At 45 years old, Damon Flippo is no stranger to the world of custom trucks. According to Damon he’s been involved with mini-trucks since the early days of the ’80s. He’s since moved on to bigger metal throughout the years, rotating through several lifted trucks, dually and, as a professional truck driver, a couple of long-haul rigs in and out of his stable of trucks. Taken by the potential of the custom truck industry, Damon quit a successful motorsports marketing and events career at Rigid Industries four years ago to pursue custom truck building full-time. Launching Flippobuilt Motorsports & Marketing in 2014, “I now work with some of the greatest athletes and celebrities in the industry. I supervise, design and build custom rides for SEMA industry events, and I work with companies to help them get staff and product introduced into the many areas of this industry.”
One of Damon’s first projects at the helm of his new venture was Project Jarhead, an ’11 F-350 dually built as a rolling tribute to the United States Marine Corps and all those who’ve served our country. Having served with the Marines himself from 1989 to 1992 as an MOS 0311 Rifleman, Damon was familiar with the heritage and sense of honor that the Marine Corps stand for. Given this awareness, he felt it was his duty to keep that tradition alive by showcasing its history on his build. CR Designs airbrushed iconic Marine imagery on the white panels, and he took those elements to the next level when designing the theme for the truck.
“It is my second SEMA dually build,” Damon explains. “I tested the limits of my abilities, and I built the truck as a testament to my belief in America and how we need to stand together.”
The Build Begins
Damon’s motivation to begin this project literally stems from his car club, Relaxed Atmosphere, a nationwide collection of people who have a passion for all manner of cars, from classic trailer queens to modern street machines. About four years ago, a member of the Tennessee chapter offered this green dually up for sale, and Damon snapped it up. “After having done a few lowered duallys over the years, I knew this truck was the one.”
Once the truck was shipped the 2,000 miles to Gilbert, Arizona, work began immediately by tearing the whole truck apart. Originally, the ’01 F-350 was green, which just happens to be Damon’s favorite color, but it wasn’t green enough. Plus, after 14 years in the humid South, not only did the paint need sprucing up, but the interior needed a full restoration. Damon’s paint and body team, headed by Chad Ricco, suggested changing it from a candy apple green to something with factory specs. After pouring over countless paint choices, they landed on Synergy Green, a vibrant hue found on the palette for the latest generation of Camaros. When the bodywork began, so did efforts underneath the truck.
Though the frame remained as Ford designed and built it—with the exception of some additional box and bridge work—energies focused on the four corners, the stopping power and where the rubber meets the road.
To drop the dually into the weeds and tuck those wheels and tires deep into the wells, the front and rear suspension bits were replaced with a pair of Peterbilt Air-Spring airbags and a set of Pure Performance Prodigy shocks with smooth bodies for aesthetics. Coupled with these on the rear are custom-made 4-link arms with a pan-hard bar.
American Force provided the wheels, whopping 24-inch bruisers attached to the axles via 10-lug conversion. Made from 6061 forged aluminum, they were given a mirror-like finish and topped off with spiked lug nuts. Six thin-profile tires from Falken finished out the look, providing a delicate stance with an overall appearance of simplicity and reserve.
Under the Hood
Modifications under the hood beyond that of Ford’s designers were sparse. Besides a splash of green to match the overall theme, the only upgrade added was an Advanced Flow Engineering intake. The Momentum HD Pro 10R cold air intake system increases horsepower by around 17, while giving the 7.3L Powerstroke engine another 44 ft-lbs of torque.
The computer was reprogrammed by Pure Addiction Diesel in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company used an SCT Livewire TS+ system. A well-tuned engine using the Livewire TS+ will provide increased horsepower and torque, increased throttle response with firmer shifts and increased fuel mileage without changing the stock emissions system.
Gases exit from under the bed via Magnaflow’s 5-inch stainless exhaust system. The transmission has remained stock, but the rear gear ratio was changed to 4:10.
The hood was swapped out with a raised cowl hood from Reflexxion Automotive in Memphis, Tennessee, while the grille cowling and front bumper were upgraded to a 2006 F-350 model to make way for the Royalty Core grille insert. The Race Line design offers simple black satin powder-coated frame with a mesh diamond screen and triple chrome stainless studs all around. The center design is from Royalty Core’s Innovative grille. Out back, the Extang EnCore tri-fold bed cover is low profile, and its matte finish matches the bed rail caps’ finish. It’s locked using the ignition key via a Bolt Lock.
While the door handles were painted to blend into the green-themed body, the tailgate’s handle, trim and badges were completely sheared off to make way for a Civil War motif expertly airbrushed by CR Design in Phoenix. The whole truck, from stem to stern was painted Synergy Green from the GM line of colors. The Civil War motif is strongest on the hood and the tailgate, where skeletal Civil War soldiers and cavalry airbrushed in grays and blacks are depicted forever fighting a fierce battle.
When the truck was delivered from Tennessee, the entire interior was gutted to make way for Damon’s vision. “I knew what I wanted to do, but instead of a plan, I just winged it.” The carpet and velour headliner are stitched in black, which sets off the gray Roadwire leather seats and custom hydro-dipped dashboard from SBC Hydrographics in Glendale, Arizona.
A Little Larry’s FourPlay controller rests on the center console and activates the airbag system at each corner of the truck. Sound pours out of 12 speakers positioned throughout the cab from a Pioneer head unit, while the wheels are pointed straight via Billet Specialties.
Of course, no project is completed by just one person, and Damon has a host of folks he’s indebted to for help on his latest project, “I’d like to thank my son Justin for working with me on it, and Chad Riccio from CR Designs for the paint and airbrush work, and NY Mike Murray, Justin Rainwater and all my friends from Relaxed Atmosphere.”
The story isn’t over because work on the truck will continue. Damon has plans to update the interior to a 2016 model, add a slew of diesel parts to the 7.3, and then convert the front end to one from a 2016 F-350.
2001 Ford F-350
7.3L Powerstroke V-8
Optima Yellow Top battery
aFe Momentum HD Pro 10R cold air intake system
SCT Livewire TS+ system
Programming by Pure Addiction Diesel
Magnaflow 5-inch stainless exhaust
4:10 rear axle ratio
42-gallon fuel tank
Chassis & Suspension
Peterbilt Spring-Air airbags, front and rear
Pure Performance Prodigy smooth body shocks, front and rear
Custom 4-link suspension with pan-hard rod
Wheels & Tires
24×8.5-inch American Force Bruisers with 10-lug conversion and spiked lug bolts
Body & Paint
Extang EnCore tri-fold bed cover
Reflexxion Automotive raised cowl hood
Royalty Core Race Line grille insert
Synergy Green paint and airbrushed graphics applied by CR Designs
Interior & Stereo
Little Larry’s FourPlay controller
Pioneer head unit and 12-speaker system
Roadwire leather seats
SBC Hydrographics hydro-dipped dashboard
Billet Specialties steering wheel
With the Peterbilt airbags on both axles and Little Larry’s FourPlay controller at Damon’s fingertips, the F-350 can ease itself gently into a low stance at a moment’s notice.
Though the 7.3L engine was mostly left alone, a little Synergy Green paint was applied to fit the motif, as was an upgraded ECM programmer and the air intake system.
Seemingly locked forever in a cavalry charge, CR Designs painstakingly airbrushed a series of Civil War designs on the shaved tailgate and hood.