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Desert Warrior

Front Passenger Side View Airborne
Jeremy Sundt | Writer
Posted August 17, 2002
Contributors: Randall Jachmann

$300,000 Worth of Action-Packed Fun

Glendale, Arizona-resident Sean Sessa presents the off-road world with a Ford like no other. With only three years invested in off-road racing, Sean is making his presence known in the industry. This '99 F-150 sets a new standard for prerunners. For the past few years Sean has worked closely with the Geiser Brothers in Phoenix, supporting his off-road addiction. Starting out in an entry-level four-seat buggy and recently stepping into a state-of-the-art Class 10 buggy, Sean is quickly building his knowledge base in off-road racing. The idea for this prerunner came to Sean a couple of years ago while he and the Geiser Brothers, Rick and Jeff, were all out prerunning for the Baja 1000. They got through the first day of their prerunning adventure and woke up sore the next day to start the second half of the mission like a bunch of worn-out soldiers. While driving that day, a rock flung off of the rear tire into Sean's head, slightly wounding the Baja soldier and more importantly knocking some sense into him. It was at that moment when he had a revelation about how nice it would be to be prerunning in a truck. And so the dream of the ultimate prerunner began. Over the next several months, Sean spent numerous hours watching the Geiser Brothers work their magic with several high-end trucks. One of those trucks was the infamous Barracuda Truggy owned by Arizona resident John Herder. After some serious contemplation, Sean made his proclamation to Rick: "I want you to build me the baddest, trickest, meanest, prerunner that has ever been built!" and they went to work. Those were the words every proud fabricator dreams to hear -- a green light to let creativity and talent go wild to the fullest extent. With more than 20 years of experience in the off-road industry, they were ready to live up to Sean's expectations. It all started with the cab of the late-model Ford. In fact, the cab is the only original remaining part of the F-150. Since this Blue Oval was pretty much growing into a trophy truck, the engine had to be moved back a substantial amount for the proper weight distribution. This took up quite a bit of room on the interior, so a new custom firewall needed to be created. The Geiser Brothers took care of this, fabricating an elaborate chrome-moly plate structure. Building the ultimate prerunner would require Jeff to make room for at least two passengers. With this in mind, Jeff went to work on a cage to protect three occupants. Two occupants would ride up front and one more would sit in the back between the two front seats. The cage was fabricated from chrome-moly and TIG-welded for the ultimate combination of safety and aesthetics.

Power comes from a 514ci 625hp SVO engine. The top-end powerplant is outfitted with all of the sweet goodies. A 780 Holley carburetor fuels it, while it breathes through a race-proven K&N air filter. The job of building headers was left to none other than the legendary custom header builder Greg Holman of REF Unlimited. A Ron Davis radiator completes the list of top-notch engine components. Once the engine was in, the suspension system was built around it. Up front, the Geiser Brothers built a custom double A-arm system. Straight out of some modern art museum, the boxed-in arms were manufactured out of chrome-moly plate and

TIG-welded to perfection. The custom arms are supported by a pair of 14-inch King racing shocks on each wheel: one coilover and one four tube bypass shock. A whopping 26 inches of wheel travel enables this prerunner to devour any and all off-road terrain.

The tail end of the truck consists of a custom 4130 chrome-moly four-link system perfected by the Geiser Brothers. The handcrafted arms support a 10-inch Chrisman rearend with 5:1 gears and 2-1/2-inch 45-spline axles. This setup is guaranteed not to leave you stranded in the backcountry. The remainder of the system consists of a 16-inch coilover and an 18-inch four-tube bypass King racing shock on each wheel. Thirty-two inches of ground-stomping wheel travel was the final result when the Geiser Brothers delivered the truck.

Once all of the fabrication was complete, it was off to the interior shop. Of course, this prerunner could not be complete with out all of the bells and whistles that any custom truck needs. Mastercraft seatbelts and seats with lumbar support provide a safe, comfortable place for Sean. The amenities include a 1,000-watt stereo system, a CD player, an MP3 player, a GPS, a satellite phone, and a PCI race radio. Sean has no problem staying comfortable with a custom air-conditioning system and one final detail, an ARB freezer/refrigerator. This truck has every last detail taken care of.

A year and a half later, Sean left Ron Mangus at Custom Auto Interiors with the impossible task of building the ultimate interior in just three days. Anyone who has ever been involved with a custom vehicle knows that last minute is always the way project trucks finish. And Ron stepped up to accomplish the impossible. He installed a super-clean combination of tan leather and tweed over all of the new custom firewalls. The leather was neatly tucked around the carbon-fiber dashboard and the Auto Meter gauges. The 4130 rollcage was also covered in leather, keeping the interior of this machine as luxurious as a Cadillac. To Sean's amazement, Ron delivered the truck on time with an interior that sets this prerunner apart from all prior prerunners.

When all was said and done, this truck was more than Sean dreamed of. Sean made his debut trip down to Baja for the annual SCORE event, just as he planned. With no time in the driver seat, Sean and his very supportive wife proudly took the maiden voyage in the new beauty. Less than a mile later, heading through some whoops at 97 mph (data from GPS), Patty saw the look on Sean's face and knew she was in for an adventure. Sean pulled the truck over on the beach and proclaimed to her to be finished with racing buggies. "I want to build a trophy truck -- this thing is amazing!" And so with just one mile on the new beauty, they were sold on trucks, and another off-road adventure for the Sessa family had begun.

EDITORS NOTE: We had an opportunity to drive Sean's ultimate prerunner. It had handled everything we threw at it and then some. With only a limited amount of time in dialing in the suspension, it conquered like a true desert warrior. If this is any indication of where off-roading is going, then bring it on.

specifications
Owner/hometown: Sean Sessa/Glendale, Arizona
Make/model: '99 Ford F-150 Super Cab
Engine: 514ci SVO V-8
Transmission: 4L80-E four-speed automatic by Stoney with a TCS converter
Suspension: Four-link (rear), A-arm (front) by Geiser Brothers
Design and Development
Shocks: 3-inch-diameter King
Tires: BFGoodrich 37x12.5R17 Baja T/A
Wheels: APP Forged 17x8-inch Starburst
Additional features: ARB refrigerator, Auto Meter gauges, Aurora rodends, CNC brakes, Fuel Safe fuel cell, Flowmaster mufflers, REF Unlimited exhaust, Howe Steering servo, Mastercraft seats, MOMO steering wheel, PCI communication system, paint by Wally World

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