In Terminator 3, the world saw the rise of the machines, literally, as Arnold battled a faster, more intelligent, and overall far superior enemy from the future. If robots built a truck to kick the human race's butt, this is what it would look like. Raw billet aluminum, unbreakable Mattracks, and flames shooting from the rollbar: a combination that screams world domination. Looking at this radical and rebellious rig, you can almost hear Arnold screaming from behind the wheel "Come with me if you want to live."
Designed, built, and debuted in only 90 days, the Terminator-as owner Doug DeBerti affectionately titled it-is a brilliant masterpiece of craftsmanship and dedication. This truck doesn't impress people: It beats them over the head with custom touches and induces episodes of shock and awe. Starting life as a stock '04 F-350 4x4 diesel, the truck was the perfect canvas for Doug and his design team to go crazy on.
Removing the entire cab from the frame, Doug enlisted the talents of Robin Moriarty. With the cab off, the entire frame was boxed, welded solid, and smoothed. A trick X-brace was welded into place in the rear of the frame for later use, and Steve Bowden of San Joaquin Body came in and painted the frame high-gloss black. The truck was in pieces and not able to be moved, however, so the team built a plastic paint booth around the frame. With the paint dry, Craig Fraser and Debra Mahan were called upon to airbrush the frame with Alsa Ghost Chrome paint. While the painting was going on, the DeBerti design team was busy calculating, machining, and using a waterjet machine to fabricate each piece of the one-off suspension lift. Madera Brothers covered each piece of the lift with protective powdercoating, and with R&D's 12-hour days going well, the final four-link bars were waterjet cut from a solid chunk of billet, with flames cut into each piece. Yes, the four-link bars are solid and cost nearly $30,000. Using 1-inch Heims from FK Bearings, an ORU crossover steering unit, and a front shaft dual CV unit that can operate at a 70-degree angle supplied by Pro Shaft of Bakersfield, California, the suspension is as functional as it is beautiful. The DeBerti team used Firestone big-rig airbags at each corner. Controlling each unit is an Air Ride Technologies E-ride system that allows the F-350 to automatically assume ride height once the ignition is fired. Going back to that trick X-frame, Doug cleverly used that empty space for his air tanks and can consistently keep the psi levels in the 100 range. A total of eight King shocks smooth out the bumps, and every cylinder is chromed to a glistening shine. Smoothing out the bumps is vital in this rig because of the massive Mattracks bolted onto each corner. Before being installed, Doug had the units disassembled, painted, powdercoated, and then reassembled.
Now that the suspension was in order, the crew focused on paint and body where a steroid-size task was awaiting the team. How could they make the body match the insane frame and suspension? Easy, let Doug and his design team loose with the waterjet machine and plenty of billet stock. Before the pieces could be applied, the body needed the proper paint treatment, and using the same plastic paint booth, Steve Bowden came back to paint the truck PPG silver. After bolting aluminum panels onto the truck's skin, Craig Fraser highlighted the flames with drop-shadow air brushing front to rear. Joe at American Fabrication rolled out a steel tailgate skin so Craig could airbrush the Terminator graphic onto the back. Continuing with the "from another planet" theme, the team created several pieces for the front boxed grille guard. Each piece was handmade, welded, and smoothed for an unbelievable look. The crazy rollbars were next on the list, with the exhaust exiting out the sides of each slab of aluminum. Creating his own light show, Doug bolted on a set of Gotflames flame-throwers, using a dedicated propane tank to shoot flames nearly 10 feet.
Other custom pieces include: aluminum door handles, door sills, a pedal kit, the steering wheel, the rearview mirror, bumper hooks, and grab handles. With the exterior on lockdown, it was time to go rescue the interior from the burning fire of stock hell.
Classic Soft Trim wrapped the stock seats in two-tone silver and black leather, and the DeBerti team smoothed the stock dash and painted it Alsa Ghost Chrome. Marcia and her crew over at California Audio and Video installed all of the Rockford Fosgate audio gear including the trick sub enclosure console. Completing the billet aluminum transformation, many of the stock plastic pieces were replaced with one-off milled billet pieces built exclusively for this machine.
Driving this truck is as much an experience as it is a challenge, after all it is hard to see the things you are running over. If you see Doug-or Arnold-driving this truck, don't be surprised to hear the yell "Come with me if you want to live."