Steve Temple
February 23, 2007
A modern-day muscle truck meets old-school muscle on a back highway in California. Hulst Customs is responsible for building the '07 F-350 dualie for dual purposes-towing and performance.

If you want to see how far we've come with Ford performance trucks, just look back a few years to the so-called "golden era" of musclecars. You'll discover this remarkable fact: A modern truck weighing four times as much and powered by a smaller, turbocharged diesel can be just as quick on the dragstrip as some of those famous musclecars from the '60s.

Taking a look at one car in particular, Blue Oval enthusiasts are already familiar with the tale of that wily chicken farmer and racecar driver from Texas named Carroll Shelby who wrangled a deal between Ford Motor Company and AC Cars Shelby, a self-described "guano distributor," convinced Ford to give him a then-new 260-cube V-8, claiming he had secured the U.S. rights to build AC Cars' roadster. At the same time-virtually out of the other side of his mouth-he told the Brits he had a new engine ready to be installed in their chassis. While neither assertion was technically true at the time, Shelby forged ahead anyway and managed to create what is arguably one of the most significant sports cars of the last century: the Shelby Cobra.

Moving ahead to the 21st century, while trucks now outsell cars by a large margin, musclecars are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. As an offshoot of these two trends, there's a fast-growing interest in diesel-truck performance.

Given the emergence of the diesel-powered "muscle truck," it's altogether fitting that Hulst Customs' '07 F-350 Super Duty Super Crew dualie pays tribute to Shelby's reptilian sports car. But the Striker, as Hulst calls it, is not just a styling statement. As noted at the outset, a properly equipped diesel pickup can best the dragstrip times of some '60s-era musclecars (running on a road course is another matter, of course). It's an astounding fact considering a Super Duty tips the scales at nearly 4 tons-it far outweighs even the heaviest musclecars of yesteryear. Couple that to the fact that today's diesel engines are way smaller than the big-blocks of the foregone generation of factory hot rods yet still make more power using diesel fuel instead of gasoline, and it's no wonder diesel power dominates in the Super Duty class.

Hulst Customs' inspiration for this performance pickup project started with a Cobra replica Jason Hulst built with his father, Paul, at Dad's street-rod shop, Hulst Customs. The color scheme was similar to the one shown here, and under the hood was a gasoline-fueled, Ford 351W V-8.

Having built a number of other Ford project vehicles, the Hulst father-and-son team felt comfortable tapping into the Ford Racing heritage to create a high-performance F-350. Not only does it have the aggressive skunk stripe and side pipes of a Cobra, but it also has the stones to back it up.

The intense, three-month buildup included extensive massaging on the bodywork, suspension, and engine bay. Jason Hulst crafted the hoodscoop and redesigned the front fascia, which is shaped from foam and fiberglass. (An aftermarket body-conversion kit is in the works.) Clearance lights on the roof were shaped and cast in-house as well.