This article originally featured in the September 2022 issue.
Chris Nelson is the founder of Headlight Revolution and has been reviewing, testing, and teaching people about lighting for their vehicles for a decade. He has done a lot of collaborations with Morimoto for the last six years. Consequently, Chris’s 2021 Ford F450 Super Duty has been completely modded from top to bottom with Morimoto lights.
His dad used to teach high performance automotive engine rebuilding at a college, basically race car engine building, so he got into cars and trucks at an early age. And when asked how he got into diesel trucks in particular, he said he got his first 3/4 ton gas truck and it just didn't cut it, so he upgraded to a diesel 2017 F350 and it was a complete game changer. He could pull anything with ease, and the stability and comfort of the power and control sold him.
“I also love the fact that my truck has a thousand ft/lbs of torque! It feels good to know I have something so incredibly capable and ready to go at a moment's notice.”
But this story doesn’t begin with the 2021 F450 as aforementioned—it actually began because of another truck. Chris had a 2017 F350 that had been wrapped in white and orange splatter designed vinyl for Headlight Revolution, but this truck has ended up being the press and event truck for HR to either showcase what they do, sell stuff, or support dealers. So when he got rid of his 2017, Chris went back to a smaller truck, a GMC Denali 1500.
“It was a nice truck but I really missed the capability of a Super Duty. I think off the bumper I can pull 24,000 pounds, and like 37,000 pounds on a gooseneck. Living in Atlanta, I don’t [need] a truck like the one I have now all the time, but I do haul stuff from time to time,” Chris explained.
“I remember the first Morimoto XB prototype headlights I got back in the day,” Chris recalled when talking about his long history with the lighting company.
Chris certainly knows just about everything there is to know about lighting, being one of the greatest light specialists not only as the founder of Headlight Revolution where you can find just about anything you could ever want or need to find, but he also runs the Headlight Revolution YouTube channel with more than 230,000 subscribers where he tells you everything you could possibly need to know about vehicle lighting. So when someone like Chris puts as much stock into another lighting company like Morimoto, it’s safe to assume there might be something worthwhile about the company.
“I’m happy to tell you they are way brighter than even the factory LED headlights,” Chris remarked about Morimoto’s lights.
On his truck, Chris has the Morimoto 4Banger A-Pillar kit with a yellow combo beam pattern so that he has an appropriate extra high beam when he needs more light while driving down the road. He has a KC HiLiTES Pro6 light bar because it doesn’t look like a traditional light bar and has a huge beam pattern whereas many light bars have short beam patterns. There are two yellow and one white Morimoto 4Banger lights on each side of the headache rack, Profile Performance waterproof LED flexible strips creatively wrapped around the perimeter of the inside of the grill to have some grill glow while maintaining a clean and neat remote profile, PROFILE PERFORMANCE rock lights, and Morimoto XB LF508 quad projector headlights with the white daytime running light.
Lights aren’t where the upgrades on this truck end. Though he hasn’t done a lot in terms of horsepower and torque upgrades, he did do a full intake replacement from aFe Power. The truck also has a ReadyLIFT 3.5-inch suspension.
“I went with just a three and a half lift because I think a six-inch is too big for what’s essentially a normal truck.”
When he found his 2021 F450, it was built by APG Customs and it had chrome 26-inch wheels. But Chris is more of a blackout guy so he switched it up to keep a gray and black color scheme to the whole truck. But he removed all of the chrome from front to back, and replaced the wheels with 26-inch black American Force Dually wheels. And with the blackout design, he also added an aggressive-looking black Honey Badger Chase Rack from Addictive Desert Designs—something that he had and loved from his 2017 Headlight Revolution Super Duty—that gives the truck an intimidating look that you don’t see too often. Even the Morimoto headlights are black.
“The black Morimoto headlights were one of the first things I had done to the truck, and seeing the black headlight on a truck with a bunch of chrome accents was like, ‘Well now I have to black it out, right?’” Chris remarked about the inspiration for his blackout truck.
But the blackout theme also stems from Chris’s idea that this isn’t really supposed to be a showroom truck.
“This is never going to be a SEMA build. I want to actually use it for things and not be thinking about how the chrome on my undercarriage is getting dirty.”
For the most part, the inside of this Super Duty is just like any other, but there are some unique features that make it stand out to a discerning eye. With the Limited, there are some different interior options like the leather, stitching, some of the plastic trim and other materials. The incredibly comfortable seats are the Limited cream white leather with matching stitching that comes with a chrome limited badge up top, and each seat is fully equipped with heating, cooling, and even massaging.
The different plastic trim pieces on the dash have a dark gray brushed aluminum look, and everything else is dark gray wood grain to match. But there’s a cool limited badge on the center console with the truck’s VIN number, which is something Chris has never seen before on a regular vehicle like his Ford Super Duty as usually this cool little detail is on limited edition sports cars.
“The fact that it is on my truck is kind of cool,” Chris said.
But somehow the center console gets even cooler. From Ford, with their logo and everything on it, this truck has a center console gun safe.
Two other mods that Chris has added to the truck’s interior are the Bulletpoint Mounting Solutions kit designed for the truck to hold his phone and his passenger’s phone, and right above that, he has an ESCORT passport radar detector. And last but not least, this truck has a full panoramic glass sunroof ceiling, something that is a definite luxury for a truck.
“This truck is missing nothing! It’s a breeze to drive, it looks awesome, it can do almost anything I want it to do, and I can do it in luxurious comfort!”
Chris is currently researching tuners, and is actually open to taking any suggestions or input on ideas.
“I haven’t decided which one to go with because a lot of them deal with emissions and stuff like that. I’m not sure if I want to do that to this truck.”
He has also been thinking about an exhaust system, and he thinks that’s probably as far as he’ll take the truck for horsepower.
And to stay true to his reputation as the lighting king, Chris is trying to decide if he should add rock lights from PROFILE PERFORMANCE or if he should build his own with Headlight Revolution and go overboard with 20 rock lights or if he should do the vehicle-specific Super Duty kit, and he is also considering swapping out his headlights with the Morimoto Amber DRL headlights.
Addictive Desert Designs