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Wednesday, 10 February 2016 01:27


Written by Deanne Deluna | Photos: Dale Martin

Optimus: 2001 Ford F-250 Super Duty

You may be familiar with Optimus Prime from the Transformers movies and toy franchise, and know that he’s the de facto leader of the Autobots. Capable of transforming into a heavy-duty semi that towers above the rest, Zach Pennock wanted his Ford F-250 build to do the same among other customs and christened his creation “Optimus.” Dressed in a similar red, white and blue color scheme as Optimus Prime, Pennock’s mission was to build a one-off show truck worthy of the same respect as the fictional Transformers character.

After buying the truck from a good friend who would only sell it to someone who would take care of it and take it to the next level, Pennock went to work to make his personal “Optimus” come to life. Although the initial design was only meant to feature a leaf spring suspension with 22” wheels and 35” tall tires, as the truck’s third owner, Pennock decided he needed to make it live up to the Optimus namesake. “I knew that I wanted to change some things on the truck to make it stand out,” he says. “I started by selling its old school small wheels and big tires. Then, I 4-linked the rear and changed the powder coat color to ‘Shocker Yellow’ to match the pinstripe in the paint.” According to Pennock, the suspension was a one-off idea that would let him keep his fuel tank and mimic the front Z Link Kit from Skyjacker.

To further provide a unique look, Pennock decided to go with the CenCal style and opted for 24x14 Hostile Exile wheels wrapped in 37x13.5R24 Toyo Open Country M/T tires. “I wanted to build a CenCal truck because growing up I always built the old school square body Chevys with 16" wheels and boggers,” he explains. “I followed a lot of different builds on Instagram and got a lot of ideas from there. I chose the tire and wheel package because I like the clean style of Hostile wheels and had to run 37” tires to fill the fender well.”

To give “Optimus” the extra power it needed to rule the CenCal truck scene, Pennock boosted performance by adding a Meth injection system, GTP38R turbocharger, ram cold air hood system, 5" polished Magnaflow exhaust and Power Hungry Performance Hydra Chip with Cyclops adapter. Inside are TVs in the headrests, Kicker 10” subs behind the back seats and RE Audio XXX Series component speakers.

Since the truck was first built by Bigfoot 4x4, Inc. (in St. Louis, MO) to match one of their monster trucks, the paint scheme was already planned out and Pennock decided to keep it the same. However, he did change the front end to the ’05-’07 F-Series, pulled the body off and welded all the holes in the frame to give it that Autobot look and smoothed out the rails and sprayed the frame and axles.

But for Pennock, the highlight of the build is the custom reverse triangulated 4-link suspension with King coilovers in the rear, which a lot of people didn’t believe would actually work. “People doubted the suspension setup, but after some trial and error we perfected it.” He definitely proved them wrong and after a year of being under construction, “Optimus” made its grand debut at the Lifted Truck Nationals Off-Road Truck Show, Cruise and Concert in Ridgedale, MO back in September 2015. Pennock couldn’t be happier with the final result and has even tested out the articulation, which he says “holds up great.”

GEAR: 2001 Ford F-250 Super Duty

Wheels & Tires
  • 24x14 Hostile Exile wheels
  • 37x13.50R24 Toyo Open Country M/T tires
  • GTP38R turbo
  • Methanol Injection kit
  • 5" polished Magnaflow exhaust
  • Ram cold air hood system
  • Power Hungry Performance Hydra Chip Hydra Chip with Cyclops adapter
  • FASS Fuel Systems
  • Skyjacker Z link in the front
  • One-off reverse triangulated 4-link suspension with King coilovers in the rear
  • Airbrush by Bigfoot 4x4, Inc.
  • HornBlasters air horn w/color-matched tank
  • Custom two-tone interior
  • Airbrushed dash and custom door speaker housings
  • TVs in the head rests
  • (3) Kicker 10” subwoofers
  • RE Audio XXX Series component speakers
Shops that worked on truck
  • RHR Graphics (Pevely, MO)
  • Big Nasty Motorsports (Hillsboro, MO)
Shoutout To
  • Mike at Hostile Wheels, Rob at RHR graphics, and Dylan at Big Nasty

RE Audio | • Kicker | • King Shocks | • Hostile Wheels | • Toyo Tires | • Skyjacker | • Power Hungry Performance | • Magnaflow |