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2003 Ford F150 Prerunner - Jet Blue

Posted in Features on March 1, 2004 Comment (0)
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In the world of West Coast off-road racing, Trophy Trucks rule the roost. Scott Steinberger is a standout driver in the TT class, and his black-flamed F-150 is one of the most recognizable Trophy Trucks on the SCORE circuit. Scott is a fan favorite, thanks to his wide-open and high-flyin' driving style. To stay competitive with the other teams in this hotly contested racing class, Scott contacted Newline Products in Anaheim, California, to construct a proper prerunner, thereby giving his team the mobility to map out any racecourse ahead of time.

Two years after Scott made the initial phone call to Newline's owner, Nestor Berardi, we arrived at our favorite dirt playground in Barstow, California, to find the Newline crew and Scott testing this incredible machine. Scott's F-150 bears little more than a slight resemblance to Ford's original truck; it was designed from the ground up as a high-performance whoop-defying machine. The chassis was constructed entirely from 1-3/4-inch chrome-moly tubing and TIG-welded together to shorten the wheelbase 9 inches from stock. Newline also moved the engine mounting location in the new chassis down and rearward 3 inches.

Newline spent many hours designing a completely new suspension system for the prerunner that would enable it to blast through the harshest terrain, while keeping the tires in contact with the dirt and still steering accurately. The front track width was increased a full 5 inches per side with custom-fabricated chrome-moly J-arms that eliminate scrub and bumpsteer, while cycling through 25 inches of wheel travel. A four-link rear suspension was crafted with antisquat geometry and correct roll centers, and cycles through 36 inches of wheel travel. Unlike most of the suspensions we tend to see that are damped by multiple coilover and bypass shocks, Scott's ride relies on just one shock per wheel to carry the weight of the truck, and soak up the bumps. The reason for the apparent lack of dampers is that Newline used Robby Gordon Racing internal bypass shocks. These technical wonders contain a 3-inch-diameter piston and internal bypass system within a 4-1/2-inch-diameter coilover-shock body. According to Nestor, the faster these shocks move, the better they work. We can honestly back up that claim; we rode in this truck and felt the amazing action of the suspension through terrain that would have killed our backs in our own trucks. Even running 70-plus miles per hour through 2-foot-deep holes can't phase this truck.

Having a plush suspension doesn't do much good without a reliable powerplant, so Scott called on the talents of Jeff Stretch to build a Ford 351 Windsor small-block for the prerunner. The SVO short-block was stroked to displace 422 cid, and topped off with Trick Flow cylinder heads, a custom-ported Edelbrock intake manifold, and a custom Holley 830-cfm HP-series carburetor. Lighting off the motor is an MSD ignition system, while the exhaust gases are spent through a custom set of Tri-Y headers from REF Unlimited of Kingman, Arizona. The powerplant is coupled to a Mogi C-6 transmission, a two-piece Drivelines Unlimited driveshaft, and a custom-built Chrisman rearend with a 5.00:1 gear ratio. This combination of parts makes 600 hp, 570 lb-ft of torque, and propels the truck to 125 mph.

One of the reasons we dig Scott's truck so much, aside from the killer fab work, is that the overall quality is nicer than most show trucks. This is arguably one of the cleanest prerunners we've seen to date. The all-fiberglass body was laid up by McQueen Prototype Design of Hermosa Beach, California, and features some pretty trick ideas. First off, the one-piece front end tilts forward, offering excellent access to the engine and suspension. The flared rear panels are finished nicely and feature a hinged deck lid that flows around the spare BFGoodrich Project KR tires and Robbie Gordon wheels. Dave Wachter Paint Designs sprayed the PPG Subaru WRX Blue paint, and Line-X of Long Beach, California, coated the lower half of the body with color-matching bedliner material to protect the paint from rock chips.

The interior of the prerunner is just as sano. Newline fabbed up the dash to place all the most important controls within Scott's reach. The new dash plays host to a full complement of PCI Race Radio gear, a modified Lowrance GPS system, and a Pioneer Audio head unit. Rockford Fosgate amplifiers are stashed below the passenger side of the dash, a gang of Rockford speakers is mounted in the doors, while a 10-inch Rockford sub is ingeniously mounted into the rear portion of the rollcage. Ron Mangus trimmed the interior with blue tweed and wrapped flames into the door and roof panels.

When your job is to pilot a Trophy Truck across the desert at speeds in excess of 100 mph, you'd better know the terrain ahead of time. Having a prerunner that gets the job done is paramount, but having a prerunner that offers all the creature comforts and moves you from start to finish in style is even cooler. Scott Steinberger has accomplished that goal with the help of some great friends and we wish him luck in the upcoming season.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/Hometown Scott Steinberger/Cypress, California
Year/Make/Model '03 {{{F-150}}} prerunner
Engine 422-cid {{{Ford}}} Windsor SVO with Trick Flow heads,
  Edelbrock intake, Holley 830-cfm carburetor, REF
  Unlimited headers, MSD ignition
Transmission Ford C-6 modified by Mogi Transmissions
Gear Ratio 5.00:1
Suspension Newline Products upper J-arm/lower A-arm front
  suspension, four-link rear suspension with Robby
  Gordon Racing internal-bypass shocks
Tires/Wheels BFGoodrich 37x12.50R17 {{{Baja}}} Project/
  17x8.5-inch Robby Gordon Racing bead locks
Additional features Hella HID lighting, Borla stainless-steel exhaust
  system, Baja Racing Products, PCI Race Radio,
  Neo synthetic oil

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