FLO Airride Making a Spalsh
BIGGER AND BETTER. Year after Year. Build after Build. If that sounds exhausting, well, it is. It’s clearly a difficult task to continue to push the envelope and deliver something timeless yet stunning over and over, time and time again. But Mike Alexander and the team at FLO Airride continue to do just that. How you might ask? Well we sat down with Mike to get the skinny and when asked “How” he shared his secret formula; just do the work, consistently:
“Vision meets faith. It takes vision to see the end result beyond the problems and daily headaches that we all run in to when trying to create anything extraordinary. Putting out fires and solving problems as they present themselves are all just part of the game. But vision must meet faith on the battlefield in order to see it through – there is no “can’t be done” only “I’ll find another way.” Faith in your team, faith in the vision, and faith that you will be able to conquer anything that stands in your way. It’s definitely not for everyone. Iron will is a must, but once you make it through to the other side it almost becomes addicting to win again and again.”
THAT’S WHAT MAKES THESE BUILDS SO DIFFICULT, BUT ALSO SO EXCITING. BRAND NEW AND PROTOTYPE PRODUCTS FOR THE CUSTOM AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET THAT MOST HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
And there you have it – these custom creations are just that, an addiction! Here at Street Trucks we fully agree, and it’s not even a less expensive outlet than most other addictions haha. But it is definitely a more creative and accepted outlet (and hopefully healthier) and we’re stoked that the best with this same addiction happen to rotate through these very pages.
Mike Alexander set out to make a splash in the F-100 community and partnered with some of the best in the biz to ensure success. This 1962 F-100 build sports some rather unique features, starting with swapping on a 1964 F-100 bed. The foundation began with a full-frame GSI chassis bumper to bumper. From there the team designed a one-of-a-kind look and stance to compliment the craftsmanship that now rested beneath. The GSI chassis was stripped and immediately sent off to powder, while the cab and bed were torn apart for the 90-day thrash. That’s right, this entire truck was built from the ground up in three months flat.
A SEMA build of this caliber could definitely benefit from a few more months added to the build calendar – but that’s the thing about SEMA that many don’t quite grasp. Let us break it down for you. The SEMA show is a TRADESHOW to highlight NEW products, not a car show highlighting these wild builds. As a tradeshow for new products, the FLO team had a list of firsts and new products that haven’t even hit the market yet that they had to incorporate into this build. Starting with the all new F100 chassis from GSI which wouldn’t even be ready until the 90day out mark. The booth they were called to show for was the Precision Replacements Parts booth, which happened to be launching an all new F100 product line that wouldn’t be available until about 45 days out. So, as you can see, these deadlines are tight for everyone involved and it takes a well-oiled machine to run with these sort of punches to deliver an end product that doesn’t look like it was just slapped together. The people that say things like “SEMA happens every year at the same time, why not just get started earlier?” just don’t understand this side of it with the debut and release of new products, new model years, etc. That’s what makes these builds so difficult, but also so exciting. Brand new and prototype products for the custom automotive aftermarket that most have never seen before. Incorporating these new products into your build, with very tight deadlines isn’t the easiest feat but it is definitely what separates the men from the boys in this industry.
Granted, many SEMA builds are more of a bolt-on affair to highlight these new automotive aftermarket production parts – so when you get into the full build and custom side, things like a complete new chassis for a one-off build is quite a bit more complicated than a lifted truck with some powder and bolt-on bed toppers. This is what takes a crack team. Fabrication, interior, wiring, engine swaps, body mods and full paint. Most of these items on the check list would take 3 months each, but working together the FLO Team is able to pull off miracle after miracle. To make things even more “fun” they decided to swap in a Gen2 Coyote from a 2017 GT Mustang and the 6speed auto trans, which has only been done a handful of times. Shawn Robinson came to the rescue with help from Power by the hour to help get the Coyote wired and fired and take care of all of the wiring.
But the largest miracle for this FLO-100 build probably comes from the body and paint side. Having a “farm truck” to start with isn’t exactly the nicest platform to just scuff and shoot. And of course, Mike had to go deep black, so Alan Farias and his amazing team at AK Airbrushing definitely had their work cut out for them. With quite a few things shaved and smoothed, a custom bed built be Anthony at FLO, a custom stamped “FLO” tailgate skin from Donnie at GSL Customs, and a host of other mods AK Airbrushing started with the cab and worked their way back. A TON of bodywork was necessary to get almost six decades of abuse smoothed out for a nice black paintjob. And the curve ball for AK came in the way of copper accents. Mike and Anthony Miller at Moffitt Brothers created the design concept to incorporate a splash of copper throughout the build. So, All Real Gold came on board with a new technology in “real 18kt gold” paint – which was a new process for Alan and the team at AK to learn and test in such a short timeline. But per usual they pulled it off! The deep black paint adorns the FLO-100 with the perfect amount of subtle copper touches and the burgundy Detroit Wheels tie the interior and Coyote adorned engine bay all together. A risky recipe with a short timeline, and if anyone else would have told us that they were trying to do ALL of this in 90days, we probably wouldn’t believe them. But Mike and the FLO team are veterans from a different era, when things get tough, they thrive and push through to the other side. When we first approached Mike to shoot this truck for the cover of ST he hit us with the, “Only if Johnny O can shoot it out at the dry lake bed after SEMA” deal, so we had to dig deeper there. It turns out that this was Mike and John’s 20th year of shooting vehicles out at the dry lake bed tradition and it was always Mike’s personal dream that one day “the Johnny O” would be the one to shoot his truck for the cover, even us magazine guys share these same dreams. BOOM – dreams come true, after two decades, you hold in your hands a dream come true for a magazine industry veteran. Great job Mike and team, we all knew you could pull it off, but we have to say it – took you long enough haha!ST
Mike would like to personally thank every single person who came together on this one, including; Tim Dunaway, Michael and David for their years of dedication, Anthony and Scott at GSI, Derek at Precision, Rick at Baer, Anthony, Izzy, and Shawn (the main build team), Rory and Koollaid, Tyler Dale, Ross, Donny and Donnie, Tom, Jeff, Cody, Devin, Corey, Luke, Carl and the entire crew at Air Lift for their years of continued support, the badasses at Detroit Steel, Michael at Colorado Customs for always coming through in a pinch, TSD Metalworks for the custom hood hinges, Slim & June and the video crew for the fun times on the way to SEMA, Brian Hanners, Anthony at Moffitt for continually pushing the limits with us, Ronnie and Black Max at Lowrider Depot, Alan and his amazing team at AK Airbrushing for ALWAYS coming through no matter the odds, Ramon at Gonzales Upholstery for working right alongside us through the late nights, Waylon at TMI, Scott at Dakota Digital, all the awesome guys and gals at Kicker, Shawn Robinson for forgetting his tape but still managing to get ol’ girl to fire up, Paul at Old Anvil Speed Shop for coming through big time on last minute engine dress up and front tubs, Tony Leal for never paying on time but always lending a laugh and helping hand, Brett Oakes for the golf cart hangs and fatherly advice through the years, all of our brothers and sisters in Severed Ties, Rory Griffith AGAIN for helping knock out the bedwood floor and finishing touches, Gayyyyyge, and Bryce, and last but not least Johnny O for some more 4am dry lake bed memories, I’m sure I’m forgetting someone so thank YOU too!