2011 Ford F-350 - Black Mamba
Hulst Customs' Sleek Super Duty Bares its Fangs
In its natural environment, the Ford F-350 is a hard-working powerhouse. Whether it's hauling a gargantuan trailer, oversized load of lumber, or six passengers, the F-350 is anything but delicate and subtle. Jason Hulst of Hulst Customs in Merlin, Oregon, knows this fact well, and that's exactly why he chose to defy it. Hulst Customs has become famous for turning this muscular Ford truck into a sleek, high-performance sledgehammer. This turnkey conversion, dubbed the Striker, debuted at SEMA back in 2008 to much critical acclaim. Since then, the Striker line has been featured in more than 13 magazines and even won the prestigious Ford Design Excellence Award. Never complacent, Jason forged on toward SEMA 2011 to create an even more refined Striker known as the Black Mamba.
As with all of the Striker line, the build of the Black Mamba began with an ordinary factory-fresh Ford truck, in this case a 2011 F-350 Lariat dualie. Before starting the teardown process, Hulst wisely conceptualized the truck's final form with a rendering. "We design every element on paper first," he writes. The drawing's smooth lines and two-tone brushed silver and gloss black paint seem to take cues from Rolls Royce, bringing the ordinary Ford into the realm of opulent luxury. With the end goal established, Hulst and his team got to work.
First on the chopping block was the F-350's grille, which appeared much too aggressive to be part of the elegant new look. The center section was removed, and then the grille housing was wrapped in 3M brushed aluminum vinyl and filled with stainless steel mesh. The same 3M DI-NOC vinyl was also applied to the truck's hood and windshield surround. Detail work like a recessed blue oval on the fascia and thin stainless steel strip down the centerline show additional finesse. Up front, the headlight housings were also blacked out, and wider fiberglass fenders were applied. Moving rearward, bodywork continued with the addition of Scissor Doors' suicide rear doors and a custom-machined aluminum door handle setup. With the suicide doors open, the already roomy interior appears truly cavernous. Finally, Hulst Customs' cab lights were added, the cab corners were filled, and a Gaylord's tonneau cover and fiberglass rear fenders were installed. Bodywork complete, Hulst Customs sprayed the exterior in glistening Planet Color Black paint.
"Like a bodybuilder in a carefully tailored tuxedo, this F-350 is the perfect combination of power and class."
With the Black Mamba's extensive bodywork, it was quickly approaching the initial rendering. However, the truck's high ground clearance still hinted at its humble origins. To prevent this, Hulst's team lowered the Ford using DJM Dream Beams, new DJM shocks, and a flipped leaf spring setup. The factory 17-inch alloys were replaced with customized 26-inch American Force Phantom wheels wrapped in 305/30R26 Pirelli rubber. The new wheels feature floating center caps, and were painted satin silver to match the new brushed aluminum trim. With SEMA looming, the only remaining untouched section was the interior, which was crafted by Ed Harr Upholstery in Prospect, Oregon. The F-350's factory seating was wrapped in creamy white and pitch black Katzkin leather, with the remaining panels painted in the same two-tone theme. To further distinguish the truck, sections on the dash and doors were accented with burl wood and aluminum trim, also from 3M.
After many long days, weeks, and months of effort, Hulst Customs' magnum opus was finally ready for SEMA. Even to an untrained eye, the hard work put into this cohesive design is obvious. From the initial vision on paper to the project's completion, the Striker Black Mamba is the pinnacle of refinement and luxury. Like a bodybuilder in a carefully tailored tuxedo, this F-350 is the perfect combination of power and class. Hulst and his team were pleased to see Ford Motor Company recognize this by naming the truck their Best of Show at SEMA 2011. Jason Hulst would like to thank Ford Motor Company, Pirelli, DJM, Bully Dog, Bed Rug, Katzkin, Gaylord's, Planet Color, American Force Wheels, American Rebel Manufacturing, Scissor Doors, and the rest of his team for the project's success.
We would like to thank Mikell Louise and Caroline Signorello for help with the photo shoot.