Kelderman Air Suspension Systems made Marlins' infielder Wes Helms' dream truck become a reality this past winter with a custom-built black Ford F-250. The 2011 crew cab is an automatic, Power Stroke diesel with a 6-foot short box. Helms had been in communication with Kelderman after seeing numerous features of their builds in various automotive publications and was ready to have a custom truck built.
"I have always wanted a lifted, blacked-out F-250," says Helms. "I had been planning the build with Kelderman for well over a year and decided to finally build one. With the new 2011's coming out, I pre-ordered the truck and drop-shipped it directly to Kelderman."
The truck took approximately two months to complete and it was delivered to Kelderman at the end of October and Wes flew in to pick it up in time for Christmas. Needless to say, he was quite excited when the truck was unveiled to him.
"I was in total shock," recalls Helms. "The pictures just didn't do this truck justice. This thing is awesome!"
Like No Other
Helms chose to have Kelderman customize his truck because its unique design was the only one on the market that would be able to fit his diverse needs. Helms wanted to be able to run 40-inch tires on his Super Duty, but also wanted to be able to drop his truck down for his kids so they can get in and out easily. Kelderman's kit allows his children easy access as the truck is able to lower four inches when the air bags on the truck are completely empty. In addition, he needed his truck to be able to provide enough lift to produce a show-quality truck and Kelderman's lift kits are known for their durability as well as heavy-duty construction. Helms uses his air ride to keep the truck level while towing his Bobcat and tractors.
"This truck isn't just for leisure driving," says Helms. "I need it to work and accomplish all the things I need it to do."
A Personalized Touch
Kelderman is known not only for its durable suspension systems, but also for its personal touches with its builds. As usual, in true Kelderman style, Helms was surprised with several personalized accessories on his new Ford. The personal touches on the blacked out F-250 include items such as custom number 18 shock clamps by Kelderman Manufacturing, custom number 18 tailgate oval by Billet Badges and custom number 18 wheel center caps to match his jersey number that he wears for the Florida Marlins.
Other accessories installed for this project include Fab Fours front & rear bumpers, PML front & rear differential covers and DeaknBuilt pinch weld covers. Custom lighting for the truck was provided by HID headlights built by Imagine Audio, Lightforce HID driving lights, Recon lights tail lights, cab lights, mirrors, domes, etc. Kelderman also used a color-matched T-Rex grille, color-matched Bushwacker fender flares and AMP Research Power Steps to round out the look. A Warn 16.5ti winch and custom trailer hitch keeps this truck not only looking good, but working hard.
In addition to the cosmetics, serious performance parts were installed on Helms' new Ford. Kelderman installed their own 8- to 10-inch air suspension lift kit, AccuAir e-Level Air Management Package with TouchPad interface, Sway-A-Way 2-inch Remote Reservoir and Steering Stabilizer Shocks, 22x11 KMC Monster Wheels with 40x22x15.5 Toyo Open Country M/Ts, 4.54 Axle Ratio and 4-inch black Magnaflow exhaust.
"Working with Wes was a blast," says Mark Stek of Kelderman. "He is a down-to-earth guy that had a vision from the beginning of how he wanted his truck to look and we had a great time building it for him. We loved how the truck turned out and it's always rewarding to see a customer pleased with a finished product."
"Kelderman exceeded my expectations," adds Helms.
Helms was born in Gastonia, N.C., and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves right out of high school in the 10th round of the 1994 amateur draft. He made his Major League Baseball debut with the Braves in 1998 and played for Atlanta in 1998, 2000-2002, the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-2005, the Florida Marlins in 2006, the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, and as an infielder for the Florida Marlins again from 2008 to the present time. His current career batting average is over .250 and he and his wife, Meredith, have two sons, Wes Jr. and Waylon, and one daughter, Stella. Helms is also the nephew of former MLB player Tommy Helms.