2011 Ford F-250: Business and Life Rolled into One
DJ Halligan’s Multifaceted F-250
Most folks who drive cool custom trucks agree that they are a lot more than just basic transportation. For some, their show trucks might also be their daily drivers. For others, their fun ride doubles as the workhorse that pulls a trailer for the family business. For a select few, a truck becomes a billboard with graphics that depict a spiritual journey. For DJ Halligan, a business owner living in Wesley Chapel, Florida, it’s all of those. DJ owns a chain of Smoothie King stores and concession trailers that travel around the country. The low-calorie, high-protein drinks promote a healthy lifestyle, and DJ employs a profit-sharing plan in which a portion of the proceeds goes to worthy causes ranging from autism awareness programs to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Naturally, a heavy-duty truck was required to pull his trailers, and since no one wants to drive stock, customizing the vehicle was one of DJ’s first priorities. (He jokes that he had to sell a lot of smoothies to pay for the upgrades!)
DJ’s lifted ’11 Ford F-250 is tailor-made for the role, beginning with its high-torque, high-performance 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine. Fitted with a Volant cold-air intake, chip, and MBRP exhaust, the Blue Oval doesn’t even know there’s a heavyweight trailer hitched behind. Built to order by the team from Motor Trenz in Matthews, North Carolina, the big Ford is equipped to handle every level of terrain, from slick city streets to twisty mountain roads.
It rolls on 20-inch TIS wheels and 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires, with a 10-inch Fabtech lift kit. Up front, reservoir shocks and dual steering stabilizers from Dirt Logic ensure the truck tracks straight and true. The four-link front suspension and custom-made rear traction bars give the truck go-anywhere capabilities. Adding a dash of style, everything underneath was powdercoated in white, a Mag-Hytec differential cover was added, and the custom driveshaft was adorned with flames. A set of HornBlasters train horns helps motivate traffic.
With solid handling taken care of, good looks were next. External changes began with Fab Fours bumpers and Monster hooks front and rear. Rigid Industries’ 4-inch square lights on the front bumper and a pair of LED lightbars on the roof are functional, turning night into day. An RBP grille, Recon headlights and side mirrors, a fiberglass tonneau cover, and retractable steps wrap up the exterior mods. And, of course, there are those wild graphics from Signarama in Wesley Chapel that we’ll tell you more about in a moment.
Moving inside, tan and white Katzkin seat covers give a fresh look to the interior while the sculpted flame headliner makes for a one-of-a-kind feature. A Kenwood stereo adds a new dimension to road trips, controlling the pair of Alpine amps mounted under the rear seat. The first powers the twin 6.5-inch component sets up front and the 5.25-inch coaxials in the rear. The second amp drives the 13-inch JL Audio sub located behind the rear seat. The entertainment portion of the system comes from a pair of Rosen monitors in the headrests augmented by a pull-down 10.5-inch headliner-mounted Advent screen, complete with wireless headphones. It’s the perfect choice for enjoying the Sony PlayStation 3, also mounted underneath the rear seat. We’ll wrap up the changes by telling you about those striking graphics.
Not just a design, they represent several important moments in DJ’s life and act as a spiritual center—one that combines elements from both Hawaiian and Samoan cultures. DJ’s connection to our 50th state began with a family trip to Hawaii. Although he was born and raised in Florida, he immediately felt at home in the islands and began to learn more about the culture and the giving ways of Hawaiians. During one of his visits, a Samoan tattoo artist created a design that depicted DJ’s life story, adding it to his chest and arm. It also established the basis for the unique graphics on the truck. The team at Signarama took it from there, creating a wrap that incorporated multiple elements from DJ’s life and adding it to the truck.
Here’s the story: The four diamonds in the design represent his wife, son, daughter, and himself. The Tamba Surf Company in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu was a tiny company surrounded by huge corporate surf shops and was a symbol of a small business surviving and thriving among giants. The Tamba owners and their story are a big part of DJ’s Hawaiian fascination. The hook in the graphics is the same as the one hanging from the truck mirror and the one around DJ’s neck. It symbolizes the Hawaiian protection over water and good luck, which leads us to probably the most significant element.
The license plate, 1-SHARK, relates to the time DJ almost died after an encounter with a 6-foot bullhead shark while diving off the coast of Madeira Beach in Florida. Evasive maneuvers caused him to rise to the surface too rapidly, inciting an arterial embolism and a stroke. It took a year for DJ to recover, but insurance money from a hospital misdiagnosis allowed him to begin his business. “As a result,” he tells us, “everything I own began with that shark. It keeps me well-grounded whenever I see the plate.”
Every six months, DJ and his family visit Hawaii for a month, spending time with good friends. Future plans include eventual relocation to Oahu’s North Shore, and we have a feeling that if he can pull it off, the high-altitude F-250 is going to be a very big hit on a very small island!