Around the first of the year, aftermarket automotive parts manufacturers, who belong to SEMA, are entitled to submit vehicle proposals to various manufacturers in order to develop products that will make it into production. The end result is the actual SEMA Show held every year in Las Vegas, Nevada. Almost all of the vehicles and parts featured in this issue are a direct result of that show. For instance, take a look at this month's main cover blurb. We showcased some of the best new products that this past year's show had to offer. Also in this article, you will see the highlights of the SEMA Show coverage, as well as the cool vehicles displayed.
When the notion of designing a new project vehicle took shape, we looked no further than to Street Scene Equipment (SSE). Through past work-related relationships, President Mike Spagnola and I have collaborated on numerous projects, all of which achieved critical success and accolades. Obviously, we had hoped for the same results this year. We both had one key objective with these projects, though, to make the vehicles completely color-matched, totally useable, daily drivers if need be. Something the average reader could create depending upon their level of build expertise and budget. And, we also didn't want to break the bank when it came to budget.
The Ford F-150 was lifted 6 inches over the stock height by a Fabtech suspension kit, fit
After submitting the renderings, created by Surface Art, designed by Nick Crouch; and receiving approval for the designs in early June, we were awarded an '06 Ford F-150 SuperCrew longbed and SSE was awarded an '07 Ford Expedition. However, due to that vehicle being completely new, SSE wouldn't receive it until six weeks prior to the SEMA Show, which made the build time significantly less, but onto our vehicle.
The F-150 originally started out as a black 6-1/2-foot longbed truck. It seems everyone and their brother has built a short bed version of the SuperCrew, but since this one would be getting Fabtech's new 6-inch suspension lift-complete with its Dirt Logic 2.5 coilover shocks-we wanted the long bed because, once lifted, it is proportionately more correct than the 5-1/2-foot bed. Also, fit to the underside of the new lifted suspension, expertly installed by Off Road Unlimited, in Burbank, California, is a set of Air Lift air- leveling load 'bags and an in-cab controlled compressor. Off Road Unlimited made a few adjustments to the stock brackets to accommodate the Fabtech Dirt Logic shocks, but for the most part, the Air Lift bags are a direct, bolt-on piece and highly recommended for any towing need. Also, fit to the front and rear differentials were 4.10:1 gearset compliments of Randy's Ring & Pinion and a set of Mag-Hytec front and rear differential covers. Planted under the four corners are Weld Racing EVO 20x10-inch Cheyenne Six wheels, dressed in Nitto Mud Grappler LT35x12.50R20 tires. To drastically aid in the stopping power, a set of Stillen supplied AP Racing front and rear 13-1/2-inch four-piston brakes and calipers were installed by Stillen in Costa Mesa, California. Big brakes are a must for any lifted truck. To ease ingress and egress of the truck, the F-150 was fit with a set of retractable AMP Research running boards that detract when not in use. To the uninformed, when the doors are closed, the boards are undetectable.
The power end of the Ford is all Whipple Superchargers. After installing this little piece
Under the hood is pure, supercharged muscle. Whipple Superchargers, through Ford Racing, offers a complete bolt-on supercharger system that dramatically bumps up the horsepower and torque of the factory 5.4L V-8 by as much as 50-percent across the entire powerband. The company's 140ci supercharger is good for 475 hp at the crankshaft, and resulting in, 395 hp at the rear wheels. That power figure is without modifications, but we added a complete MagnaFlow aftercat polished, stainless-steel exhaust system to provide extra punch with rear-exiting stainless-steel exhaust tips. The new, dual 2-1/2-inch system added just the right finishing touch to the underside of our truck.
With the underside and performance aspects covered, it was time to deliver the F-150 to the paint specialists at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California. Lead artist, Theresa Contreras, took over and worked her magic to the topside of the Ford's stock, black sheetmetal. Also fit to the truck, were SSE's entire catalog of new polyurethane components including 3-inch fender flares, roll pan with a hidden trailer hitch, a tailgate handle relocator kit, smoothed bedrail caps, front fender vents, windshield wiper cowl, cowl induction hood, Cal-Vu Street Smart electric mirrors, Speed Grille lower front bumper valance, and Speed Grille shell-fit with black chrome inserts-and large, 5-inch round, off-road lights. The other major body modification that usually goes undetected to the untrained eye was the new Ford Explorer door handles. The factory F-150 handles were gaudy and didn't work with our graphic scheme. L&G Enterprises worked its magic by swapping out the factory door handles and accommodating our wishes. They also shaved all of the factory emblems and then went to work on adding the cool, red hues courtesy of House of Kolor (HOK). Over the factory black, Theresa applied HOK Blue-Blood Red for the bottom dark red, followed with HOK Kosmos Red with pearl, as the accent red, and HOK Black with red pearl for the additional graphic stripe that appears translucent in the sun. It simply has to be seen to capture its essence. All of the graphics and pinstripe lines were expertly wrapped through the doorjambs with precision. Sitting atop the trucks bed is a SnugTop SnugLid SL and the underside plays host to a carpeted Bedrug from Wise Industries.
Weld Racing, Nitto Mud Grappler, and Stillen-supplied AP Racing brakes comprised the rest
While the truck was still drying, the interior was gutted and the seats were delivered to Classic Soft Trim, whose Roadwire aftermarket seat division transformed our stock, black-cloth seats into leather. The new black with red inserts are supple to the touch, and do an expert job of complementing the L&G Enterprises HOK Blue Blood Red painted dash inserts, center console, and door panel speakers. Numerous interior pieces-including the center dash pod inserts and door lock switch plates-were sent out to Phoenix Imaging for a bleached wood hydrographics accent. While awaiting their return, the truck was sent to the audio kings at Audio Innovations in Glendora, California. Once there, Joe Provenzano worked over the stock headliner with black vinyl and red accent stripes that added just the perfect finishing touches to the inside look. Also added was a complete Clarion double-din system MAX675VD MP3/CD/DVD/Navigation system that came with an Apple iPod hookup, which, was installed with a new 80-gig iPod. It was housed in a special, screwless billet aluminum iTector protective housing. In addition, four replacement Clarion SRC5796 5x7-inch plate speakers are powered by dual four-channel APX4360 amplifiers that were wired into the system. The coup de gras was the large custom subwoofer box, which was housed under the rear bench seat, and fit with dual PXW1251 12-inch Clarion subwoofers. For rear, movie-viewing pleasure, a pair of 7-inch color LCD headrest monitors were installed. Rounding out the audio and visuals, a Visualogic back-up camera was mounted to the rear license plate.
To see both of our F-150 and SSE's Expeditions rolling down the street, or sitting in the SSE booth during the SEMA Show, was a spectacle all of its own. The SSE booth won a special Ford Design award-primarily because of the unique L&G custom paint schemes, but it was the overall attention to detail that truly captivated peoples attention. Both vehicles were clean and not graphically gaudy. It was a timeless testament to two great combined resources, Truckin' magazine and SSE working together. Now, onto the next project.
Roadwire recovered the stock seats in super-supple red and black leather with red stitchin
Audio Innovations installed the Clarion navigation/audio system, the iTector screwless iPo
Street Scene Equipment's brand-new Cal-Vu Sport Mirrors were installed cleaning up the ext
More SSE gear. Three-inch fender flares and side fender vents with the graphics running th
The factory F-150 door handles were removed and swapped out with '06 Ford Explorer handles
Here's SSE's new wiper cowl and performance hood.
Capping the bed is a SnugTop SnugLid and SSE's flipped tailgate handle and rear roll pan.