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2003 Ford F150 Prerunner - Jet Blue

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Posted March 1, 2004

Taking Flight In Scott Steinberger's Other Truck

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.

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