Ford F-150 Roadster - Speedztuur
Gaylord's radical red roadster
So it was well under a year ago, and we were down at Gaylord's Kustom Trucks in good ol' Long Beach, California, discussing future truck projects with store manager Steve Cadena. Among other things, he told us how he had devised a plan for a rebuild of his '94 Chevy standard cab, which at that moment was sporting an 11-inch lift (we say "at that moment" because Steve's truck has gone through no less than five incarnations of mega lifts and slam jobs since he has owned it). He told us how he always wanted to cut off the roof, chop the windshield, cap the doors and lean the cab wall back. He also told us of detailed plans to rebuild much of the interior with sheetmetal, 'bag the truck so that it lies flat on the ground with big wheels, and the extra mile he wanted to go with the body mods. We know from past projects that Steve does quality work, so we told him to go for it and that he might just have a cover truck on his hands when he's done.
A couple months went by and we hadn't heard much from the Gaylord's camp when we got a call from Steve. He told us that he had a rendering that he wanted us to look at. A couple days later we stopped by to check it out. We told him it was awesome but it looked a lot more like a red Ford roadster than a blue Chevy roadster. Apparently, shortly after the conversation with us, Steve discussed his plans with Bill Gaylord, Jr. and soon Bill decided that this project deserved a donor vehicle more worthy than Steve's driver. A red Ford F-150 Flareside with the 5.4L engine was ordered up from Ford, and once it arrived, Steve would be given full creative license to cut, bend, weld, or mold wherever he saw fit. Oh yeah, there was one stipulation: It had to be completed in time for SEMA.
No problem. Plenty of time before SEMA, right? After all, it was only mid-May. Two months later, the F-150 was delivered, giving Steve exactly 14 weeks to turn his concept into a reality and have it en route to Las Vegas. Parts were already starting to arrive from quality companies like Street Scene, Intro, Toyo, and Kenne Bell, but Steve and the Gaylord's crew had many weeks of metal- and glasswork ahead of them before it was time to bolt on any of the fun stuff.
The most important aspect of building a true "Speedztuur" is making it a full-time open-air vehicle. Steve wasted no time slicing through the roof and discarding it, but that was the easy part. The next week or so was spent building new A-pillars from scratch so that the stock windshield would lie back more than 3 inches from its stock location. Next, the cab back was capped and smoothed, followed by the doors, which were cut down about 1-1/2 inches so they would flow better with the soon-to-be reworked front end. Steve also shaved the door handles and molded in steel mounts to the doors so that a set of standard-issue Street Scene Cal-Vu signal mirrors would bolt up. Finally, Steve built a totally smooth new cowl to fit the contour of the laid-back windshield. The front end of the F-150 was also severely reworked. The stock fenders were pie-cut 2-1/2 inches and the grille shell was cut down accordingly. The hood was dropped down and the edges were flared out where they meet the headlights. Steve handmade the hood cowl to resemble Gaylord's patented new Speed Bumps and molded it to the hood. A Street Scene bumper cover was reworked and steel trim inserts were fabricated for the scoops. Another pair of inserts was made for the grille shell, and the center was fit for a Trenz billet insert.
Steve's metalwork continued into the cockpit as well. The stock interior was stripped bare and an all-steel dash was built from scratch. An all-steel panel waterfalls down to become the center console. A two-piece steel door panel was built so that half could be painted and the other half upholstered.
While Steve was busy with the front half of the Speedztuur, the bed was put into the hands of Gaylord's fiberglass masters, who normally spend their days designing the best-fitting tonneau covers in the industry. They were instructed to shave the front and rear steps so that the bed sides would flow more freely from top to bottom and front to rear. They also had the task of working in a Pro-Fit fuel door, shaving the taillights and glassing in a one-off roll pan. They performed this feat in record time, and the body mods were finalized when Steve welded up the tailgate handle. With the clock ticking, the truck was trailered down Paramount Boulevard to Auto B Craft for final bodywork and paint. Don Danhoff, ace body man and head of special projects at Auto B, tied up the loose ends and blocked the F-150 to perfection inside and out before the PPG Red paint was sprayed. Plenty of PPG clear followed, and when the color-sanding and buffing process was complete, the Speedztuur was returned to Gaylord's looking more like the rendering than anyone could have imagined. Paint-matched lightning side skirts were installed, Along with a paint-matched Gaylord's X-2000 tonneau complete with Speed Bumps.
The hard part was out of the way, but at this point, it was a race to the finish to complete the truck. The engine, suspension, and audio/video were being worked on simultaneously to meet the deadline. The truck was brought nearly 10 inches closer to the ground with a complete system from Air Ride Technologies, which employs the Shockwave setup for the front and a four-link in the rear. Air Ride also supplied the two 3-gallon tanks, the Viair compressors, 3/8-inch air line, and its digital switch and gauge package. Intro Vista II wheels measuring 20x8 and 22x9.5 inches were chosen and wrapped with Toyo Proxes tires measuring P255/35R20 and P305/40R22, but not before AP Racing six-piston calipers and big rotors from Stillen were bolted to all four corners. Under the hood, any plastic shrouding or trim that could be removed was, and it was all smoothed and painted red to match the exterior. The inner fenders were discarded and Steve fabricated new ones out of sheet aluminum. The engine itself was treated to a Kenne Bell twin-screw supercharger producing 6 pounds of boost and a custom-bent Gibson 2-1/2-inch dual exhaust, putting the Speedztuur's horsepower numbers up around 400. Adding contrast to all the smooth red plastic is a True Billet engine dress-up kit from GCA Enterprises.
During all of the suspension and engine mods, Audio Craftsman of Walnut, California, sent a mobile unit to handle the stereo and monitor install. Installed in the center console is an Eclipse head unit to run the Audiobahn amplifier and component speakers. Audiobahn also supplied the video monitor, which was recessed into the console, and a DVD player. An Intro Vista steering wheel was installed before the truck was delivered to Radi's Custom Upholstery. There, Andy Radi and crew recarpeted the floor in dark gray and covered the seats in leather with gray suede inserts. They also covered the unpainted half of the door panels in matching suede and built the headrests from scratch to perfectly fit the contour of the Speed Bumps. The truck literally was being loaded onto the trailer as Radi was finishing up and the Speedztuur was on its way to Vegas, where in addition to dropping the jaw of nearly everyone who attended SEMA, managed to collect a nice little pile of awards, including the SEMA Ford Product Excellence award. The truck even sparked a reunion of sorts, when kustomizing legend George Barris stopped by to see what all the fuss was about, and realized the radical red roadster was a product of Gaylord's, a company that got its start 55 years ago in Barris' own shop, where Bill Gaylord, Sr. used to create his world-renowned padded tops. It's the little things like that that make guys like us proud.
2015 Ford F-150 SpecificationsVIEW ALL
|Fair Market Price||$24,627|
|Editors' Overall Rating|
|Mileage||18 City / 25 Highway|
|Horse Power||283 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||255 ft lb of torque @ 4,000 rpm|