With the diesel industry growing exponentially, there is an innumerable list of possibilities to where truck owners can take their beloved diesel. Everything from the intricate and hard-working engine parts to the external appearance of a truck is subject to change, upgrade and higher performance. The question eventually leads down to not how far can you take your build, but how far do you want to? For owner Jesse Lakusta and the team at Lacustoms Performance Products in Edmonton, Alberta, overhauling their 2012 Ford F350 was more of an unstoppable impulse, which led to a diesel platform that looks like a show truck and muscles through the mud like a rugged off-road rock crawler. At first glance, it would be easy to mistake this monster as a trailer queen, but looks can be deceiving.
Desire To Be Different
Like most of the trucks that Lacustoms bring into the shop, this one came stock. Each truck is brought in with the intention of becoming a multi-functional platform that is eventually imbued with the necessary power and performance that the team wants, to take on the multiple challenges and stresses the shop requires of them.
“When I bought the truck, it was always my intention of overhauling it to do all sorts of work,” says Lakusta. “We use the truck to haul sleds to the mountains for a hillclimb event. It's also my daily driver, parts truck and does 14.2 seconds in the quarter-mile.”
The motive for this build had several beneficial intentions. Firstly Lacustoms wanted a street legal truck so unique that there wouldn't be anything else like it on the road. This task was easy enough, but there was much more to it than that. Lacustoms is a quickly growing performance and repair shop in Alberta, so to further the shop’s reach and impression, the crew wanted the build to symbolize what Lacustoms was capable of. There are other diesel performance shops in the industry, so creating something appealing, powerful and impressionable was not going to be a simple task. One of the ways they would make sure that this was no ordinary build was to customize the Ford as uniquely as possible. The most important thing the team kept in mind was to keep the truck street legal while doing something that most people do not do. This drove the team to create a truck that had all of the aesthetic beauty of a showroom truck, while simultaneously creating a platform that could handle racing, towing and off-road driving.
“I bought the truck stock, but I knew I wanted to build it to handle everything,” recalls Lakusta. “We do this kind of build everyday, and I wanted everyone to know what we were capable of doing. I've built and owned three other trucks like this, but I've never done this much to one truck.”
The desire to create a legacy for his company ran hot through his veins. The truck was already in the shop, and the fiery ambition for perfection was all the fuel the team at Lacustoms needed to begin.
There are a lot of performance options for diesel platforms. Everything from the fine adjustment of a tuner to the physically significant difference in the suspension. Everyone in the team had seen and installed just about everything that could be installed on a truck. When it finally came time for his build, they decided to go a slightly different route.
“When I started to build on my Ford, I wanted to do something wild. I was tired of the 'plain-Jane' builds,” Lakusta added. “I do a lot of the same work everyday, so I knew what a lot of the trucks in the area looked like. I wanted to do something completely different.”
With the mentality of creating a diesel platform that was unparalleled in both looks and function, the Lacustoms team went to work. Beginning with the suspension, a BDS 8.5-inch long arm suspension lift was added and they raised the body with a 3-inch lift kit. Knowing that the F350 was going to need the control and support for racing and off-road driving, they wrenched in a set of Fox Racing dual shocks and a BDS dual steering stabilizer. When it came time for a fresh set of wheels, the obvious choice was to do something exclusive for the Ford. On the passenger side, they put on a set of 22x14 chrome Fuel Octane's, and on the driver's side, they lugged in a set of 22x14 Fuel Black Maverick's, with Toyo Open Country tires all around. Later, the suspension was powder coated pearl white, and to control and clean the fuel, a FASS fuel system was installed. To finish underneath the truck, they threw in a 5"-inch aFe exhaust system.
With the work done under the truck, the next step was to put in some supplemental performance under the hood of the already powerful engine. To introduce cleaner, richer air, the team installed an aFe Stage 2 cold air intake. To regulate the performance of the engine, they dialed everything in with an H&S Mini Maxx. Feeling satisfied with the performance of the Ford, the only thing left to do was to drastically change the appearance and make this truck stand above the rest.
Making A Statement
It is a simple philosophy at Lacustoms that if you really want a truck to stand out, you have to make it shine. The original headlights were traded out for a set of high intensity discharge (HID) lamps. Then a 30 inch Rigid light bar was set in, and wrapped up the light show with Recon mirror, third brake and tail lights. But the new shiny set-up wouldn't be complete without something to highlight. Lacustoms decided that there was no better way to showcase what the performance shop was capable of than to vinyl wrap the entire truck with a custom shop design. The Lacustoms logo now boldly stretches along the length of the truck, signaling to any who see it what the shop is all about.
Feeling pleased with all of the hard work, which resulted in a 600hp jack-of-all-trades diesel daily driver, the revolutionized Ford could be taken to the street and shown off. But just as with any starry-eyed diesel enthusiast, the insatiable urge for more kept on calling.
“I like this truck. We take it off-road, to the shows, we race it every other weekend. We do this to let the rest of the world know who we are,” says Lakusta. “I worked on it for just about 12 hours a day, and when I couldn't, another one of the guys here did. But just like the other trucks we've built, we'll probably take it around for a year or so and then get to work on another.”
Lacustoms proudly drives their creation every day, and use it for just about anything they need while on the job. The work that was put into the F-350 is reflected in the eclectic list of capabilities it has. Just like the crew at Lacustoms, the truck is easily able to do anything. Working hard, this one-of-a-kind Ford takes on whatever can be thrown at it and does so with the unique flair and aesthetically-pleasing looks of a show truck. The Lacustoms team goal of creating something original and head-turning led to a diesel daily driver that is sitting pretty and ready for anything. If there's one thing that stands out above everything else, it's that you certainly won't find a truck quite like this one anywhere else on the road today.