Lynwood, California, is knee-deep in Southern California hot rod, custom, and lowrider history. The Barris brothers, Louis Chavez, Bill Hines, and Bill Gaylord all had shops in Lynwood at some point during their history, with plenty of the city’s residents also partaking in the thriving automotive culture around them. Although the area’s heyday may be gone, there are still those who carry the torch for beautiful rides in the SoCal south bay.
Let’s take Luis “Nacho” Rodriguez, for example. Yup, he’s from Lynwood, and he has a thing for custom rides. In fact, building them is what he does for a living. And if you know anyone who builds other people’s rides for a living, you know that that line of work leaves very little time to work on your own projects.
But after owning this 1975 F-100 for 26 years, Luis realized that it was time to either start working on it or … well, push it to the back of the shop for another quarter century or so. To help light a fire under his own butt, he offered it up to United Pacific Industries (a.k.a., UPcarparts.com) as a SEMA vehicle this past year. To his horror, they said yes—which gave him about six months to finish it!
With no time to lose, Luis stripped the whole truck down and got right to work. The chassis received an Outkast AutoWorks 4-link at the rear, and the front I-beam suspension was tossed in favor of a Ford Crown Victoria crossmember swap. Each corner got its own Aldan American coilover shock unit, as well as custom brakes. The fronts are 6-piston Brembos, while the rear are factory ’03 Lightning units attached to the narrowed Lightning rearend.
Once fitment on everything was verified, it was blown back apart for powdercoating and then carefully reassembled. Now that the ball was rolling, Luis wanted to get the chassis rolling as well, so he had to decide on wheels. Not wanting to go with an off-the-shelf wheel, Luis had custom one-off 22-inch two-piece wheels made to his specs, with Toyo Proxes Sport tires all around.
Living in California, Luis is used to having to keep smog requirements in mind when building custom vehicles, but with this truck being a ’75, 2023 is the last year (for gas-powered cars/trucks) that doesn’t require a biannual smog check. To put it simply, it was game on!
Wanting to go with something a bit more unique than current trends, Luis scrounged up a supercharged 2003 SVT Lightning engine (no doubt sourced from the same truck that donated its rearend), and added a Holley Terminator X ECU, Pacesetter headers, and a 3-inch Bassani exhaust at the ready. Once the engine was ready to be bolted in, Outkast AutoWorks engine mounts were used to swap the modular engine into the Crown Vic crossmember. Easy peasy. The only thing left to do to get the F-100 moving under its own power was to attach the Tremec TR-3650 5-speed, which came out of a 2007 Mustang GT.
When the truck was ready, Luis delivered it to his buddies Pedro and Angel Rivas from One Stop Paint Shop, for some fresh color—two-stage Valspar Ford Velocity Blue with PPG clearcoat, with plenty of blacked-out trim. Once the paint was cut and buffed, Luis brought the truck back to his shop and began installing every LED light product that UPcarparts offers for Dentside trucks, including the headlights and taillights.
With the clock still ticking and just a few weeks until SEMA, Luis dropped off a pair of 2019 Mustang bucket seats at Medina’s Upholstery, which reshaped and reupholstered them (as well as a set of new door panels) in distressed leather and suede. While Medina’s was working its magic, Luis got back to work installing the Ron Francis wiring, Vintage Air A/C, Dakota Digital RTX gauges, NRG steering wheel, and Alpine single DIN head unit.
As with most SEMA builds, the truck got wrapped up just in time to load up on a trailer and head out to Vegas to get there at roll-in, where it proudly sat in United Pacific’s booth along Hot Rod Alley. Now that the truck is back in Lynwood, let’s hope it gets a better parking spot this time around!
Luis “Nacho” Rodriguez
1975 Ford F-100
Chassis & Suspension
- Ford Crown Victoria front crossmember/suspension swap
- Outkast AutoWorks 4-link kit
- Aldan American coilovers all around
- 2003 Ford F-150 Lightning 9.75-inch axle housing, narrowed 5 inches
- 34.spline Dutchman axles
- 6.piston Brembo front brakes w/carbon rotors
- Factory 2003 Ford F-150 Lightning rear disc brakes
- Tanks, Inc. EFI fuel tank
Wheels & Tires
- 22×9 and 22×10 custom-built 2-piece wheels
- 265/35ZR22 and 285/35ZR22 Toyo Proxes Sport tires
Engine & Drivetrain
- 2003 Ford F-150 Lightning 5.4L engine swap (factory supercharged)
- Holley Terminator X ECU
- Outkast AutoWorks engine mounts
- Pacesetter 1 7/8-inch headers
- Bassani 3-inch exhaust
- Tremec TR-3650 5-speed transmission
- McLeod Racing flywheel and clutch
- Driveshaft Pros driveshaft
- 3.73 limited slip differential
Body & Paint
- Valspar Ford Velocity Blue paint and PPG clearcoat by One Stop Paint Shop
- Blacked-out trim
- Upcarparts LED lighting throughout body and interior
- Custom Stranger SVT badging
Interior & Stereo
- Modified 2019 Ford Mustang bucket seats upholstered w/brown distressed leather and suede by Medina’s Upholstery
- Custom door panels by Medina’s Upholstery
- Ron Francis Express wiring kit
- Tilton pedal set with brake master cylinder
- Dakota Digital RTX gauges
- NRG Classic 380mm Stealth steering wheel
- Vintage Air A/C system
- Alpine single-DIN head unit