The Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress was famous for flying 25 confirmed missions, shooting down numerous German planes, and safely bringing its crew home each time it left the base. Basically it was big, bad, and built like a tank with wings. Brian Vastine’s 2010 F-250 doesn’t have wings or need a crew of 10 men, but it is big, bad, and with its matte olive vinyl wrap, it pays homage to those who served our country when we needed them most.

As a custom painter, it’s funny that Brian’s truck is not painted, but like the joke about a plumber having leaky pipes, sometimes it’s just easier to hose down the vinyl wrap than worry about waxing custom paint. The olive drab wrap features several references to the military with stars on top of the fenders, a grenade complete with sergeant chevrons inside of it found on the tailgate, and a variation of the star and circle on each front door. To complete the tough exterior and get the F-250 ready for service, Brian installed a Smittybilt M1 front bumper with high-output foglights and a Smittybilt 12,000-pound winch. Replacing the front Blue Oval is a mesh M1 grille, also from Smittybilt, and the factory lights were swapped in favor of Anzo halo projectors and LED taillights.

The goal of the project was never to stop with the wrap and accessories, so Brian and Spot Thomas quickly got to work tearing down the stock suspension. Knowing the truck would be driven hard, a Tuff Country 6-inch lift kit was installed with new coil springs, radius arm drop brackets, a drop pitman arm, and a relocated heavy-duty track bar. Thanks to the new ride height and M1 front bumper, Brian was able to add 37-inch Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires to the Ford, which were mounted to 22x12 LRG 105 black and machined wheels. The wheel design reminds us of a classic propeller and the mud-terrain tires help the Super Duty tackle any terrain. For towing chores, a Firestone Ride-Rite rear helper airbag setup keeps the rear of the truck level no matter the size of the trailer.

The Memphis Belle had a total of 36 cylinders, which were then supercharged, producing upwards of 4,000 hp. That sounds like a lot of power, but keep in mind the B-17F had a maximum takeoff weight of 65,000 pounds, so those engines had to move a giant object down the runway. For Brian’s 6,200-pound F-250, the 6.4L twin-turbo diesel was given a boost in performance by a Banks Power Big Hoss bundle. A Banks ram-air intake sends cool air into the Banks Techni-Cooler intercooler system, while the exhaust gases are expelled through a Banks Monster exhaust with a black tip. The entire shooting match is controlled via a Banks Six-Gun tuner and IQ 2.0. Inside the Lariat, Brian painted several interior plastic trim pieces and modified a center console from a 2011 Lariat to fit in between the leather-wrapped bucket seats. The interior is much like the rest of the truck -- functional and not-at-all flashy.

It took a lot of hard work to transform this Ford F-250 into a legitimate rolling truck memorial, but we’re happy to say Brian succeeded with flying colors. At ease, soldier.


2010 Ford F-250 4WD
Owner and City/State: Brian Vastine • Rockwall, Texas
Engine
Type: 6.4L twin-turbo diesel V-8
Induction: Banks ram-air intake
Exhaust: Banks Monster exhaust
Tuner: Banks IQ 2.0
Built by: Vastine’s Paint Garage, Royse City, Texas
Drivetrain
Transmission: 5R110W five-speed auto
Front suspension: 6-inch Tuff Country
Rear suspension: 6-inch Tuff Country
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 22x12 LRG 105
Tires: 37x13.50R22 Nitto Trail Grappler M/T