Fulks’ F-250: 1977 Vintage Custom Crew Cab
1977, 6th generation, 4-door F-250s were not a widely offered production of Fords. Custom made for each owner, they were essentially built by hand, a good majority of them built for the military or the railroad industry. These Crew Cab Dentsides (as they were often called) are quite literally two cabs joined at the factory. There were only a few thousand made, and obviously so, this makes them quite rare. What makes this particular F-250 even rarer is that owner Kip Fulks is the co-founder and President of Innovation and Footwear of Under Armour. Just as he does with his company, Kip enjoys doing things a tad bit differently.
For the ’77, Kip wanted the retro look, but still wanted all the creature comforts of a newer truck.
Thus, Fulks entrusted the ’77 to Justin Brunner, owner of Bent Metal Customs in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Justin performed what is best described as a frame off restoration on Kip’s Ford. The truck, “Was in absolute pieces when it showed up at the shop,” says Brunner. While it was done over a few years, Brunner estimates it took roughly a year of solid work to get all the extensive body work, frame work, paint and so much more that turned Fulks’ F-250 into the gem you see here.
The 5.9L Cummins 12-valve under the hood has been kept mainly stock for reliability reasons but did reap the benefits of a few “go fast” upgrades. A set of Stage 3, 90-hp injectors from Dynomite Diesel Products were installed. Fuel supply to the DDP injectors comes in the form of a FASS Titanium Series, 125-gph pump that feeds a reworked 500cc P-Pump from Northeast Diesel Injection capable of reving the engine to 5,000 rpm. To provide the air to match the added fuel, Fulks chose to use a turbo from Stainless Diesel. It’s a 63mm, T3 mount unit with a tight 0.80 AR for quick spool and great street manners. The Stainless Diesel turbo pushed compressed charge air through a 3-inch intake manifold from Trex Tech into the stock Cummins head that’s been upgraded with stiffer valve springs from Hamilton Diesel to contain the boost. Spent air then exits the engine through a Silverline Exhaust kit. The Cummins also received an aFe intercooler from a 1996 Ram (which Brunner says was one of the more difficult things to modify to fit in the Ford) as well as an upgraded harmonic damper from Fluidampr. While it hasn’t seen a dyno yet, power output is estimated to be around 650 rwhp. Helping the power get to the ground is done with a ZF5 transmission complete with custom shift knobs sporting the Under Armor logo.
Since Fulks is an avid hunter and outdoorsman, the truck had to be capable off-road. So both front and rear axles were upgraded, a newer Dana 60 was swapped in upfront, and an AAM 11.5 axle from a 2003 Dodge was used outback with disc brakes at all four corners. The axle modifications did not stop there, as both were treated to new, larger, and stronger inner and outer axle shafts, ARB Air Lockers, Warn locking hubs up front, and a G2 rear diff cover to top it all off.
“Fulks had a new, custom set of wheels made to look exactly like the 1977 versions.”
The addition of a lift kit from BDS Suspension complete with Fox Racing Shocks at all corners soak up the bumps nicely and also allow clearance for the 37-inch tall Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires. Keeping the truck looking as close to what it looked like in 1977 was still very high on Fulks’ list, so using new wheels would not cut it, and stock wheels were not an option, as they would not fit with the new disc brakes. So, Fulks had a new, custom set of wheels cut by Wheel Smith Wheels made to look exactly like the smaller 1977 versions but large enough to clear the brakes.
Further mods include Fox steering stabilizers and a Warn Zeon 12K winch built into the rear bumper. The bumper had to be extensively reinforced by Bent Metal Customs to carry the load the Warn winch would put on it.
Since most of Fulks’ time would be spent inside the ’77, the original interior wouldn’t even come close to cutting it. So Bent metal Customs sourced a complete interior from a 2012 King Ranch Super Duty to be transplanted. After modifying the interior, the body panels were Dynamated to reduce noise and help keep temperatures in check. Brunner then fit all the pieces. The seats , however, were not that easy and required extensive modification to fit them in. Once he’d made all the necessary modifications and everything was fitting the way it should, the stereo was installed (featuring multiple parts from JL Audio, Kenwood, and Memphis Audio). Before sending it off to Gillin Design, a ton of work was done: the headliner was made from scratch, complete with a built-in, drop-down TV screen. High-end Mercedes English Wall carpet was laid down; door panels were built from scratch and installed; multiple select parts were wrapped in leather, and the rear seats were reupholstered. The truck then made it back to Bent Metal Customs where final touches were made before it could be returned to Kip Fulks.
Not too many resto-modded vintage trucks have this much attention lavished on them, but just about everything done to this truck makes it a dream truck. Congratulations Bent Metal Customs and Kip Fulks, you’ve built one of the nicest vintage Fords we’ve seen in years. DW
Gillin Custom Design