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Full Flex: Building A True Muscle Truck Out of A 2017 Ford F-150 Pickup

Whatever happened to manufacturer-offered muscle trucks? You know the ones, like the Chevy 454 SS and the Dodge Ram SRT10. These trucks delivered on special styling packages and increased horsepower and torque to set them starkly apart from the rest of the fleet.

Front of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Fans of these trucks didn’t have to spend time in the garage to get the souped-up truck of their dreams. These beefed-up pickups used to be available straight from the dealership and covered by a factory warranty—it just didn’t get much better than that.

Rear of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

How It All Started

These trucks developed a cult following among gear heads and brand-loyal collectors alike. Brandt Caloudas of Brenham, Texas considers himself to be a member of both parties. “My first truck was a black 2010 Ford F150,” he said. “I had always wanted a cool and quick, all-black vehicle, and since I live on a ranch, I figured I’d go ahead and build another F150 that met all those marks.”

Rear of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Brandt had always been a fan of performance-centric cars and trucks, but it wasn’t until 2017 when he bought his brand new F150 when he really got involved in the sport. “One of my longtime friends, Rudy Estrada, really inspired me to get more serious about turning my truck into a true muscle car with a bed”, Brandt says. “From there, my addiction of building my Ford the exact way I wanted spiraled into what it is now.”

Performance Boost

Jumping right into setting this F150 apart from the pack, Brandt and his friend Jason Brending started on working on something special for the Gen 2 5.0L Coyote power plant underneath the hood.

Modified Coyote Engine of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Brandt and Jason included a 2018 Mustang GT intake manifold and GT350 throttle body to the engine, as well as a JLT oil catch can and cold air intake.

Gauges of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Taking things further is a set of 2M Fab 1 7/8-inch long tube headers designed for the Mustang GT platform. The 3.5-inch exhaust system connects to a Flowmaster Delta Flow 40 series mufflers for better breathing abilities as well as a truly threatening engine rumble. To harness the truck’s newfound power, Sergio at All Motor Labs in Houston tuned the Ford to true peak performance. To keep close tabs on the truck’s performance, an HP Tuners NGauge digital gauge was mounted to monitor critical vital signs.

Front of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Leveling the Playing Field

Next, the guys moved their attention to the F150’s suspension system. Wanting a sportier stance, Brandt and Jason lowered the rear 3.5 inches. To address the ability to gain some real performance from the truck’s handling, a Caltracs bolt-on traction system from Calvert Racing was included to give the Ford extra traction whenever Brandt decides to take the truck to the drag strip.

Suspension of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Ready to Roll

To fill up the fender gap, Brandt chose a set of 22x12 KMC XD Surge wheels, and to further add to the F150’s overall agility and nimbleness, a set of 305/40R22 Nitto NT420V tires were brought into the equation. While this specific line of rubber is designed to fit and complement luxury trucks and SUVs, it does add performance in the way of large outer tread blocks that increase the amount of road contact surface area, which allows for aggressive cornering in both wet and dry conditions.

Nitto 420V Tires of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Necessary Exterior & Creature Comfort Additions

Brandt called on Ortiz Paint and Body in Chappell Hill, TX to handle some minor bodywork before spraying the entire surface in Shadow Black paint. The truck’s emblems and badges were paint matched, and a few accessories in the way of a Caliber 9 grille, Oracle LED wheel rings and new Morimoto headlights and tails were included for added nighttime excitement. It takes a lot of work to create a smooth and sinister façade, but Brandt just had to carry out the vision that was in his mind.

Audio of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

The interior space of the F150 was kept relatively straightforward, but Brandt turned to Kool Shades Tint and Audio to ensure that he could absolutely blast his favorite tunes. The entire cab was covered in sound deadening material so that the Memphis Audio sound system could ring true. The front 6.75-inch MS60C components, rear 6.5-inch MS60 speakers and three MB1024 10-inch subwoofers are powered by monoblock VIV1500.1 and VIV400.4V2 multichannel amps. An Audio Control LC6I signal processor was also wired up to ensure crystal clear sounds at all times.

Rear of Brandt Caloudas' 2017 Ford F150

Spreading the Gospel

Brandt soon had the exact truck he envisioned by enlisting the help of talented friends to build a true muscle truck of a F150 that he imagined could have been offered directly by Ford. Brandt said, “I’ve just always enjoyed talking to people at shows about my build and answering their questions, especially the younger ones. I didn’t have an unlimited source of money like some people make it seem with their trucks, so I know firsthand what it’s like to pay out of pocket just like everybody else out there.”

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