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ROCK’N ROLLER RJ Fabrication Transforms A 1977 Ford F-100 Into A Fully Capable Pre-Runner By Elijah Sanchez Photography by Johnny O, OC Product Photos  The 1977 Ford F-100 was never built with Baja in mind. Though the ’77 F-100 was a best-selling pickup for a good reason, one’s first instinct is not to bring it to a rocky race-course and set it loose. But off-road enthusiast Michael Linares saw a unique opportunity in his ’77 F-series pickup to create a one-of-a-kind pre-runner that could withstand the demands of off-roading. With the expertise of Rob Lindsay, owner of RJ Fabrication, a completely transformed custom truck evolved. RJ Fabrication started building drag race cars in the mid-’90s, clocking in over thirty years of professional experience. That eventually led him to specialize in luxury off-road pre-runners, and after getting a call from Linares to make some changes to the truck after it was damaged, Lindsay completely transformed it into a pre-runner that kept the truck’s original appearance but was upgraded with the best off-road racing components. The truck already had a full-tube pre-runner chassis that was hand-built when Lindsay got it. But he saw some opportunities to make the truck’s overall suspension better than before. He and the team at RJ Fab added new equal-length I-Beams and equal-length swing steering with straight tie rods from 20 Plus Fabrication in Hesperia, CA. New spindles were also added to the front suspension along with 3.0 Fox Factory coil-over, bypass tube shocks. The combination offers 20” of wheel travel. At the rear, a 4” Camburg TT rear axle housing and 60” Camburg links give this part of the suspension a total of 26” of travel. Fox Factory 3.0 bypass shocks are also used here along with Eibach coil springs and T-Beams by 20 Plus Fabrication for greater wheel travel. Wilwood brakes with front and rear 14” discs are at all four corners of the truck and use Coleman front and rear rotors, and GEJ Aircraft brake hoses.  The original 1977 Ford F-100 offered several engine options for better power and efficiency, with the largest engine available at the time being a 460 CID V8, making 220 horsepower. Wanting an engine worthy of a luxury pre-runner, Moruzzi Racing Engines in Banning, CA, provided a serious upgrade with a 427 CID Ford Windsor motor that delivers 525 horsepower and 480 lbs.-ft. of torque. The engine uses a Dart cylinder block with an Eagle crankshaft and Mahle 4.0” diameter pistons. A Competition Cams camshaft and Edelbrock intake with a Holley Terminator fuel injection system provide the engine with plenty of air and fuel to power through the toughest terrain. The exhaust flows out of custom-made tube headers and Magnaflow mufflers that let you know this is a serious off-road truck.  With a more capable engine, RJ Fab upgraded the drivetrain to match. The truck’s original three-speed manual transmission was replaced with a three-speed automatic Ford C-6 transmission and TCI torque converter. Roy Thompkins at ODR added a Gear Works center section that connects the Camburg 45-spline rear axles and 5:43:1 gears mounted to a rear spool. The wheel and tire combination was also upgraded with 40 X 12.5 X 17” BFGoodrich front and rear tires mounted on Method 17” X 9” wheels. Immediately capturing the eye of onlookers is the ’77’s brilliant Viper Red paint, done by Sylvester’s Customs. The truck’s exterior is still recognizable as a classic 1977 pickup with its original cab and front grille, but the rest of it was completely transformed. The fenders were custom made by McQueen Metal Fabrication to allow for the front-end travel and tire clearance when the truck would drive over the most demanding conditions. The McQueen fabricated bedsides were already perfectly matched to the body, but they had to be additionally cut to clear space for the upgraded BFGoodrich tires. To top it all off– literally, an updated McQueen hood with sleek black racing stripes down the center was added.  The interior is fully equipped with pre-runner features and conventional race-oriented necessities. Two PRP seats were covered by Rudy’s Custom Upholstery, with gray/black vinyl and suede for optimum style and comfort. The custom dash and center console are also upholstered and feature a Switch Pro System with Speed Hut and Holley LCQ gauges. RJ Fab also installed a Rugged Radio and intercom equipped with Bluetooth for optimum sound and car-to-car communication on the road, while power comes from two Yellow-Top Optima batteries.  RJ Fab’s vision and execution of this one-of-a-kind pre-runner is nothing less than perfection. The skill and detail put into this truck capture the attention of anyone who sees it and sets the bar high for what can be imagined and achieved in a luxury pre-runner. SJ

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