High-performance driving is a skill that takes intense practice, concentration, and dedication. The art of stuffing a car through the apexes at triple-digit speeds is not for the faint of heart. Professional race car driver Steve Millen has competed in some of the world's most prestigious races, including 24 Hours of Le Mans, and while jamming through the turns, most of the other racers were looking at Millen's back tires. Retired from racing, Steve now sits at the wheel of Stillen as President and CEO, spending his time driving the company in a high-performance and style-minded direction.
Stillen is well known for high-performance sports cars, mainly from the Nissan stable, and has built a countless number of performance Nissan Zs and Maximas that have kept many a Mustang and Camaro at bay. While the success of the Stillen name began with creating performance import cars, the company's image today has been further complemented by a deep involvement in trucks and SUVs, and catering to the enthusiasts who modify them. The Stillen Super Trucks & SUV division of the company specializes in offering custom aftermarket performance and styling enhancements, including everything from superchargers to billet grilles for your truck or sport utility, while the company's GT division offers customers a complete turnkey package with all the high-luxury spoils installed at once. While many companies claim they have their fingers on the pulse of the industry, for the staff of Truckin', the proof is in the project vehicles. After looking at the freshly completed '04 F-150 that recently emerged from the shop confines at Stillen's facility in Costa Mesa, California, the Truckin' crew was convinced that this team can build trucks.
Beginning with an '04 Ford F-150 extended cab, the team at Stillen couldn't wait to get this fresh Blue Oval specimen planted on the ground, rolling on big rims and rubber, and outfitted with a custom paint scheme and a trick audio system and interior. To ditch the stock nosebleed stance, the truck was driven into the Stillen shop area and hoisted up on a lift, where products from Air Ride Technologies were installed to get this Blue Oval a little closer to the Southern California soil. Up front, a pair of Air Ride Technologies Shockwave airbags were installed to bring the nose down to an acceptable pebble-pushing level. Moving to the rear, Stillen's top mechanics muscled up an Air Ride Technologies Air Bar four-link setup complete with Air Ride Technologies air springs. Once the suspension work was complete, new rolling stock from American Racing Wheels in the form of 20-inch Titan wheels in the front and 22-inch Titans out back mounted on Toyo Proxes P255/45R20 front and P265/40ZR22 rear rubber, was mounted up to kick the exterior looks into high gear.
To get this beauty to stop as good as it looks, Stillen pulled a set of AP Racing six-piston calipers and cross-drilled and slotted rotors from its inventory shelves and outfitted the front of the truck with smooth stopping power. For the rear, a pair of AP Racing Rotors were used with the stock calipers to bring Mr. Millen home safely from his high-speed freeway sessions.
Obviously, with a goal of optimum performance, leaving the factory 5.4L in stock trim was not an option. Forcing more air into the motor is a Volant cold-air intake system, while spent gases are routed through a Gibson dual cat-back exhaust system. These simple performance additions keep the package reliable while allowing the rear hides to be blazed with a firm stomp of the go pedal. After this fresh Blue Oval platform was slammed on mother earth and fit with some trick performance upgrades, the body was updated with a host of custom enhancements and trick paint.
In order to capture the ultimate race-style appearance on the exterior of this modern-day hot rod, the installation experts at Stillen smoothed out the truck's factory lines with a Stillen front bumper cover and spoiler combination, complete with 6-inch integrated PIAA driving lights. Custom Stillen side rocker panels, a urethane roll pan, and a urethane tailgate wing add a stylish look to the entire package, while smooth Street Scene urethane bedrail caps, a cowl-induction hood, a smooth wiper cowl, sport signal mirrors, and chrome upper and lower Speed Grille inserts fill in all the custom gaps. To access the cab and bed areas, the doors and tailgate are opened in style by way of polished door handles from Boze alloys. To protect the bed from dings and dents, a Line-X spray-on bedliner was flowed into the factory box innards before the truck was delivered to Huckhill Paint & Graphics for color.
Using a brilliant PPG Blue for the basecoat, the exterior comes alive with a set of bright-yellow racing stripes traveling up the bumper, over the hood, across the roof, and down the backside of the tailgate. Once the truck emerged from the booth at Huckhill, it was delivered to Joe Provenzano at Audio Innovations in Glendora, California, for a double throw-down, ear-piercing audio system.
The professionals at Audio Innovations completely gutted the Ford's confines from the cab and constructed a custom-built enclosure that houses the amplifiers and subwoofers. Pounding out thundering bass to the lucky passengers are two 12-inch Lightning Audio Storm Series X1.12.VC2 subwoofers with power supply coming from two Lightning Audio Storm Series S1.1000D amplifiers. Taking care of the mid- and high-range duties are Rockford Fosgate 6.5-inch FNQ component speakers in the front doors and Rockford Fosgate FNQ 5.25-inch component speakers located in the rear doors. Driving these speakers to their optimum level of performance are two Lightning Audio Strike Series S2.500 amplifiers.
At the command center of this wicked audio assembly is a Pioneer AVH P6500 AM/FM/CD unit, while an Accele Electronics DVD 1001 unit provides some visual entertainment. For power supply between all the audio gear, Audio Innovations used Lightning Audio Strike Series cabling, two Lightning Audio PC1 power cell capacitors, and a CS1 connector shroud. Once the sounds were in place, it was time for some custom sights to adorn the cabin, and Audio Innovations got busy covering the door panels and subwoofer enclosure in a bright combination of yellow and blue leather supplied by Classic Soft Trim. The factory front bucket seats were delivered to Classic Soft Trim for stitchwork to match the colorful surroundings and help draw additional focus to Steve Millen's Blue Oval office.
The team at Stillen has constructed a top-notch F-150 suited up with a performance look and equipped with an aggressive slam-dunk stance, and we bet Steve Millen never passes up a chance to put it through the paces.