DelFAB’s Retro Inspired, Free Wheeling 2023 F-350 

Not all truck builds are quite the same. Sometimes, the desired result is an obvious full-blown custom creation; other times, the truck is designed to be a little more subtle. For the sake of sparking discussion, it’s safe to say that this 2023 Ford F-350 Super Duty rides the line of both worlds but slightly teeters toward the latter category. At first take, most onlookers might only see a brand-new truck with a big lift and a few accessories hanging off it—fair enough. Those who really do know their Ford trucks and can differentiate between Ford’s modern trim packages represent the slim segment of enthusiasts who understand that this truck, in this form, should not even exist. 

Not Good Enough

To break things down, let’s focus on properties of this truck that can be easily overlooked. First, it’s a two-door standard cab F-350 with a full Platinum trim, which are two options that are never offered together from Ford. A crew cab configuration is all you’re going to get at the Platinum level, which is just fine for 98% of those looking to buy one. That estimation was left with a narrow window open for Ford fanatics like Kyle Delfel of Snohomish, Washington, who have very stringent preferences. Kyle runs his shop DelFAB where he spends a great deal of his time building trucks that meet his visions. When it came time to do something with his 2023 F-350, he wanted to create a throwback retro feel while still embracing every single modern amenity that comes with the Platinum trim package. The only hurdle that stood in his way is that he was dead set on transferring everything possible from his crew cab into a two-door configuration. It was at this point when the plot significantly thickened.

…this truck, in this form, should not even exist.

Kyle is an admitted fan of the free-wheeling-style Ford Highboy trucks of the 1970s—but honestly, who isn’t? They were great-looking trucks designed for the times. Kyle’s obsession for these trucks might shoot a few levels past “fanatic” though, which thankfully makes things much more interesting for everyone. To create the modern two-door Highboy of his dreams, he had to do some careful planning and spend a lot of money to purchase not only one new Platinum edition F-350 pickup just to have all the components included in the trim level, but also two other Ford Super Duty pickups to give him the cab, bed, and chassis, among other items he would need to pull off a successful transformation. Sure, it was a big investment to make, but the project was something Kyle just had to see come to life with his own eyes.

Gettin’ High

The foundation of any project is the frame, so Kyle began outfitting the factory chassis he had with an adjustable 7-to-9-inch lift kit from One Up Offroad. The kit is comprised of everything necessary to give the truck a commanding stance using components that work harmoniously together for the purpose of providing surprisingly excellent ride quality—especially for a lift of this stature.

When it came time to do something with his 2023 F-350, he wanted to create a throwback retro feel while still embracing every single modern amenity that comes with the Platinum trim package.”

The entire front-to-rear suspension package was installed and test fit, and once Kyle was happy with how it all went together, the entire chassis, including every single bolt and bracket, was blown apart and sent to Powdercoating Inc. in Mukilteo, Washington, for a black and chrome two-tone finish. The reassembly process was smooth and satisfying, especially after the inclusion of the 20×12 American Force Ridge CC wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson Baja Legend MTZ rubber. With a heavily upgraded chassis now ready to roll, Kyle was then able to move on to the next phase of the project, which was arguably the most important.

Cab Swap

The crew cab F-350 Platinum that Kyle purchased for the build was merely a donor truck if you can wrap your head around that! It was destined to be pulled apart well before his signature on the dealership papers even dried. Everything except for the factory rear bench seat was utilized only because it didn’t quite fit into the standard cab.

The process was painstakingly difficult to accomplish, but the overall fit and finish looks just like it should from the factory. Not only do the seats, dash, and infotainment screen look like they belong in the two-door cab, but every beep and ding function within the interior work just as they should, when they should.

…Kyle began outfitting the factory chassis he had with an adjustable 7-to-9-inch lift kit from One Up Offroad.

The only giveaway that something is a bit out of place is on the gauge cluster. The digital readout displays an interior configuration that shows a rear seating layout, but it doesn’t seem to bug Kyle much, which is really saying a lot.

Vintage Platinum 

With the cab conversion well taken care of, it was finally time to address the F-350’s exterior. This project was a bucket-list-level build for Kyle, and he truly wanted to see what a modernized free-wheeling-packaged Ford Highboy could look like. Of course, the incorporation of free-wheeling-inspired graphics was a given. Ardor Printing, also located in Snohomish, was asked to apply the high-vis gradient 3M chromatic film to both sides of the F-350, which elevated the factory black paint dramatically. To further push the retro styling of the new truck, a newly developed lightbar from KC HiLiTES gives the front end instant throwback appeal.

…the entire chassis, including every single bolt and bracket, was blown apart and sent to Powdercoating Inc.

A few custom touches were made by smoothing and painting the sidestep pocket, and then positioning the actual step upward and inward to make it less noticeable. The same smooth-and-paint treatment was given to the corner step on the rear bumper to blend it in as much as possible, and the running boards were shortened for the same reason. Aside from those custom accoutrements, there are plenty of high-end Platinum options present including the keyless entry handle, LED taillights, power tailgate, and all the badging that demarcates the truck from other trim levels.

It’s hard to gauge just how much time was required to complete this build from start to finish. If Kyle wouldn’t have disclosed his actual timeframe of finishing it in just two months to make the SEMA ’23 deadline, it would have been reasonable to assume that he spent at least three to four times that amount. Tremendous disassembly work and time spent piecing things back together between three different trucks to get just this one up and running really took a toll on Kyle, but seeing it through was well worth the backaches and trouble.

Not only do the seats, dash and infotainment screen look like they belong in the 2-door cab, but every beep and ding function within the interior work just as they should, when they should.

At the end of the day, his F-350 sits largely in stock condition, which is a larger feat than going full custom for what it was intended to be—don’t be mistaken! Even though one could outfit a XLT trim single cab to make it look the part, it wouldn’t have the functions of a true Platinum edition truck. That’s what it all comes down to, and what truly divides Kyle’s F-350 from any other would-be pretender out there.

This project was a bucket-list-level build for Kyle, and he truly wanted to see what a modernized free wheeling packaged Ford Highboy could look like.”

Aside from those custom accoutrements, there are plenty of high-end Platinum options present including the keyless entry handle, LED taillights, power tailgate, and all the badging that demarcates the truck from other trim levels.”

TRUCK Specs

Kyle Delfel 

2023 Ford F-350
Snohomish, WA

Engine/Drivetrain 

Stock 6.7L HO diesel

Chassis & Suspension

Shop: DelFAB, Snohomish, WA
One Up Offroad 9-inch adjustable lift kit including front radium arm, rear leaf springs, shocks and springs, steering stabilizer
OEM FX4 skid plates
Entire chassis refinished in Stealth Charcoal and Super Chrome Plus Prismatic powdercoat by Powdercoating Inc., Mukilteo, WA

Wheels, Tires & Brakes

20×12 American Force Ridge CC wheels
40×13.50R20 Mickey Thompson Baja Legend MTZ tires

Body & Paint 

High-vis 3M chromatic wrap by Ardor Printing, Snohomish, WA
Color matched bumper steps and tucked bed steps
Custom B-pillar trim replicated to match OEM Platinum trim
Ford F-450 grille w/ custom in-house overlay to model 1979 F350 styling
KC HiLiTES Cyclone rock lights, Pro 6 lightbar and bumper-mounted fog lights
Warn Factor 55 UltraHook winch

Interior & Stereo

Crew cab Platinum package custom fit for standard cab
Center seat belt delete
All platinum features fitted to two-door cab w full function and zero trouble codes

 

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