2001 Ford F-250 Soars High on 46s
Full-On Father-Son Build Spurred by the Taste of Success
It’s hard to find a stronger connection than the bond that occurs between a father and son working on an automotive project. The time spent together, the experiences and knowledge passed on, and the shared joy of driving something they built together becomes a one-of-a-kind experience neither will forget. Barry and Nick Schilling from Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, understand the concept perfectly. Barry is in the construction industry and an avid automotive enthusiast. He bought his first four-wheel-drive truck back in 1980 and modified it to run bigger tires so he could play off-road. It was great fun that became even better when his son was born. And to underscore that automotive connection, Barry’s son Nick, now 30, has been accompanying his father to car shows for the last 28 years. Working on cool custom trucks is a passion they share with friends and family, who are always willing to help. Barry’s wife, Carrie, and his two daughters, Amanda and Delaney, have always been involved, and now Nick’s daughter, 4-year-old Ellie, is already helping! That’s a good thing, especially when cleaning and polishing a truck as big as this one. “After the father, son, and family connection, friends become the second benefit from the truck project, thanks to a great group of guys who travel with us to shows and help with the numerous upgrades made to our ’01 Ford Super Duty,” Barry says.
The big ’01 Ford F-250 started life as a personal truck used for construction work. It was lifted 6 inches within the first few months so it could handle bigger tires. Although the new rubber required a 4.88 gear change, the truck remained stock and functional, racking up miles as part of the business. About the time it was retired from everyday driver status, the transformation began. Barry and Nick saw an ad for Kelderman air-ride suspensions and decided that was the way to begin. They ordered the company’s 12- to 15-inch air-ride system, powdercoated in red with chrome link bars. It’s the biggest kit Kelderman makes, and it comes complete with adjustable trailing arms, a new crossmember, upper and lower mounts for the industrial-strength Firestone bags, shock mounts, a Panhard bar, and more. This kit is designed for a 12- to 14-inch ride height while traveling down the road, but it’s capable of dumping to 8 inches and inflating to a massive 18-inch lift! Twin AccuAir compressors in the spare tire location provide air for the bags. The team added dual Bilstein 7100 series shocks with remote reservoirs to each front wheel and used singles to snub the rear. All four factory brake calipers were powdercoated red with drilled and slotted rotors. Steering upgrades were added using an Off Road Unlimited crossover steering conversion kit. With the help of Troy Hudson of Hudson Brothers Truck Accessories in Lexington, South Carolina, and master builder Keith Boatwright, the crew got the elaborate kit installed.
In fact, the work was finished just in time, with the truck and its owners on their way the next morning to one of their favorite shows—the 4-Wheel Jamboree in Indianapolis, Indiana. The truck was rolling on 40-inch-tall Michelins at the time and an airbrush artist at the show painted giant American eagles on both sides. The Schillings were not prepared for what happened next. They had been attending that show for 20 years and never won an award, but this time they came home with a trophy, competing against more than 6,000 other vehicles. It was there that they learned about a saying in the car and truck show world: “Beware of the $10 trophy. It can be very expensive!”
Although there was no clear plan to do much more to the truck, the reaction from the crowd at the show changed everything. Father and son were bitten by the bug and set out to take the truck to the next level. Troy Hudson hooked them up with Chad Martin at Chad’s Custom Dreams in Saluda, South Carolina, to repaint the truck and add better graphics. Chad removed all the body moldings and emblems and began priming the lower half of the truck in gray. Seeing this, Barry and Nick realized a two-tone paint scheme was the way to go. Spraying a combination of DuPont Ford Dark Blue and Bright White, Chad separated the two colors with the cool American flag graphics that look like they are ripping through the paint. In fact, he did such a great job of laying down the paint, graphics, and clear that the truck did not need buffing and hasn’t been buffed to this day. The paint is nine years old and can still win Best Paint trophies at many shows! While the truck was at Chad’s, local upholstery specialist Marvin Gibson in Saluda, South Carolina, redid the interior, stitching the light tan leather seats with blue ostrich inserts and adding tan loop carpeting. A hydro-dipped dash in a blue carbon-fiber pattern and white-face gauges add to the look.
Once the truck left Chad’s shop, it was an instant hit and the Schillings were repeatedly stopped for photo ops, to answer questions about the build, and especially to hear positive comments about the patriotic paint theme. Chad has since expanded on the original design, decorating the underside of the hood with flag graphics and even painting custom flags on the driveshafts. But it doesn’t end there. Barry and Nick have updated the entertainment inside with a Pioneer multimedia system featuring a 7-inch touchscreen and backup camera. It controls an Infinity amp, four 6x9 Infinity door speakers, and one Infinity 12-inch sub housed in the custom fiberglass center console.
Continuing their persistent enhancement of the exterior, they added an ’05 F-250 front clip, accented with a Cervini’s Auto Designs fiberglass hood and fitted with a chrome bumper and grille that uses Lincoln-style vertical bars. Custom-painted Spyder headlights with LED Concepts LED halo rings complete the front end. A BedRug, aluminum bed slide, and tri-fold bedcover dress up the rear while AMP Research retractable steps ease entry and exit. Under the hood, the powerful Ford Triton V-10 benefits from a custom painted K&N cold-air intake and a stainless steel exhaust system with dual Magnaflow mufflers. The truck now rolls on 20x10 Jesse James wheels and 46-inch-tall Goodyear military tires.
The big Ford has been a work in progress for the last 10 years, and while it might be complete, Barry says, “It may never be finished, since we will continue to upgrade it with new technology and trends in the market. The truck has been a great way to spend fun times with family and friends as well as a great way to make new friends. We love driving it to shows in our local area, and it’s a hit wherever we take it.” Special thanks go to a great group of guys like Dean Wheeler, Troy Hudson, Keith Boatwright, Garrett Oswalt, Chad Martin, Dave Renfroe, and Gregg Fallaw, who are always available to lend hands and join in the fun. Chad Martin’s custom ’09 Chevy 3500 HD even served as the tow vehicle to the Myrtle Beach event where we shot the feature.