When building a custom truck, many people fall into the trap of doing things to their trucks that have already been done. When someone goes against the grain and does something different, it stands out. Javi Cantu, of Del Rey, California, is the kind of person who challenges himself to build truly unique customs. His 1997 F-150 proves that creativity and ingenuity can make or break a truck. Spending three years building it with the help of family and friends, Javi now has an exceptional classic-inspired truck that turns heads wherever it goes.
Javi started the build of the truck in March of 2007. The truck was taken to two different shops to have it ‘bagged, but both times the truck sat for more than a year. After nearly two and a half years, Javi decided to enlist the help of his brother, Justo Cantu, and brother-in-law, Edalio Rodriguez to finish ‘bagging the truck. The family trio began by installing Slam Specialties ‘bags with aluminum air lines wrapped in stainless steel braids. Javi then took the truck to John Banda, at 559 Customs, in Selma, California, who raised the upper control arms two inches to eliminate camber. D & D Kustoms, in Fresno, California, installed a three-link with wishbone out back to get the truck to hug the ground. Javi then had Fearless Gear, also in Fresno, cut down the rearend a total of nine inches and convert the rear drum brakes to Wilwood discs. With the suspension and frame complete, the suspension components were powdercoated and the frame was painted House of Kolor Razberry Pearl. Finally, a set of 24-inch Intro Vista II wheels and Kumho Ecsta tires was strapped on and with the air out of the ‘bags, the billet hoops tucked nicely into the fenders.
The House of Kolor Red Mini Flake makes the long, wispy flames seem to jump off the truck.
Moving to the body, Javi had his friends Oscar Piña and Walter Peña, shave the taillights, third brake light, door handles, gas filler door, and rear bumper. Javi decided that he wanted a sheetmetal bed so he and his brother learned how to work with sheetmetal and through trial and error, built a full bed. Now the painted and powdercoated rear suspension setup could be viewed and enjoyed by everyone. With such a custom truck, Javi couldn’t leave the front clip stock, so he bought a hood, fenders, grille shell, and bumper from an ’04 Navigator and bolted in on, along with a T-Rex billet insert. Finally, Matt, at Reaper Customs, in Fresno, suicided the driver-side door. With the body complete, Walter Peña laid down several coats of House of Kolor Razberry Pearl and Kool Hand Luke, of Kool Hand Kreations, in Easton, California, laid down the hot-rod–style flames with white over the base, HoK Victory Red over the white, and HoK Red Mini Flake. Each lick was then expertly outlined in pinstripes. Kool Hand Luke also did all of the graphics, pinstriping and silver leaf on the tailgate, engine cover, and hood.
Under the hood, Javi wanted to go a different direction than a few painted and billet pieces, so again with lots of trial and error, he and his brother built a fiberglass engine cover that covers the whole engine. With the exterior complete, Javi turned his attention to the interior. He liked the look of dashboards of classic cars and trucks and decided to go with the dash from a 1963 Ford Galaxie. After cutting off the ends and fabricating new end caps, Javi and Justo went to work putting the dash in place. Deciding to try his hand at upholstery work, Javi covered the headliner in suede. True Auto Trim, in Fresno, finished off the upholstery with custom door panels, dove leather seats with burgundy inserts, silver carpet, and covered the center console and sub box with leather. To finish off the interior, a billet steering wheel was installed.
Almost done, Javi still had to have a sound system installed. This was left to Efren Rangel from Reedley, California. Efren installed a Kenwood head unit and connected it to a two Memphis Audio amplifiers. Then Memphis components were installed and two Memphis 12-inch subwoofers were fitted into a custom sub box where the back seat used to be. Efren hid the amps in the center console and all of the wiring for a super-clean look.
Javi had the truck complete for SEMA of 2010 and is extremely pleased with everything. He wanted to thank all of his family for their support, his brother Justo, Walter Peña, Kool Hand Luke, his whole Aftermath family and everyone else who helped build a custom masterpiece.
Changing out the factory dash for this one from a ’63 Ford Galaxie definitely gives the in
Javi worked with fiberglass to create the one-piece engine cover.
The Navigator fenders devour the 24-inch Intro Vistas with ease.