It takes a lot to get noticed at a custom truck show, and the bar keeps getting raised. The stakes are even higher when you plan to debut a vehicle at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas, so you'd better do your homework and come prepared. When Kyle "K Daddy" Gann wanted to show off his custom paintwork and interior skills, he decided, like any piece of art, it needed the right presentation. Knowing that the right suspension would put his art at eye level of the viewing public, Kyle called upon Pat Gerber at Shocker Motorsports, just across town from Kyle's own K Daddyz Kustomz in Bakersfield, California, for the one-off suspension.
A veteran of custom hot rod and truck builds, Kyle's canvas this time around was an '08 Ford Super Duty F-450. Since the two had collaborated on two previous 4WD builds, Kyle knew that Pat and fellow Shocker Motorsports fabricator Matt George would be able to deliver on the colossal Ford. Already equipped with heavy-duty axles and a 6.4L Power Stroke diesel, he discussed his vision with Pat and decided that the axles could stay, but the suspension just wouldn't do.
After taking a series of measurements, Pat began disassembling the suspension. The front coils and rear leaf springs were tossed aside and a custom triangulated four-link was fabricated for both front and rear axles. Pat designed custom shock and four-link brackets on a CAD program and had Ryno Manufacturing water-jet cut the 1/4-inch mild steel. Massive 2-inch .250-wall DOM tubing control arms are mounted using Creeper Joints from Trail Gear Inc. that use a forged steel outer and a steel flex ball. To give you an idea of the scale, the threaded section is 11/4 inches in diameter.
Pat mocked up the suspension to place the F-450 on a set of 24.5-inch Evil Twin Magnum wheels and 45.7-inch Goodyear G177 tires. The tires were chosen because they were the largest, most aggressive dualie tire that was still DOT legal. The extra weight of the truck and the massive chunks of rubber up front would have made steering a chore, so Pat and Matt installed a Lee Manufacturing hydraulic-assist steering system linked to a high-steer knuckle Pat fabricated himself. Once Pat knew the suspension was dialed in, he trusted the powder coating to Madera Brothers, where the links were coated in silver and the axles, knuckles, and cradle got a coat of a majestic purple that Kyle would later use to match his exterior paint.
Both axles are suspended by King 3-inch diameter coilovers. Check out how smooth the powde
A dual CV driveshaft from High Angle Driveline links the front axle to the transfer case.
A Warn Air Power VCT compressor was mounted under the bed behind the rear axle. You can al
Ryno Manufacturing water-jet cut the grille from large sheets of billet aluminum. It fits
Evil Twin Magnum wheels were given custom center caps and Maltese spike lug covers.
The tires are all-terrain Goodyear G177 12R24.5 that are 45.7 inches tall.
The heart of the beast is a 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 that's been tuned with an Edge programmer. The extra power is welcome when you've got six monstrous tires to turn. The Edge programmer isn't alone, however, as Kyle also called upon Gale Banks Engineering to help the diesel breathe. A Ram-Air intake and Monster exhaust let the V-8 rumble like it should, but more importantly, they allow for cooler, denser air to be consumed and less turbo backpressure to get the turbos spooled up quickly.
Back at K Daddyz Kustomz, Kyle got busy on the interior of the Ford. Removing the rear wall of the cab and enclosing the bed in a Snug Top Xtra Vision truck cap helped to create a luxurious pass-through interior fit for a VIP. This allowed the crew at K Daddyz's to move the Katzkin leather-clad rear seats back to allow for ample legroom and to provide the perfect viewing angle for the 42-inch Olevia plasma TV that serves as a partition from the front seats. In true limo fashion, the interior is trimmed with burled walnut front and rear, courtesy of Superior Dash. The bed floor is fully carpeted save for K Daddyz signature "K" logo with airbrushing by Skip Sanchez of Sacred Air. Even with the large rear and side windows, Kyle wanted to open up the interior of the truck a bit more with a sunroof in the Snug Top truck cap to complement the factory sunroof in the cab. With a truck so huge, it was only logical to go with the biggest sunroof out there, a Webasto Grandwiew. With the sky peering in through the mammoth sunroof and a private screen at your disposal, the only thing you could ask for is a great audio system. Even with Globetrotter-like legroom, Kyle left plenty of space for Hardcore Car Audio to go wild. A JVC KWNX7000 head unit controls the Rockford Fosgate components in the rear compartment that share space with a fiberglass enclosure that's home to six RF 12-inch subs. The center bridge of the enclosure holds two T600-4 and three T600-2 amps to power the system. You'd be hard pressed to find a more comfortable or luxurious ride.
If you look closely at the exterior of the truck you'll be able to spot the two Warn winches tucked behind both bumpers. A 16.5TI in the front and a 9.5TI in the rear are on call 24/7. Also somewhat hidden are the Amp Research power steps, an absolute necessity for climbing into the cab. Ryno Manufacturing supplied the billet fender vents as well as the one-off water-jet cut grille. Of course the billet is just an accent to the paint. Kyle taped off the black top of the truck to spray the custom-mixed DuPont Hot Hues purple on the lower half with a vivid green tribal graphic breaking up the two colors. Skip Sanchez, of Sacred Art stepped in with his airbrush and added dozens of Sailor Jerry-inspired "tattoos" to the truck, from eagles and pin ups, to anchors and roses.
The truck made quite an impression on the crowds at SEMA and garnered more than its share of attention. For K Daddyz Kustoms it was mission accomplished. We can't think of a bigger, more luxurious, more in-your-face ride that better exemplifies everything a custom truck should be. Kyle would like to thank Pat and Matt for their one-off suspension as well as all of the rest of the individuals that stepped up to make this F-450 transform into a showstopper in such a short time span.