One Fine Lava-Runner
Everyone has their own version of paradise. For some, it's spending the day creeping along at a snail's pace, 2 mph over the slick rock of Utah. For others, it's putting the pedal to the metal of a Class 8 racer in Mexico hoping to grab that First Place trophy.
"They can have all of that stuff; just give me my 4x4 and a free day to roam and I'm in paradise," says Matt Genco of Kona, Hawaii.
As if living on the Big Island wasn't enough, Matt has fabricated one of the biggest trucks throughout the entire chain of Hawaiian Islands.
Built for the sole purpose of going where no man has gone before (literally), Matt can be found traversing the Mauna Kea Lava Fields in South Point, Hawaii, weekly in his '91 Ford F-250 Standard Cab 4x4. Unlike off-roading on the mainland, where everyone becomes familiar with their favorite trail, the Lava Fields are constantly evolving by way of new lava flows, settling, and erosion. Aside from this weekly challenge, there are other hazards that must be taken into consideration as well. Sharper than some pieces of metal, the hardened lava will cut anything it comes in contact with to shreds. Knowing this bit of information, Matt called upon Maui Off-Road in Maui, Hawaii, to provide tires that would essentially float across the surface. Its answer to this potential problem were 42x15x16.5 Super Swamper TSL tires wrapped around indestructible 16.5x15-inch Weld Super Single wheels. With the rims and tires out of the way, the next thing to do was actually make them fit on the truck. The stock front and rear leaf springs were replaced for a complete 15-inch Trailmaster Suspension kit, complete with Dick Cepek shocks. Now crossing the lava fields is as easy as crossing a neighborhood street for Matt and company.
Back on the Big Island (complete with its new altitude), Matt's rig was treated to some minor performance modifications. As the owner of Collision Specialist & Automotive Hawaii Inc. of Kona, Matt completed the trucks build-up. Already fitted with a bulletproof 351cid Ford V-8, there were just a few items left for Matt to add that would increase the performance and reliability of his lava-runner. Altering the shift and torque curves on the power plant is a Hypertech Hi-Performance computer chip that is responsible for putting another 25-plus horses into the stable. Opting to leave the Ford E-400, four-speed automatic transmission with Overdrive in place, Matt found additional assistance in the take-off department via a B&M Shift Kit. Delivering the additional horsepower to the factory 3.55 front and rear differentials are custom-fabricated, balanced, and blueprinted driveshafts courtesy of Maui Off-Road. The voice of his creation is derived from the combination of a K&N Filtercharger system and a 3-inch Flo-Tech exhaust system that is custom-painted from the headers back in a brilliant shade of silver. Sparking this giant into action is an ACCEL distributor advance 1-degree paired to matching ACCEL wires.
When Matt gets tired of hearing the crashing surf against the newly formed lava coastline, all he has to do is crank up the custom-designed and installed 1,500-watt Alpine/Kenwood/PPI sound system. With four separate PPI amplifiers delivering power to a full array of MB Quart separates and two JL Audio 12-inch subs, rest assured the music notes being emitted from the cab are louder than Mount Kilauea erupting for the first time. In the unlikely event Matt should roll his truck, he takes comfort in knowing that the custom-fabricated 3-inch rollcage will protect him from injury. Newly installed factory-matched medium-pile carpeting and upholstery also adds to the creature comforts of the interior.
Allowing the rig to blend in with the color of the island water is made possible by the fresh DuPont Kosmic Blue Pearl paint scheme that was applied by Matt's high-end collision repair crew. After the initial base color coat, the truck was sprayed with no less than five coats of clear to give it that wet-finish appearance. Prior to the beautiful blue hue being applied, the front fiberglass fenders were opened up some 4 inches so the tires would be able to clear them with no adverse effects. Wrapping up the aesthetics department is a chromed front GoRhino! brushguard and matching chromed nerf bars with CARR side steps attached. The motto for Matt's rig was custom painted onto the tailgate and reads "Take to the sky on a natural high", and what a high it must be: living on the island, driving through lava fields, and owning the biggest truck in the land. If that doesn't scream the good life, then we don't know what does. But then again, it takes us back to the idea that paradise is each person's unique state of being. If you need some suggestions, this one isn't too shabby. See you on the islands....ALOHA!
SpecificationsOwner/Hometown:Matt Genco/Kona, Hawaii
Vehicle:'91 Ford F-250 standard cab 4x4
Suspension:15-inch Trailmaster leaf spring suspension
Tires:42x15x16.5-inch TSL Super Swampers
Wheels:16.5x15-inch Weld Racing Super Singles
Shocks:Dick Cepek shocks (front & rear)
Engine:Ford 351cid V-8
Other Modifications:ACCEL Distributor/Wires; Flo-Tech exhaust; K&N filter; B&M Shift Kit; custom paint; Alpine/PPI sound system; chromed Go Rhino! nerf and brushguards; fiberglass fenders; custom DuPont Paint; 3-inch rollcage; Hypertech Performance chip