In 2020 we wrote about this amazing 1977 Ford pickup that was combined with a Lexus LS400. The Ford retained its frame, sheet metal and other parts, but the entire drivetrain and even the interior were harvested from the Japanese sedan. The truck’s most impressive feature, however, is undoubtedly its rear suspension, which we can finally see working now that the whole project is complete.
The build was completed by Tim Heerboth, who began work on it in 2019. He set out to develop his own pushrod leaf spring rear suspension setup, which he aptly named the “Flexus Cantileafer” system. It’s the kind of creativity you don’t mind exercising when you’re not pressed for time and buying donor vehicles for pennies on the dollar.
“I basically bought the 1977 F100 on the cheap. I ran it. I figured out the transmission only had reverse and the block was so full of lime and corrosion [that] it was not salvageable,” Heerboth said. The reader. “So, [I] had a friend of a friend who had a Lexus LS400 with a title that was triple signed, so [he] was not able to get it legit. I bought it for $600.”
After buying them both, everything started to snowball.
In a nutshell, many of the parts that were faulty on the truck were still good on the Lexus. “We dropped the [Lexus] rear engine and trans [in the truck] the transmission medium was in the same place as the original C4,” Heerboth said. “He literally lined up as expected. “
“The truck [also] had a one-piece driveshaft and the car has a two-piece. When I hooked up to the gearbox, the support bearing was perfectly placed under the rear cabin crossmember, so it was easy to mount,” he continued.
The LS400’s dash also fits nicely inside the Ford’s cabin, and most of the electronic gadgets still work too. “Electric windows, electric heated leather seats, cruise control”, everything is functional. “Even the electrical height adjustment for the shoulder belt works,” Heerboth told me.
He calls the combination of the plush Lexus interior with the rough-looking truck “Rat-Luxe,” which seems fitting. The 1UZ-FE V8 on the front and the ongoing homebrew engineering on the back also give it a special flavor. Find out how the rear suspension works during normal driving:
It’s a bit like a Formula 1 car, except it’s designed and built for a low price. The smartest among you will also have spotted the shocks mounted above the ball joints that run down to the wishbones, an interesting place to mount them. The bed is gone, of course, but look at all this. It’s brilliant.
The leaf springs themselves were originally stock F-100 units, but were replaced with F-150 springs later in the build process. Likewise, the Lowes spec nuts and bolts that Heerboth used to simulate everything were later modified in favor of higher quality replacements. Keep in mind this was all done just to avoid buying new coilovers. The original Lexus struts could not be used as they are 26 inches long and would likely have extended above the bedside tables.
The truck still has a V8, and the addition of chimneys not only simplifies the routing of exhaust gases, but also provides a pleasant sound.
This crazy science experiment of a vehicle currently does everything but gather dust. It’s so nice inside that Heerboth has already covered 400 miles since it was completed. Still, since this is a 1977 Ford pickup on paper, it has historical plates, which makes the whole registration process simple. Even though it wasn’t officially a piece of history according to the state of Missouri, it would still be an amazing build. I’m very excited to see this pandemic-era project finally hit the road in all of its pirated glory.
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