The Perfectionist: A Customized ’75 F-350

The Rural King

When you’re 14, everything in the world around you seems bigger. When you’re 14 and your dad owns a diesel truck repair shop, all you want to see is bigger and badder trucks.

Cody Jones from Spencer, Indiana, starting working with his dad, Bo Jones, at Jones & Sons Truck Repair shop from an early age and began dreaming up the perfect rig. From 14 years old, his dad helped Jones put every cent of his money into building a truck that would take four and a half years to bring to life. Out of the rough shell of a 1975 Ford F-350 dually pickup truck, a uniquely customized semi-like machine would emerge.


With 9 inches of total lift and huge 22.5-inch wheels and tires, Jones installed dual Skyjacker 9000 steering stabilizers to keep the truck pointed in the right direction.

But the Jones family had to start somewhere and the frame and chassis was a good place to begin. Right away, young Jones knew he wanted a beast of a truck standing strong and tall, so beefing up the frame was priority one. With a practically seamless splicing together of two 1990 Ford frames, the chassis was bolstered to handle a new powerplant and a planned total of nine inches of lift. Matte black coating along the frame and entire undercarriage cleaned up the underside and blended with the black-on-black theme. The ’90 front and rear ends were outfitted with an International 9400 air suspension in the rear and Skyjacker 9000 shocks up front. Keeping up with the towering lift and aggressive suspension are the 22.5-inch Accuride Steel semi-truck wheels and 11R22.5 Michelin XDY3 tires.

Jones and his dad expertly grafted two 1990 Ford frames into one then painted the new “super frame” matte black. The custom front driveshaft wasn’t finished and installed yet at the time of our shoot, but it is now there to put power to the front axle when needed.
The ’90 rear end with its International 9400 air suspension adds to the capabilities of the truck while the mud flaps and air horns weave the dually in with a big-rig semi.

With a rugged chassis ready to take on the world, Jones was able to turn his attention to finding the perfect heart for his beast. A 1996 12-valve Cummins engine was selected for the job, but it would need a few modifications before making it into the truck. Jones fabricated a custom piece for the Cummins’ intake. To keep up with the demand for fuel, an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump was added. Keeping with the semi-truck theme, Jones equipped a Garrett intercooler from a 1990 Kenworth rig. A 55mm H1C turbo was installed to boost the power, but Jones later upgraded to a 60mm HX40. Along with the later upgrades came 191 delivery valves, 60-pound valve springs, 4,000rpm governor springs, new head studs, .093 injection lines, and a custom-fabricated boost fooler using the air system installed on the truck. A 1990 Eaton Fuller six-speed transmission sourced from a school bus and a double-disc clutch from a semi truck completed the package. This custom configuration comes in at over 400 estimated horsepower to give Jones a potent but very drivable combination.

Semi-truck wheels 22.5 inch across with bronzed-chrome caps and lug spikes combine with the tall rubber of Michelin XDY3s to fill out the lifted look.
Fitting just like it was meant to be is a 1996 12-valve Cummins to bring new life to the old Ford. Note the custom intake Jones fabricated to get the intake charge from the intercooler to the cylinder head.

But some really unique custom work began to make this rig stand out with its 8-inch exhaust system. Traveling down the center of the undercarriage, the custom fabricated exhaust splits toward the rear into twin side-exit tips positioned just in front of the rear dual tires. The angle-cut tips are further customized with sharp triangles and faux gun barrels, giving an aggressive fighter jet/rat rod style melded into the oversized, rugged pickup/semi.

To keep the intake charge from the HX40 turbo cool, Jones installed a Garrett intercooler out of a 1990 Kenworth. He painted custom red Ford script on the core to set the big intercooler off.
The Eaton Fuller six-speed transmission connects to the divorced transfer case with a short driveshaft that also features an integrated pneumatic parking brake for which Jones fabricated a new linkage to work in this application.


Jones’ custom side exhaust showcases the teenage dream as it dumps black smoke from just in front of the dual rear tires out of the custom fabricated fighter jet-inspired tips.

Jones’ approach for the exterior was simple: Make it big and make it black. Its stance with the modified suspension and double-stacked frame already made the ’75 F-350 look imposing, but that was just the beginning as the custom fabricated front and rear bumpers began taking shape. The matte-black coating on the heavy duty bumpers ties in well with the matte finish on the exhaust and chassis. To enable entry into the towering machine, Amp Research motorized side steps were adapted to the early model Ford. Jones did the body work and painted the smooth, glossy black body paint himself to finish the transformation from the rough shape the F-350 was found in to the show truck it’s become. To set the truck off at shows and events, he fabricated and installed a front end tilt conversion to allow people to view the Cummins engine from ground level as they walk by. Spyder headlights with LED rings bring some modern flair to rig’s classic and capable look.


Custom-made front and rear bumpers help balance the aggressive utility look of the massive truck with their beefy proportions and Jones’ heavy duty fabrication.
Gleaming brass knuckles control the air-actuated parking brake and air horns while a Kenwood head unit controls his tunes to finish off the modifications inside the spacious cab.
The Amp Research motorized step helps you get up and into the lifted rig, thanks to custom fabricated mounts that allowed Jones to install the late-model steps on his early-model truck—but you do have to put your legs directly in the sights of two gun barrels to use it.

The interior was kept straightforward with the stock black-on-black color scheme staying intact. Jones added custom touches though, as he extended the semi-truck feel inside with a semi wheel and semi gauge cluster. He also pulled in the rat rod influence again with his chrome “brass knuckles” that control a pneumatic parking brake as well as train horns installed under the rear of the truck to cap off the big-rig vibe. And of course, custom tunes weren’t forgotten, as Jones installed a Kenwood head unit and modern speakers installed at factory speaker locations in the doors.


As if the truck was not unique enough, Jones converted the hood and front fenders to a tilt configuration to help the big truck really stand out in a crowded truck show.
The simple black interior was kept mostly original with a few alterations like the semi-truck steering wheel and big-rig gauges.
The bed of the truck houses a large 100-gallon fuel tank for insane driving range and a diamond plate storage box to keep loose items from sliding around the bed.

Putting in every bit of time and money he could from an early age, Cody Jones was successful in building a truck customized to perfectly live up to his imagination, and he still put less cash into it then he’d have spent on a brand-new F-350. Pulling ideas from years spent around semi rigs and diesel pickups, Jones transformed an old junker into a beautiful machine that truly stands tall— literally. This beast of a truck proves a teen, a dream, and a little hard work have no limits. DW

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