Anyone who's been through a wedding engagement can tell you it's not a relaxing process. There are decisions to make, appointments to keep, and most of all, expenses. Keith Sato of Brea, California, found himself in that very situation a few years ago. "I was getting stressed out about all the stuff we had to pay for," Keith related. "I was happy to be getting married, and I wanted Tricia to enjoy our engagement and our wedding. I decided I needed to do something that would make both of us happy." He came up with a quid-pro-quo deal and ran it by his fiancée. "I'll quit complaining about what this is costing," he offered. "But as soon as we're back from our honeymoon, I'm gonna build a truck." Tricia agreed, and the plans for the wedding and the truck moved forward.?>
The wedding and honeymoon were pulled off smoothly in a matter of months. Building Keith's newly-purchased '94 F-150, on the other hand, took a few years. The first parts of the build were done outdoors, and the record-setting rainfall of the '04-to-'05 winter hampered progress. Eventually the truck was moved into Keith's garage, which made it easier to work on.
Keith didn't build the truck alone. As one-half of Sato Bros. Racing, he had, his brother, Tony's talents available, as well. Matt Helton and other friends from the "Mojave Mafia" also lent their time and skills.?>
The resulting truck is amazingly street-able considering its off-road prowess. The headliner, carpet, and A/C are all in place and fully functional. The engine mods were kept mild so that street-legal status could be retained.
Once in the dirt, this F-1 bares its teeth. Custom equal-length I-beams, swing-set steering, Deaver leaf springs, a Blitzkrieg Motorsports axle housing, and a full arsenal of Sway-A-Way dampers see to it that bumps get swallowed whole in rapid succession. Chassis reinforcement and personal protection come courtesy of a full 'cage that was built using 1.75-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing.?>
Trucks must fit more than your off-road aspirations. They must also fit your life. For some, that means a mild build using bolt-on parts. For others, high-end, custom-fabricated everything is the norm. Wherever you are along this spectrum, take some inspiration from Keith: If you're planning to build a truck, you'll get much further if you first master the art of negotiation.
Vehicle: '94 Ford F-150 SuperCab 2WD
Owner/Hometown: Keith Sato / Brea, CA
Engine: Ford 351 Windsor with sequential fuel management, Clay Smith camshaft, Mac Performance equal-length headers, mild head porting
Induction: stock intake equipped with a UNI filter
Transmission: Ford C-6 with Art Carr shifter and manual valve body, Kevlar internal bands
Front end: Custom J-Beam built by Keith using kingpin beam ends and 4130 chromoly tubing, Autofab hubs, and Wilwood brakes.
Rear end: Blitzkrieg Motorsports fabricated 9-inch housing, Currie axle shafts, and Strange Race Case third member.
Suspension: Sway-A-Way 2.0 coilovers in front, Sway-A-Way 3.0 bypass shocks front and rear, and Sway-A-Way 2.5 bump stops at each corner. Deaver rear spring packs
Tires: 37-inch Goodyear MT/R
Wheels: BTR beadlocks