Truth be told, building a functional, well-detailed prerunner is an expensive undertaking. There are prerunners at the high end of the spectrum, boasting trophy truck-like technology and performance, and costing upward of $100 K to achieve said level of function and style. At the other extreme are prerunners-in-the-making, trucks that are being modified over time, dictated by finances and their builder's push to finish the buildup. Somewhere in between low-buck 'runners and high-zoot wonders is a group of trucks whose performance and level of modification is impressive and not totally out of reach for an enthusiast with a fair amount of disposable income, the wherewithal to wheel and deal, and a keen focus on the finished project.
That brings us to this month's prerunner, Jimmy Todorovitch's sun-kissed F-Series, which is way impressive in every aspect but was built at a reasonable cost. How reasonable? Well, Jimmy estimates the truck is worth approximately $50,000, and we guess that's a reasonable estimate. What's that? You're miffed that we consider a truck worth $50K to be a mid-level prerunner? Maybe you should check the calendar; this is the year 2003, and prices for the type of components used on a truck like Jimmy's are plain expensive - the best parts always are. Furthermore, check the per-hour labor charge of a top chassis and suspension fabricator and you'll see that building a serious - but not outlandish - prerunner will set you back at least $75 per hour. Simply stated: you get what you pay for.
What Jimmy paid for is a truck that was professionally designed and built in accordance with the form-follows-function concept. The starting point was the chassis and suspension, much of which was scratch-built by Muffin at Custom Metal Creations in Riverside, California. The Muffin Man made good on the chassis, narrowing the front framerails in order to accept the custom upper and lower control arms without undue track width. The front suspension cycles through a true 17 inches of wheel travel and is damped by King coilovers fit with dual Eibach springs. The control arms pivot on Heim joints, and the 3-inch-lifted CST spindles move through their steering arc on uniball joints.
The rear suspension and chassis are clean-sheet designs; Muffin simply whacked off the entire rear frame behind the rear cab wall and started anew. The Ford's new framerails are tubular, heavily crossbraced, built with chrome-moly steel, and tied into the in-cab 'cage for maximum strength. The rear suspension is a three-link design with beautiful lower links and an upper Y-link, all of which pivot on Heims. King coilovers with dual-rate Eibach springs are paired with King double-bypass dampers to deliver 22 inches of race-quality wheel travel.
Wheel and tire selection are crucial to the performance and style of any off-road machine, perhaps more so in the case of a flyin' prerunner. To ensure reliability and copious amounts of traction, Jimmy shod his F-150 with forged, polished, APP Thunder II wheels and BFGoodrich Baja T/A Radials, the choice for serious prerunners and race trucks alike. As for the cockpit, the phrase is fully equipped because this is an F-Series interior that's not missing a thing. The SuperCab is loaded with Kar Tek Competition Racing Seats, Crow five-point racing harnesses, a B&M Pro Ratchet shifter, and more Muffin fabrication in the form of a six-point rollcage, which is tied into the front and rear suspension 'cages. The cab retains its OE dash, as well as an A/C system and high-power Sony CD stereo system.
The 5.4L Triton V-8 powering Jimmy's wild ride is basically stock because the engine is fairly low-mileage, but it was treated to a K&N Filtercharger, solid motor mounts, a Gibson exhaust system installed by Rodgers Exhaust Shop, and is set to receive an Edelbrock nitrous system. An Optima Red Top battery supplies the juice, while the four-speed automatic transmission was tuned with a B&M Shift Improver Kit, and it passes power through a custom Inland Empire Driveline-built driveshaft. The Ford OE rear drive axle is equipped with an Eaton limited-slip diff, 4.56 cogs from U.S gear, and a custom gusset to ensure the entire assembly remains intact.
Jimmy Todorovitch's fabulous F-150 certainly isn't the most radical truck to ever grace the pages of this fine magazine, but building a radical-for-the-sense-of-radical truck wasn't Jimmy's intent. Rather, this truck was built as a true dual-purpose truck: part daily driver, part weekend warrior. Above all, this is a clean, functional, and well-detailed machine that is used for its intended purpose day in and day out. And that's what our sport is all about, right?
|Owner/hometown||:||Jimmy Todorovitch/Riverside, California|
|Suspension||:||Custom A-arms, King coilover shocks, King air bumps, Eibach springs, custom engine 'cage, CST 3-inch lift spindles, 17 inches of travel (front); Custom three-link, King coilover shocks, King double-stage bypass dampers, Eibach springs, rear chassis 'cage, 22 inches of travel (rear)|
|Wheels||:||17x8-inch APP Thunder II|
|Tires||:||37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Baja T/A Radial|
|Interior||:||Kar Tek seats; Crowe safety harnesses; six-point rollcage, B&M shifter|
|Body||:||Trailer Products fiberglass front fenders and rear bedsides|
|Paint||:||DuPont custom Yellow, painted by Mike Todorovitch|
|Additional features||:||JAZ fuel cell, custom ice chest holder, custom PIAA headlights|