Custom 1997 Ford F-150 - Smooth Criminal
This Ford's Only Charge Is Being Too Damn Clean
When Michael Garza of Sanger, California, set out to build his truck, he had one objective in mind. It wasn't that he was looking to put off any Chevy fans. He just wanted to build a Ford so clean that die-hard Chevy fans and Ford haters alike would take one look at his truck and say, "Damn, that's a nice Ford." What he didn't know was just how many times he would end up hearing that once it was finally completed.
The truck was originally purchased new in 1997 as a work truck for the family business. After a year of being beat up and abused, it was retired from the fields, and Michael took custody of it. In order to get the truck on the ground, it was taken to 559 Customs in Selma, California, where the crew began ripping apart the stock suspension. The stock spindles were replaced with 2-inch drop spindles, and a set of Slam Specialties 'bags was installed between the control arms.
Out back, the rear leaf springs were removed and a custom four-link was measured out and fabricated to keep the rearend in line. The link bars were sent out for chrome and the rearend was powdercoated orange. In the meantime, the transmission crossmember was sectioned and a custom driveshaft was welded together to take care of clearance and binding issues. An additional set of Slam Specialties 'bags was mounted above the axle and plumbed with 1/2-inch line through Parker valves. The stock wheelwells were cut out and a set of wheeltubs was welded in their place. To complete the suspension overhaul, 22-inch Foose Speedster wheels were powdercoated black and stuffed into each of the wheelwells.
Once 559 Customs was finished with the truck, it was taken to The Hot Rod Shop in Reedley, California, for a facelift and shave. The factory front clip was removed and an '02 Lincoln Navigator front end was bolted up in its place, while all the factory handles were removed and shaved clean, including the tailgate. A Sir Michaels roll pan was molded in place of the rear bumper, and the rear taillights were replaced with Hi-Tech LEDs to continue the smooth appearance. The truck was then sprayed from head to tail with House of Kolor's Tangelo Orange and buried under several coats of DuPont clear.
The exterior wasn't the only thing to get a makeover from The Hot Rod Shop, though. Once the crew was finished with the exterior work, all attention was turned to the interior of Michael's Ford. Each of the door panels, the entire dash, and the center console was sanded, primered, and sprayed with Tangelo Orange to match the exterior.
Dave's Custom Upholstery, also in Sanger, took the stock seats out, cut them down, and then rewrapped them in beige tweed. The A-pillars, center console pad, and door panels were treated to the same material wrap for continuity. To accent the dash and break up the orange, a Nu-Image flame gauge kit was installed as well as a Colorado Custom billet steering wheel.
If it were a crime to own a truck that was just too clean, then Michael would be guilty as charged. With the help of shops such as 559 Customs, The Hot Rod Shop, and Dave's Custom Upholstery, he was able to turn a family work truck into nothing short of a family heirloom.