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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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