Gone are the days of making a bold statement with your truck--unless you're picking up that load of sheetrock in something like Performance West's King of the Road. The company crafted a functional show truck--though just a concept--with extreme capabilities within reach of any Super Duty owner who can afford it.
The King of the Road started life as a 2003 Ford F-350 Super Duty one-ton 4x4 dualie. To ensure capable towing, Ford's new 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel serves up 325 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. With all of its pulling power available at 2000 rpm, this Ford, which looks like a 1:1-scale Tonka truck, is ideal for towing a 25-foot Airstream or a fully loaded horse trailer. The combination of four-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual transmission--enhanced with Gear Vendors overdrive to split the shift points--serves up 11 forward speeds. With this powertrain combination, the driver can select the exact gear for steep grades or maximum economy on flat freeways.
Inspired by Ford's own Mighty Tonka concept from 2002, there's nothing subtle about the King's House of Kolor Golden Sunrise Pearl paint. Its side profile is dominated by the custom-fabricated six-inch chrome dual-side exhaust, the only major component not available off the shelf. In addition, 19.5-inch Rickson Truck Accessories forged wheels are polished to a mirror-bright finish to complement the 34.5-inch-tall Goodyear tires.
This wheel and tire combination wouldn't be possible without a suspension kit, supplied by Revtek Industries. The six-inch lift has a practical advantage, giving the King of the Road true off-road capabilities--that is, if the trail's large enough to accommodate its 94-inch-wide rear track.
To aid its trailer-towing capabilities, Valley Hitch's underbed fifth-wheel system was installed. The system's design eliminates the conventional bracing that traditionally renders the bed nearly unusable. Underbed bracing allows access to the eight-foot bed when the hitch isn't being used. Other exterior enhancements include custom fender flares at all four corners, custom front and rear lower fascias, and an anodized grille insert and chrome bumper.
Climbing (and we do mean climbing) into the spacious crew cab, you immediately realize that as much care went into the interior as the exterior. The glove-soft Katzkin leather-covered seats feature fully integrated heaters, coolers, and massagers.
The luxurious, quiet interior is a great place to enjoy the sights and sounds provided by the audio/video system. Using Clarion's versatile VRX935VD AM/FM/CD/DVD receiver with a built-in LCD screen as its control center, the driver can control fully integrated audio and video functions at his fingertips. A pair of Clarion amplifiers, which power the speakers and subwoofer, are stowed under the rear seat.
In spite of its huge road presence, the F-350 is surprisingly easy to drive, once you get used to the towering seating position. The turbodiesel moves the 7950-pound truck off the mark smartly and merging into traffic presents little difficulty, whether the Ford's unloaded or loaded to capacity. If there's a problem with the truck, it's that the sheer mass of the package, given its 172.4-inch wheelbase, makes its turning circle start to approach that of an ocean liner's.
The King of the Road, while not available as a turnkey vehicle, was designed by Performance West to illustrate the ways an owner can make his own vision a reality. The company estimates that the entire package, depending on the paint job, could be duplicated for around $30,000 over the initial cost of the vehicle, which could top $45,000 alone. While $75,000 might seem like a large sum for a truck (even of this magnitude), it's probably as close as mere mortals can get to driving a million-dollar concept vehicle. It's just the thing for your next home-improvement project.