Caramel Bronze 2013 Ford F-250 from 8 Lug Customs
This ’13 Ford F-250, painted an eye-catching Caramel Bronze, has been a project for 8 Lug Customs in West Park, Florida, for the last two years. Owner Julio Paez has been creating cool, custom rides for the last two decades, switching from Mustangs to lifted trucks about the time his favorite magazine hit the newsstands. Obviously, he loves reading 8-Lug, since it became the inspiration for the name of his business! Assisted by his shop manager Jorge Martinez and fabricator Adalberto Cabeza, Julio begins every build with a plan. “Often,” he says, “it can happen anywhere, even the shower! I’m thinking about it all the time.” Once the idea takes shape, he sets out to create the plan in metal. The caramel truck followed a similar format as an elaborate white truck Julio had completed earlier. “Once you build a complete custom, you can’t go back. Either you do it better or you don’t do it at all,” he tells us with a smile. In fact, he prides himself on the fact that each of his creations has been an improvement over the last.
Sourcing vehicles at auctions, Julio looks for trucks with minimal cab and chassis damage. Everything else is easily replaceable. This F-250 Super Duty followed what has become his standard procedure, which includes completely disassembling the truck and sending the chassis out for powdercoating. Once it returned, all-new Ford axles with 3.73 gears and Mag-Hytec covers were held in place with a One Up Offroad 10-inch lift package, which includes the company’s front four-link and rear traction bars, along with Fabtech Dirt Logic reservoir coilovers on all four corners. Keeping the truck on the straight and narrow is a Dirt Logic dual shock steering stabilizer, augmented with a third Fox shock to ensure the lifted truck carves corners like a sports car, even though it’s eye level with a school bus. Every element of the suspension was powdercoated to match the chassis, and then the rails became a roller via a set of 24-inch Fuel Forged wheels mounted on 40x15.50R24 Nitto Trail Grapplers. Proud of its creativity, the team installed LED lights underneath to highlight the new chassis upgrades. To bring the same color scheme to the new 6.7L Power Stroke crate engine, the powerplant was painted to match and installed in the chassis. Augmented with a K&N air filter and polished stainless steel exhaust, the engine uses an SCT tuner to bump up the available horsepower. The free-flowing, polished exhaust system is finished with a cavernous 6-inch tip, large enough for small forest animals to call home!
Once the cab, bed, and front end were married to the chassis, a complete factory Ford Platinum interior was installed. The original instrument cluster and trim were retained, now painted to match the exterior. Road trip entertainment begins with the factory head unit, augmented with JL Audio amps under the rear seat, speakers with separated component sets in the doors, a row of 6.5-inch JL Audio component sets on the floor in front of the rear seat, and a pair of 12-inch subs behind the rear seat. It sounds amazing! The elegant interior allows adults to relax in uncompressed comfort and makes One Lap of America feel like a run to the corner store.
Body mods on the lifted truck began with a camper shell on the back, added to accommodate luggage and Julio’s bulldog when the family travels out of town. The Recon LED lightbar and square lights in the bumper turn night into day, while AMP Research retractable steps ease entry to and exit from the lifted ride. Joe Zamora, of Zamora Paint and Body of Hollywood, Florida, sprayed the custom-mixed shade of Caramel Bronze. The end result is a positive triumph of simplistic style, uncluttered with the usual geegaws mistakenly labeled as quality. Cell phone cameras come out quickly whenever Julio is on the road. Does he drive it? During the magazine shoot, we saw photos that show Julio uses this truck to the fullest, with the pristine custom covered in thick mud from top to bottom!
What are the plans for the future? Julio has a ’17 Super Duty arriving and knows that within a week, it will be in pieces. He already has a complete set of 26-inch wheels waiting in the shop. “Everything I get, I take apart and make better!” he says with a smile. You can’t beat that approach!