Fabricating the Heart and Soul of a Predator
LUKASZ GRANICY (PRONOUNCED LU-KAZie) has eaten, slept and breathed every aspect of custom vehicles since he was a boy growing up in Lancaster, California. His father had been an award-winning customizer since the ’60s, and Lukasz benefitted from watching and learning from his dad. Lukasz has also had the opportunity to work alongside hot rod greats like Gene Winfield, where he learned and excelled in the arts of metal fabrication, welding, paint and bodywork. In 2000, Lukasz started his own fabrication shop, Needfulthingz Hot Rods, where he’s been building knockout vehicles of all kinds from the ground up while keeping his finger on the pulse of the Southern California custom scene.
Throughout the years Lukasz has signed his name to numerous high-profile builds for a list of clientele that has come to bank on the level of quality he delivers. In 2014, Chris Beatty, also of Lancaster, approached Lukasz to build his holy grail ’55 Ford F-100 project. Chris wasn’t after a simple restoration job; he wanted something with more substance, a classic pickup that not only captured the true soul of a vintage American truck, but one that featured all of the conveniences of a modern-day street rod with a unique twist unlike anything else on the show circuit. The Coyote F-100 seen here is the direct product of Lukasz’s hours of tireless research and development. The ’55 was a platform to exercise his tried-and-true fabrication methods while he pushed his boundaries beyond anything he’d ever built before.
Simply creating a visually impressive truck that shines bright and sits low wasn’t going to cut it. Lukasz and Chris put a plan into action to build a truck that hit the marks of a true resto-mod/pro-touring pickup with a one-off bed and all of the premium bells and whistles. Chris, being a craftsman in his own right, could envision all of the ideas Lukasz was sending his way, which contributed significantly to the build’s success.
From the beginning, a 5.0L Ford Racing Coyote engine was a top priority. The guys wanted the truck to generate raw speed with the aggressive prowess that Wile E. Coyote could only have imagined in his effort to catch the Roadrunner. To capitalize on the Coyote engine’s powerful abilities, Lukasz worked a Kenne Bell 3.2 supercharged blower into the equation, as well as an AEM Infinity standalone engine management system to dial it all in. Magnaflow headers and a custom 3-inch exhaust system were engineered to hug the truck’s custom frame (which we will touch on in a minute) to generate an intimidating growl.
Aside from having a truck built for speed, Chris also wanted his F-100 to sit as low to the ground as possible, while maintaining enough agility to harness the power output of the Coyote engine. In order to build a suspension system that could deliver, Lukasz began by first building a customboxed and Z’d frame as a foundation for the chassis setup. From there, a Mustang II front clip and rear upside down triangulated 4-link, complete with an adjustable weight cantilever distribution, were introduced to the new frame. Fox shocks assist in softening the blows from the road, and AccuAir air management helps orchestrate the air ride system consisting of top-shelf wares like the Slam Specialties ’bags and air manifold and dual Air Zenith air compressors. As far as rolling gear for the chassis, Lukasz felt it necessary to stick with reasonable wheel diameters for the Intro wheels in front, but he did splurge a bit with the 15-inchwide rear wheels. That’s a lot of meat for a truck like this to stuff underneath the bed, but he fit them in perfectly.
When it came to the F-100’s exterior, simplicity reigned supreme. Aside from shaving some necessities from the truck’s surface—door handles, rain gutters, vents and emblems—there really hasn’t been much added to the façade. The front grille received a pretty radical restyling, as did the rear, with its molded tailgate and Chevrolet Cobalt taillights frenched into the rear fenders. The real shining beacon on the Ford’s exterior, however, is the amazing bed floor. The contoured bed floor not only features a luxurious combination of walnut and maple, but the entire floor lifts up via actuator, exposing the powder-coated frame and chassis components. Lukasz wanted to create a one-off bed in the past, and the F-100 was the ideal opportunity to pull out all the stops.
The level of execution did not waver inside the cab. Lukasz crafted a four-point reinforced roll cage to grace the interior space and stuck with the performance theme by incorporating leathercovered Sparco racing seats expertly wrapped by Santos Upholstery. The same walnut and maple used on the bed floor also adorns the cab in the form of a custom center console and door panels that house audio gear and the AccuAir e-Level controller. Oneoff “CB” (for owner Chris Beatty) monogrammed material wraps the door panel and headliner for a subtle, personalized touch. The plush confines of the interior complement the rest of the truck’s streamlined yet highly modified style.
One theme that the truck has going for it is the use of the letter “W” throughout. There is a “W” emblem in the front grille, under the bed floor and on the seats, as well as layered in the monogrammed material used in the interior. The “W” represents Wile E. Coyote because Lukasz imagined the truck had been built like Wile E. would have wanted it to best the Roadrunner. It’s been decked out with high-performance products that promote sheer power and superior handling. All other upgrades can be chalked up to the pure style and grace of a sophisticated predator on the prowl.
Keep your eyes open at shows or on the road this summer because The Coyote will be making its rounds. As for Lukasz, he has enjoyed creating another custom vehicle that has been well received by its owner and the general truck-loving public. Make sure to follow the Needfulthingz shop account on your social media outlet of choice to see what he builds next. Whatever it is, it’s sure to be killer.F100