Chris Rawlins, from Pooler, Georgia, is the manager for Kimball's Mobile Electronics in Savannah. At age 37, he has been an active enthusiast for the last 20 years and finds it difficult to drive anything that doesn't boast a world-class stereo. For the last several years, his '97 Expedition has been the perfect family vehicle but there was a problem. Even though his daily driver was `bagged on 22-inch wheels, the truck was missing one crucial element to satisfy Chris' need for some genuine concert hall entertainment. The solution began innocently enough when he contacted JBL for some equipment. When the components arrived, they looked so good that he decided they were worth a slightly more elaborate install and, as you can see, that one small step turned into a very long walk! The 20-month build departed considerably from the original plan but the results were worth it, producing the show-winning custom you see here.
Chris embarked on the project, deciding to build a truck in a style popular years ago. "Back in the day," he recalled, "stereo shops would have a dynamic demo vehicle out front, cool enough to make you want to take a closer look. Their showcase vehicle would display the talents of the shop and convince you that they were the ones to modify your truck." Chris' goal was to create a truck that would stop traffic!
He started with an advantage since his truck was already 'bagged, but more was needed to get it to the next level. Suspension mods were the first step in lowering the profile. He C-notched the rear framerails for additional clearance and installed DJM upper and lower tubular control arms up front, along with new Brembo rotors on the factory calipers. The air suspension system uses 2,600-pound `bags, 8.5 Blitzluft valves, -inch lines, and a pair of Viair 480C compressors that fill the 5-gallon chassis-mounted reserve tank. Extra capacity comes from the nitrous bottle that adds an additional two gallons of reserve air. The 10-switch box on the console gives the truck all the moves.
In his quest for a full custom, Chris contacted the team at Smitty's Collision Center in Garden City, Georgia. They handled the bodywork, shaving the door handles, hood squirters, antenna, emblems, roof rack, rear wipers, and tailgate. The Grant Customs three-piece roll pan replaced the original rear bumper and the truck now runs a front end from an `02 Ford Lightning, complete with clear headlight assemblies, clear corners, and HID lights. Once all the changes were complete, Chris took the vehicle to Chad Chambers Customs in Daytona Beach, Florida, for paint. Using a combination of white with House of Kolor Majik Blue Pearl and Tru Blue Pearl, accented with realistic fire and airbrushed skulls. the Ford looked great. Todd Fisher from Volusia County Customs followed up, adding the lime green and orange pinstripes to separate the colors.
Those are B.A.D. Gunslinger wheels, 22x10-inch in the rear and 22x8-inch up front, wrapped
The 5.4L V-8 uses a Spectre cold air intake, a Stinger 220-amp alternator to charge the pa