This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue.
When Virginia Kutsop was born, she was brought home from the hospital in the family 1995 Ford F350 7.3L. Thanks to her father, she’s been around diesels from then on.
“It’s been in my blood since day one!” Virginia quips.
Having grown up around Fords ensured that when she was ready to start building her own dream truck years later, she knew just what to hunt for.
“I’ve always loved the older body style Fords,” she admits.
Virginia found what she was looking for in a 1993 F150—not her dream truck, but the clay on the potter’s wheel that would enable this Frenchtown, N. J., girl to put her plans into motion. She was ready to go the hard route and make this build into the perfect “F150” from the ground up. Why the quote marks, you may ask? You’ll see…
Virginia and her best friend Izzy Nieves spent months tracking down the right engine to place inside. She knew what she was looking for the moment she saw it—a 1996 5.9L 12-valve P-Pumped Cummins.
“I always loved being different,” she grins. “Next we searched for an as-rust-free-as-possible F350 frame with Dana 60 axles and we found one!”
Virginia and Izzy got right to work, stripping the cab and bed on the F150 and following up with some sandblasting and new paint for the F350 frame. They dropped the Cummins in and Virginia was ready to turn her attention to the next set of modifications.
Going All In
She upgraded to 4.11 gears with a Sterling 10.25-inch rear axle and invested in a Stage 3 2000 Ford Power Stroke 4R100 transmission. Virginia went all-out here, including a stand-alone computer, upgraded transfer case, Billet converter, Billet input/output shafts, and upgraded steel gears, clutches and sun shell. Next, the duo installed an improved valve body, modified fuel plate, and advanced the timing for better fuel economy. A new cold air intake and Mishimoto radiator and intercooler upgraded this truck’s cooling performance. With the additional AirDog II 4G 165 fuel pump and Wicked Wheel turbo, this truck’s power-to-weight ratio was getting ramped up.
Virginia also invested in a custom front and rear drive shaft and an eye-catching eight-inch lift on 37s with Fuel Hostage wheels. A 2008 6.4L bumper, roll pan, custom one-piece Flip Em’ Up Customs grille, massive ten-inch exhaust tip, and—last but not least—Dodge tow mirrors all touched up this truck’s old body style look with clean lines and added to that unique flair she was hunting for all along.
Hitting The Road
At this point, Virginia was officially ready to pull everything together and do the swap.
“In two days the truck was up and running, two days after that the truck was able to drive around the shop and in a week my baby was drivable on the road!” she grins.
This ride was officially ready for a name, and Virginia had no troubles picking one.
“Sally is my truck’s name, after Sally from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ because she was put together with many pieces just like my truck!” she laughs.
Virginia has no regrets with her Fummins so far, though it definitely hasn’t always been a smooth road.
“Being a female in a ‘man’s world,’ I face challenges every day. I’ve struggled a lot with different performance companies because I’ve noticed they treat me differently because I’m a female,” she explains. “The way they speak to me on the phone or even in person, I’m treated like I don’t know what I’m talking about. But it’s extremely entertaining to prove them wrong and make them look like fools. On a funnier note, it’s funny to see the reaction on guys’ faces when I pull up somewhere and hop out of my truck—a lot of the time I get asked if it’s really my truck or if it really has a Cummins in it!”
Of course, there’s always that silver lining.
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This truck is Virginia’s daily driver, but her plans don’t stop there—she intends to slowly and surely transform her Fummins into a complete show truck. And thanks to the support she’s had along the way, she’s more than ready for the ongoing journey.
“My family has been very supportive throughout the journey, especially Izzy, the master mechanic behind the build, and Shannon DeMatteo, who also had a significant part in the build. Not to mention the love and support from Sam Rivera and Sarah Turner from Klean Society who have whole-heartedly supported me even before the build,” Virginia shares. “I’ve honestly been so lucky to have so much encouragement throughout this journey because it’s been a bumpy road and I couldn’t do it without them. Whether it’s people I personally know or not, they support Sally and me.”
Work In Progress
Of course, even though she’s in love with her truck as it is, there are some future design tweaks she’s planning on. Bigger injectors, a compound turbo setup, new paint, minor body work, and some more tweaks to the engine round out her future plans for this baby. After all, it’s hard, if not impossible, for a diesel-lover to stop while they’re ahead. As Virginia likes to put it, “Never give up because someone doesn't like your build. Build your dreams higher than their expectations will ever be!”
AirDog Fuel Systems
Flip Em’ Up Customs
Fuel Off Road Inc