Last week we flew to Colorado for an exclusive look at Defco Trucks’ BA-350, the 1-ton Power Stroke with Raptor DNA. Raptors have become the factory performance 4x4 of choice in the last few years due to their exceptional off-road capability. Doug Paddock, owner of Defco and creator of the BA-350, wanted to make a 1-ton with the same type of capability to-scale, and he succeeded.
With plenty of travel, ARB front and rear lockers, a Dana Super 60 axle up front, Sterling 10.5 in the rear, and a 16,500-pound Warn winch, the BA-350 can get up or down any trail wide enough for the Advanced Fiberglass fenders and bedsides. The rig is impressively capable off-road for a fullsize crew cab diesel. Its ability to tow as much as a stock F-350, with upgraded Ford 4.3 gearing to handle 43-inch military-grade Continentals, and remain under a factory Ford warranty is a major plus. It’s a tow rig that’ll wheel with the best of the trailered 4x4s.
On-road the ride is much smoother than a standard F-350 and most 1-tons. Like a Raptor, the BA-350’s suspension is custom-built to absorb bumps and travel with dips at high rates of speed, making the ride smooth on- and off-road. Bumpy roads and whoops are really where this truck finds itself at home; Doug claims you can drive it off the highway at 65 mph and stay comfortable and in control, and there may be video evidence to prove it. This is the same BA-350 that earlier this year brought Defco a tsunami of attention on social media, where they posted videos of Doug jumping it close to 15 feet high at around 40 mph.
Chris Lewis from Lewis Built Performance is a partner in the BA-350 build. He created the patented suspension system for the truck that’s built to handle the weight and power of an F-350 with the agility of a Raptor, and then some. High-performance King shocks tuned by Kellan Meadows at Envy Motorsports, custom leaf springs from Atlas Suspension, and expertly fabricated custom suspension components from Lewis Built make the ride for the BA-350 one of a kind. This diesel eats up rocky roads like they’re bite-sized snacks, tackling jarring ruts and rocks with ease and class. Thanks to beefed up steering components the BA-350 handles better than a standard F-350 too, making slick and uneven surfaces like snow and dirt easier to manage.
In the Rockies, we hit a trail built off an old mining railroad in the BA-350, and we had a blast. Five of us enjoyed ourselves immensely from the luxury leather interior of the truck while it effortlessly cleared large rocks and plowed up snowy hills. With the Raptor, Ford made an extremely well-tuned, factory-quality, off-road–focused F-150 that still does everything any extended cab F-150 can do: haul, tow, and seat five. With the BA-350, Defco has taken that formula and scaled it up to the extreme. The BA-350 is a purpose-built off-road beast with capability unmatched by other 1-tons, plus all the great features and abilities of a stock F-350 Lariat. Here’s the best news yet: Defco is building BA-350s to order—time to break out the checkbook. We have more great photos and video of the BA-350 that we’re saving for a full feature, so stay tuned to Fourwheeler.com for more BA-350 content.