Lately Ford has incorporated the Platinum trim level throughout the model range of F-Series pickups, but not too long ago they were a much rarer find. We don’t see Platinum Edition F-250s at events all that often, but they sure were nice trucks straight off the Ford assembly line. According to our research less than 2,500 Platinum Edition Super Duty trucks were produced and they were all built in the crew-cab short-bed configuration. Tiverton, Rhode Island, emergency medical technician Pete Halpen’s ’01 F-250 is certainly a fine example of the species. As a long-time faithful Ford follower and Mustang drag racer, it was natural for him to find a rare truck to purchase as his tow rig.
When Halpen purchased the truck it had six inches of suspension lift and he continued that trend by adding an additional three inches of lift for a total of nine inches of lift over stock. He also installed the huge LT355/60R20 Nitto Terra Grappler All Terrain tires wrapped around 20×10-inch Weld Racing wheels to complete the look. Despite the big lift and massive tires that measure in at 38 inches tall, the big Ford looks very proportional and carries the lift well.
After owning the F-250 for a while and realizing he really loved the 7.3L Power Stroke platform, Halpen sold the Mustang and focused his automotive obsession on the Platinum Edition pickup. He went to work improving the truck. Remote reservoir Bilstein shocks were installed at all four corners to tame the ride and keep the big tires firmly planted on the ground. Dual steering stabilizers are used to help keep the truck pointed in the right direction. The shocks and stabilizers are treated to yellow shock boots to accent the platinum and silver two-tone paint. To help compensate for the tall tires, he replaced the original gears with a set of 4.30 ratio gears to keep the engine in its powerband on the highway for his frequent long road trips. The rear differential was also treated to a finned cover from an ’08 Super Duty.
Halpen installed color-matched fender flares to help prevent mud and road grime from slinging off the tires and onto the body. He also installed chrome badges and a set of auxiliary back-up lights under the rear bumper to finish off the subtle exterior modifications and keep it looking like an original Platinum Edition truck, with a little bit of a custom touch.
Under the hood, Halpen worked on improving both the performance and looks of the 7.3L Power Stroke engine. He fabricated a custom airbox/heat shield and installed a large paper filter element, then wrapped it with a Riffraff Diesel filter cover to protect it from water and large debris that he might encounter off road. He painted the boost tubes in a bright yellow finish to make them pop and also match his Mustang. A custom front cover gives the engine a clean finished look.
“The beast of a truck has run a best 1/8-mile drag race pass of 10.7 seconds at 68 mph, yet still has great road manners, allowing Halpen to drive the truck for hours on end to attend diesel events and have fun with his fellow diesel enthusiasts.”
On the performance side of the engine, Halpen installed a Riffraff Diesel FRx fuel rail crossover kit and OCR overboost code regulator to provide better fuel delivery to the injectors and allow the engine to run more boost without defueling. To get additional fuel into the engine, he opted to install a set of Full Force Diesel Performance Stage 1 injectors to replace the stock sticks. The stock Garrett turbocharger still compresses the intake charge and spent exhaust gasses are expelled via 4-inch diameter straight-piped stainless steel turbo-back exhaust system that terminates in the stock location behind the passenger rear wheel.
To optimize the engine controls, Halpen disconnected the Banks Six-Gun tuner that was on the truck when he purchased it and he now depends on a DP-Tuner F5 chip with switch on the fly controls. But rather than simply rely on the out of the box tunes, he went the additional step of having Jody Tipton “live-tune” the truck, which picked up the performance of the engine and gave Halpen a fuel mileage improvement of 1.2 mpg over the standard tunes. The controller is located in a Riffraff F-650 lower dash panel next to a set of auxiliary switches. A set of ISSPRO Performax gauges installed in an A-pillar pod reads EGT, boost, transmission temperature and engine oil pressure. The rest of the interior is stock, including the two-tone Platinum Edition leather seating that makes for a comfy ride in the front or back seats.
The 7.3L diesel engine is backed by a built BD Diesel Performance 4R100 transmission that was installed by the previous owner and is holding up great even with the Power Stroke under the hood and the big tires on the ground. The transmission features a performance rebuild along with performance torque converter and a deep-sump cast aluminum transmission pan. On the chassis dyno at the Riffraff East event, Halpen’s truck has put down 335 horsepower and 740 lb/ft of torque on fuel with 522 horsepower and 1,006 lb/ft of torque from a parking lot nitrous oxide installation assist.
The beast of a truck has run a best 1/8-mile drag race pass of 10.7 seconds at 68 mph, yet still has great road manners, allowing Halpen to drive the truck for hours on end to attend diesel events and have fun with his fellow diesel enthusiasts. He and his son P.J. have regularly made the nearly 2,000-mile round-trip journey south from their Rhode Island home to Newport, Tennessee, to attend the Riffraff East event. Since we shot the truck, it has changed ownership, but is still parked in the same driveway—P.J. Halpen now calls the truck his and we expect that this one-of-a-kind Platinum Edition F-250 will remain in the Halpen family for generations to come. DW