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The Max Factor

High Angle Front View
Joel Mollis | Writer
Posted August 21, 2002
Contributors: Kevin McNulty, Randall Jachmann

Look, Up in the Sky, It's George Theodonidis' Statuesque, Super-Sized Super Duty

With its red-hot sheetmetal, flashy undercarriage, nosebleed lift, and massive rolling stock, there's no ignoring George Theodonidis' righteous ride -- and that's precisely what Al Mata wanted. You see, Al built the too-tall Super Duty as an eye-catching testament to the wild modifications his shop in Temecula, California -- aptly named Al's Performance -- specializes in.

The sheer size and stature of an extremely lifted Super Duty causes many a jaw to drop, and that's how it should be. The huge amount of custom fabrication that went into the undercarriage of this ruby behemoth is staggering, but wild mods are the only manner in which to build a rolling showcase.

The Super Duty's suspension makes use of extreme components allied into a functional, yet stylish-looking collection. The front and rear leaf spring packs were built by National Spring and deliver 18 inches of lift. Al added his shop's 4-inch lifted spring hangers to the spring packs for a total lift of 22 inches. With that much spring, damping is critical, so Al fabbed a set of front shock hoops and attached a pair of Bilstein 7100-Series remote reservoir dampers at each front wheel. Another quartet of remote reservoir Bilsteins were added to the rear axle, which were again hung from scratch-built mounts.

Of course, a big-time lift requires mods in many other areas. Al cut the axle tubes on the front axle and rotated the differential upward several degrees before welding the tubes back in place, all in an attempt to keep the U-joints intact. Inland Driveshaft constructed a killer set of heavy-duty driveshafts with oversized

U-joints as yet another important segment of this F-250's stout driveline. The Super's steering was enhanced with an all-new, Heim-jointed crossover linkage, which is operated with a hydraulic ram and a re-valved power steering pump.Al built a slick, Heim-jointed triangular trailing link for the rear axle, which is used to control axlehousing wrap, and the OE parking brake cable system was scrapped in favor of a drag race-style line lock, which hydraulically locks the rear wheels. There's also a new Panhard bar at the rear -- on Heim joints, of course -- to ensure the rear axle tracks true in a lateral plane. When the suspension had been dialed in, the rolling stock was the next order of business, and Al went straight to the limit with 44-inch Ground Hawgs wrapped around forged Weld Outback hoops. That massive lift and huge wheel and tire combo make a big-time visual statement about form and function.

Since the Super Duty's interior is nicely equipped in OE trim, Al saw no need -- at least for now -- to dramatically change the cockpit. Modern Image in Moreno Valley, California, installed a Sony CD player in the dash, a pair of Sony speakers in each door panel, and a custom-built subwoofer enclosure behind the cab's rear seat. Likewise, the Triton V-10 powerplant was deemed a potent performer, thus the only additions were a K&N Filtercharger and a custom-fabbed exhaust system from Temecula's Mufflers West.

As we close, let's acknowledge the fact that any 4x4 running atop humongous rubber and a serious lift isn't everyone's cup of tea. However, the amount of work and detail that went into the buildup of this super-sized Super Duty can't be dismissed. When George Theodonidis rides the roads and 'wheels the trails of SoCal in his statuesque Super Duty, it's a rolling 4WD show and a testimonial to one man's obsession with what we'll call the Max Factor.


Owner/hometown: George Theodonidis/Temecula, California

Make/model: '01 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4WD

Suspension: 18-inch lift spring packs from National Spring (front and rear); 4-inch lift springhangers from Al's Performance (front); 4-inch lift blocks (rear)

Wheels/tires: Weld Racing Outback (16.5x12); Ground Hawg (44x18x16.5)

Engine: Triton V-10

Additional features: Trenz grille; smoothed and repainted frame; keyless, color-matched door handles; flame-cut brackets by R&I Industries


View Photo Gallery
  • George Theodonidis' outrageous, ruby-red ripper is visually and functionally astounding. Twenty-two inches of National Spring/Al's Performance lift and 44-inch Ground Hawgs on Weld wheels deliver an extreme, sky-high stance.

  • Here's a closer look at the fit between the severely lifted suspension and the big, bad Ground Hawg. Because of the tricks used to enhance the Super Duty's front steering system, steering response and accuracy remain at the OE level. Although the National Spring spring packs use a high spring rate in order to achieve a tall ride height, the ride is taut but tolerable, thanks in part to the Super Duty's long wheelbase.

  • The rear axle and suspension weren't ignored. National Spring spring packs with 18 inches of lift sit atop 4-inch blocks. That massive, chrome-plated driveshaft is the handiwork of the crew at Inland Driveshaft and spins the diff's 4.56 cogs without a whimper. Al replaced the OE parking brake cable setup with a drag race-style line lock and added braided brake lines, dual Bilstein dampers at each wheel, and built a triangular upper trailing arm to control the axlehousing's movements.

  • The Super Duty's front suspension and driveaxle mods are many. The diff's housing was rotated upward, and 18-inch lift National Springs were hung on Al's Performance 4-inch lift spring hangers. A Heim-jointed crossover steering linkage with hydraulic assist was fabbed, and copious amounts of detailing were lavished on the F-250's underside.

  • Al scratch-built the shock hoops for the 7100-Series Bilstein gas-charged dampers. Note the Bilstein's remote reservoirs and the slick Kar Tek mounting brackets. Did we mention that there's a goodly amount of Metal Masters chrome-plating and polish adorning the truck's chassis?