It’s fairly easy these days to go out and build a wild custom cover truck with all the resources that are available. Just slam it flat to the ground, throw a bunch of wild paint at it, pile together some interior and stereo, and you’ve got yourself a show winner. OK -- it’s not quite that simple, but you get the point.
The trick is -- and listen closely here -- you don’t necessarily need to have the wildest paintjob, the most gigantic wheels, or the craziest, over-the-top suspension setup on the planet. What you do need is a plan. A plan to do something to set your truck apart from the rest but not go too over the top if it’s not warranted or part of what makes the truck unique -- a plan to build not necessarily the craziest truck out there, but the cleanest. A plan to dial in the details, and let the work speak for itself -- and that’s exactly what Rich Brandi Jr. did with his 2005 Ford F-350 dualie you see elegantly displayed here.
We chose this exquisite truck for this month’s cover -- not just for it’s clean and bright appearance, but because it has the perfect recipe to boot. An amazing amount of time and detail went into the build of Rich’s Ford F-350, and it really shows throughout. There may be lower cover trucks out there, there may be wilder or more over-the-top trucks, but Rich earned this cover by owning one of the cleanest and well-put-together trucks we’ve seen to date.
Rich has been a proud Truckin reader since age 9 and has seen his fair share of covers as an enthusiast and reader through the decades. So when he set out to accomplish his goal of building his own truck that he could be just as proud of, he had a plan in place of what would be needed. Rich bought his F-350 brand spanking new off the lot in 2004 and, wanting to do as much of the work himself as possible, he vowed to take his time, learn along the way, and not cut any corners to ensure each and every step of the build he would focus on quality.
For the first couple years, Rich tinkered and honed his craft in the garage. When it was time to fully tear into his dualie, he already had his plan set and decided to machine his own suspension setup out of billet aluminum to add a bit of that “wow factor” he was after. It took quite a bit of machine time and calculations, but Rick built both upper and lower control arms to lay his Ford out over a massive set of custom-built direct-bolt 26-inch 323 Duallysportz wheels. This was the main ingredient to Rich’s well-brewed recipe, so it had to be 100 percent perfect or he wouldn’t be happy. But with time on his side, the level of detail that went into the suspension is astounding: simple, clean, and effective -- but OCD to the max, right down to bodywork and painting the rest of the suspension components, running all perfectly bent stainless hardline, and custom-built mounts and relocations for everything. Both proper form and function are key elements throughout.
One important factor of this ground-up build was Rich wanted to do most of the work himself with friends in his garage; another just-as-important need was his desire to have a reliable build that could be driven to shows all over the country. To do so, Rich went through now-dubbed OCD-ualie from top to bottom. Nothing went untouched, and everything was installed to perfection to ensure no installation hiccups would cut his journey to a show or a family cruise short.
Once the suspension was dialed in 100 percent, Rich and his buds turned to massaging and smoothing the body. Custom sheetmetal tubs were built front and rear, and they quickly ditched all the factory annoyances in exchange for a perfectly smooth exterior. A custom bed floor and full-length, flush-mount LED rounded out the body mods to complement the smooth lines of the F-350. With the help of Matus Brothers Auto Body, the exterior received a complete color overhaul in DuPont Mellow Yellow to add just enough “look at me” without going too far down that never-ending road of obnoxiousness.
Next up, it was time to dial in the exterior amenities and comforts for those long road trips. An iPad and Kicker iPod connection control the rest of the Kicker sounds, which, again, are just enough of a rumble to help passersby and lookie-loos know this slammed dualie means business. With the sounds tended to, the final details were added and Rich was finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
All said and done, about eight years later, Rich is finally completely stoked with the custom cruiser he has built from the ground up with a few of his closest friends. It’s definitely something a bit different and certainly impressive from every angle, but if we know Rich, we’d be willing to bet this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of him or his custom creations. Stay tuned, as nothing is ever quite “finished” in the hands of a custom truck enthusiast like Rich -- we’re pretty sure he already has a few more tricks up his sleeve for round two on the OCD-ualie.
| 2005 Ford F-350 Dualie |
|Owner:|| Rich Brandi Jr.
|Club: ||Relaxed Atmosphere
|Type: ||6.0L diesel, custom removable engine crossmember, ARP head studs, Sinister EGR delete, Banks intercooler, Banks Power Elbow intake, SCT with custom tune, custom 4-inch exhaust
|Custom: ||Custom-machined billet upper and lower control arms built by owner with Slam Specialties RE8s, custom three-link wishbone rear, 3/8-inch Stainless hardline with AccuAir VU2 valves, AccuAir e-Level controller, two custom-built stainless air tanks, Fox Racing shocks
| WHEEL & TIRES
|Wheels: ||Custom-cut 26-inch Duallysportz direct-bolt wheels
|Tires: ||305/30/26 Nitto 420s