Three Shops, Big Money and Road Blocks Galore Made Building This Ford an Adventure
YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR IN THIS WORLD. This statement is true with a lot of things in life, but sometimes in the realm of custom trucks things are not always as they seem. A builder can have a shop packed with all of the latest state-of-the-art tools and equipment, but if he and his crew don’t know how to use them, then chances are most of the projects that roll through the shop will never get finished, and even if they do the work will be shabby at best.
We have heard the story of the enthusiast who took their project somewhere to have a certain modification or modifications performed, dropping considerable cash to achieve their custom dreams, only to be led astray by a builder who “looked” like they could pull it off. Chris “Big Body” Tisdale of Lebanon, Tennessee, learned this the hard way after trusting his ’98 Ford F-150 to a few different shops and coming out with nothing but a negative bank account and sub-par fabrication work. At this point, Chris was no doubt frustrated but saw radical custom potential in the truck and found a shop he could trust with it.
May Lay Customs out of Lebanon sunk their custom teeth into Chris’ Ford and did not loosen their grip until it was bagged, shaved and coated in a bright red basecoat. First, the factory differential was ditched in favor of a ’93 Thunderbird independent rear end mounted under a new rear frame section built from 2 x 3 box tubing. The firewall was tubbed up front for clearance and Firestone 2600 airbags were placed forward and aft and plumbed with 1/2-inch GC valves and 1/2-inch air line. Stuffed inside the front and rear fender wells are 22-inch Panther chrome rollers mounted on P265/35ZR22 Pirelli rubber. The gas tank was sectioned for additional clearance when the switches are tapped, and the frame rails are dropped firmly on the tarmac. With the suspension in check and the ‘rails planted, Chad Oliver and Caleb Meyers at May Lay Customs got busy chiseling the body into a smooth and well-rounded rolling custom sculpture.
Redefining the exterior of Chris’ F-150 is a Street Scene Cobra style hood and smooth front bumper with billet Trenz grille and bumper insert. A Grant Kustoms roll pan and tailgate skin combo and Grant taillight fillers finished off with ’39 Ford Devil taillights round out the backside modifications, while the Blue Oval’s mid section was cleaned up by shaving the door handles, key locks, wiper cowl, gas door, and antenna. After the metal mods were sealed, the truck was coated front to back and roof to rocker in Matrix System Jaguar Red by Chad and Caleb of May Lay Customs and color-sanded and rubbed to a fine shine.
CHRIS “BIG BODY” TISDALE SUCCESSFULLY OVERCAME THE OBSTACLES HE ENCOUNTERED WHILE BUILDING THIS SMOOTH F-150, AND ENJOYS ATTENDING NUMEROUS SHOWS…”
Now that the truck was drenched in a retina-burning red topcoat, Chris trailered it back to his work, Superior Coach, to perform the interior work. Chris has some stitching talent and sewed the retro-styled interior. Operating Big Body’s Custom Interiors in his spare time, Chris’ boss graciously allows him some shop time after hours to do side job interior work. The factory bench was covered in red suede and white leather, while the dash was smoothed and covered in white liquid for a retro appeal. A Billet Specialties steering wheel and a white face Nu Image gauge cluster add style, while the door panels wear swirled aluminum panels, a plethora of paint and some extra red suede. A swirled aluminum panel under the radio holds the classic styled switches for the air suspension.
Chris “Big Body” Tisdale successfully overcame the obstacles he encountered while building this smooth F-150, and enjoys attending numerous shows throughout the year with his club Severed Ties. Chris’ advice is to look over a shop carefully before you leave your pride and joy in their hands. Luckily, “Red Rocket” turned out amazing and has been turning heads wherever it is shown. It just goes to show how powerful dreams can be. ST