There is something to be said about someone’s passion for their craft, whether it is painting landscapes or building a perfect F150; the attention to detail put into a project makes the outcome so unique, and the amount of passion can be seen as a result. This 1995 Ford F150 Prerunner is no exception; it results from a complete frame-off restoration in Gary Oliver’s pursuit to build a bespoke truck utilizing bolt-on parts from Desolate Motorsports. We met up with Gary in an unorthodox location in the majestic flowing river of Los Angles to check project F169 for ourselves – it was worth it. The views were stunning… the views of the F150, that is.
The old body style Ford trucks or OBS have gone from America’s workhorse to gain ultimate classic status in recent years. For a good reason, they have a timeless classic design that has only aged like a fine wine, and this is a part of the reason that attracted Gary to build it in the first place. Gary and his partner Greg Gilbert run Desolate Motorsports in Santa Fe Springs, California, and specialize in building off-road components for primarily Broncos. They have built several builds from mild to wild luxury prerunners; they provide components for everyone’s budget.
Years ago, Gary built a race truck for himself and taught himself everything he knew regarding fabrication along the way. Eventually, he would sell the race truck; meanwhile, Gary continued building incredible trucks with his partner Greg at Desolate Motorsports over the last eight years. Having so much experience with the OBS platform when it came to figuring out what he wanted to build, it was a no-brainer F150. He wanted to use this truck as an opportunity to really push the boundaries of what their company is capable of using all the bolt-on parts possible while paying attention to every detail along the way. Thus project F169 was born.
Starting with a stock 1995 F150 4wd truck, he completely tore it all the way down to the bare frame to start the restoration and build. Gary always wanted a short bed F150, so he shortened the bed by 8 inches by cutting the frame and moving the rear axle forward. Then had the bed sprayed in Line X for rigidity and durability. But although the bed has been shortened, it seemingly fits perfectly. A fuel filler was mounted on the inside of the bed for a completely smooth bedside.
The F169 retains the same low mileage Ford 351 engine and a newly upholstered interior. All the original wiring harness has been gone through, and the old dried-out rubber fuel and brake lines have been replaced with hard stainless lines for redundancy. All new door seals and rubber trim have been replaced, and even the front grille and headlights are new.
Now we get to the goods: the suspension. Gary outfitted the truck with Desolate Motorsports Stage 4 4.5inch 4wd twin traction beam kit attached to King Racing Coilovers, suitable for a smooth 19 inches of wheel travel. In the rear, there is a Camburg Off-road Trophy Truck rear end in Deaver Q80 leaf springs pulling 18 inches of wheel travel.
To top it off, the polished forged KMC wheels on the 37 inch General Grabbers and the KC Lights give it a look that is almost an era-specific tribute to what this truck would have looked like had it been built 20 years ago when new. Besides the red paint, the massive lights and polished wheels tie in the build as a cohesive overall design.
The goal of the truck was to build the cleanest OBS truck possible while showcasing the craftmanship of his business’s suspension components. Almost everything on the truck has been powder coated and is a complete bolt-on.
It is the attention to detail and simplicity that really bring this truck together. The F169 is Gary’s dream truck, and he set out to build his interpretation of an OBS prerunner. Did he do it? He absolutely knocked it out of the park on this one, and the passion that went into it is evident in itself. Had this not been a frame-off restoration and without the level of detail put into it – it would not have been as impactful.
Chassis: 1995 Ford F-150 4×4 short bed w/ wheelbase shortened an extra 8”
Weight: 5500 lbs
Engine: Ford 351w
Cooling: Factory Ford cooling system w/ Derale electric fan conversion
Brakes: Front- Willwood 6 piston calipers w/ 14” rotors. Rear- Willwood 4 piston calipers w/ 13” rotors
Lights: KC Hilites
Exhaust: Full custom stainless exhaust w/ Magnaflow muffler
Transmission: E4OD w/ punisher valve body and Borg Warner 1356 manual transfer case
Tire: 37x 12.50x 17 General Grabber X3’s
Wheels: KMC KM444 Forged beadlocks. Ceramic polished with powder-coated rings
Front suspension: Desolate Motorsports full Stage 4 Extended Twin traction beams w/ Crossover steering and ram assist utilizing a King 3.0x 12” race series coil-over w/ hydraulic 2.5” bump stops
Rear Suspension: Desolate Motorsports complete long-travel leaf spring package w/ custom shock tower utilizing King 3.0x 14” travel 4 tube bypasses and a Camburg racing 4” TT rear end