gordon Thompson over at The Paint & Panel Shop. When I asked Brad to tell me more he just smiled in his usual way and called me over to his PC so that he could show me pictures of this entire build from the very beginning to that point. What I saw left me speechless and I was well and truly “subscribed” to the build thereafter.
Watching this F-100 progress on a monthly basis and then to see the final product on the day of our shoot was extremely rewarding. Finally getting to meet the man behind the build, Douw van der Walt, and his wife, Inés, and little daughter, Cristina (whose name adorns the license plate of the truck) and just witnessing how they treat the F-100 as part of their family was an equally rewarding experience. And as I get to chatting with Douw, it started to make sense how this 60 year old truck got to be the way it is today. Having always loved cars from an early age, Douw always dreamed of owning something special, but never had the financial means. But just short of his 40th birthday he knew that if he didn’t do something about that dream he would always live in regret for what might have been.
Douw has always had a soft-spot for the curves and grille of the ‘55 F-100, so he began scouring the internet for one and after searching for months he found one in East London that looked semi-decent. But after he bought it and started work on it, it was discovered that the frame was unusable and he had to start searching once again. He found another one in Krugersdorp a short time later and purchased it knowing that he could use the best of both the shells to make up one very good base to start from. It was at that point that Douw sent the F-100 to Speedway who took charge of the project.
While the body was receiving paint at The Paint & Panel Shop, Speedway prepped the chassis with a Jaguar XJS suspension and Jag 2-pot (rear) and 4-pot (front) disc brakes, while the power rack and pinion steering came from Summit Racing. The engine that would power the Ford is a 351 Windsor with some Edelbrock bits like aluminium heads, 600 CFM carbs and Performer camshafts. The V8 has also been treated to an MSD Performance ignition and full custom stainless steel exhaust that emits a deep spine-tingling bellow. All the wiring and security has been taken care of by Willie van Rensburg from Ace Looms.
The flawless deep red paintwork is complimented by the contrasting chrome bits on the exterior like the grille, bumpers and of course those simply beautiful Shelby Cobra 18-inch American Racing wheels. The bed of the truck has also been completely redone with Rosewood stainless marine grade bed wood that sits atop a custom aluminium 97 litre gas tank. On the interior side of things you can’t help but notice the excellent craftsmanship that has been carried out on the seats, door cards, roof lining and dashboard, all of which have been reupholstered in BMW brown leather by Seelan Pillay of Custom Auto & General. The Toyota bench seat is extremely comfortable with all the extra bolstering and padding and it makes the cockpit a lovely place to sit and take in all those admiring eyes. There’s also a great Rockford Fosgate South Africa sound system in play, expertly installed by Rael Greenspan from Altra Audio in Ballito.
It took a few years and loads of money and effort to complete this project, and Douw almost gave up on the truck a few times but thankfully he stuck to his guns and now he can enjoy the sweet satisfaction of owning a vehicle as special as this. The level of detail that has put into this truck by all parties concerned is simply breathtaking and certainly something the Douw and his entire family can be proud of.