2009 Ford F150 - Freedom Truck
Touring For A Cause
If you were to meet Mickey Harris and the crew from Malibu Customz, you'd immediately recognize that they are passionate about what this '09 Ford F-150 represents. Far more than a custom truck with some of the most realistic airbrush work you've ever seen, this truck will make a difference for wounded U.S. military men and women by allowing them to have their families beside them as they go through medical treatment and rehabilitation. Built by Malibu Customz in Knoxville, Tennessee, and airbrushed by Mickey Harris, who spent more than 200 hours covering the truck in murals that represent the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy, the truck is on tour across the country at NASCAR events, car shows, and air shows, which is where we caught up with it long enough for a photo shoot.
Starting with an '09 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, Malibu Customz wasted no time boosting the output of the 5.4L V-8, literally. Ron Lamothe and Floyd Latham installed a ProCharger centrifugal supercharger along with its sizable charge cooler that's mounted just behind the grille. The ProCharger breathes in through a K&N filter and the exhaust gases flow from the engine via Borla exhaust customized by Hilltop Muffler. With the increased breathing and 9 psi of boost, there's more than enough power on tap to send the Ford into a tire-searing launch. Ron and Floyd dropped the truck using McGaughy's 2/4 drop kit so that the custom-painted 24x10-inch Giovanna Caracas wheels and 295/35R24 Cooper XSTA rubber would fill the wheelwells. Other exterior modifications include a Carriage Works billet grille and a SnugTop tonneau cover installed by Ron and Tom Trent. Several carbon fiber pieces were custom made for the truck by Will Lowe, including front bumper guards, bed rail covers, B-pillar trim and air dam. Under the tonneau you'll find Kicker subs in a Super Crew Sound box installed by Coy Hudnell, who also wired the Kicker amps mounted behind the rear seats.
The interior remains close to stock, with hidden audio upgrades and custom-embossed Classic Soft Trim leather upholstery that was installed by Todd Abraham of Advance Performance Design. Another interesting feature is the Phantasmic Entertainment Inc/ProVision 3-D holographic imagery projector that was installed by Malibu Customs owner Rick Spears. When the tonneau is opened up and the projector is deployed, the logos of the companies involved in the build seem to float in space in front of the viewer.
The highlight of the truck is no doubt the paint. Jimmy Knight of Malibu Customs prepped and painted the exterior of the truck, along with the wheels and engine plastics, with DuPont Hot Hues materials to get them ready for the airbrush work of Mickey Harris. With no projector and using only his sense of proportion, Mickey lightly airbrushed the outlines of the vehicles, aircraft, and military members before laying down any final, full outlines. Using tape and often pieces of paper for straight edges, Mickey spent weeks airbrushing the truck with scenes depicting every branch of the U.S. armed services, separated by a waving Stars and Stripes. The driver side features the Air Force and Marine Corps, the tailgate illustrates a Coast Guard rescue at sea, while the passenger side is reserved for the Navy, including a SEAL team, and the Army. The hood is home to a huge bald eagle, while more than 60 eagles can be found, with careful inspection, throughout the truck's exterior. A favorite of spectators is the intricate detail of the stars within the flag, as each stitch of the embroidery is visible in the airbrush strokes. If the truck is every anywhere near you, make a point of seeing it in person.
Currently being towed and displayed across the country, when the truck completes its tour it will be auctioned off by Barrett Jackson and proceeds will benefit Speedway Children's Charities and the Fisher House. The Fisher House serves as a home away from home for the family of military members who often travel in order to obtain the best medical care possible. With 45 Fisher Houses located at 33 military installations and VA hospitals, they are able to provide 10,000 families a year with free or low-cost housing across the United States as well as Germany. As with all charity auctions, Barrett Jackson will waive all auction fees. To check out the schedule of the truck's tour to see it in person, visit malibucustomz.com and to find out more about the charities and to make contributions, visit fisherhouse.org and speedwaycharities.org. With hard work and dedication to a good cause, this project will make a huge difference in the lives of those that have sacrificed on our behalf.