Its with a heavy heart that we pay tribute to one of our most iconic builds to date, Project SD126, our go anywhere, desert race themed, short wheelbase Ford Super Duty. Built by the BDS engineering team over the course of about 3 months in late 2017, this truck was overhauled from the ground up to make its debut at the 2017 SEMA Show front and center in Ford’s booth and promote at events across the country over the last year.

The Build

The truck started out as a bone stock, standard cab long bed F250 brought into the shop and completely torn down to just the frame before cutting out 18” of length for a custom standard cab short bed configuration with a super short 126″ wheelbase (aka SD126 or Super Duty 126).

From there the build team fabricated the custom suspension with front BDS 4-link and rear trailing arm setup to mount 14” travel FOX 2.5 DSC coilovers and 3.0 quadruple bypass FOX shocks at each corner to soak up the terrain. Also added were Pac Racing springs and monster sway bars to allow a set of trussed F450 10-lug axles to be bolted under the truck. The 6.7L Powerstroke engine was kept fairly stock with the goal being to maintain 50-state emissions compliance with the DPF intact. A custom Diamond Eye DPF-back exhaust kit was added along with an S&B cold air intake and EZ Lynk auto agent with a custom tune for a bit more power. Power was sent back through the factory 6R140 transmission and 2-speed transfer case to a pair of JE Reel custom drivelines to the front super Dana 60 and rear M300 axles to turn the 42” BFG Baja TA KR2 tires mounted on a set of 20×11 Stazworks Cheyanne 8 2-piece wheels. In place of the stock aluminum body panels we went to McNeil Racing fiberglass fenders and bedsides with a 6″ bulge to give a menacing raptorized appearance. These flares along with the RK Sport ram air hood and Rogue Racing bumpers were all finished in PPG night orange metallic paint laid down by the pros at Butler Body Shop. All the badging was customized and the bed was fitted with a fullsize spare along with a think layer of Line-X. Due to the additional travel from the rear suspension setup the fuel tank was removed in a custom 30 gallon aluminum fuel cell and DEF tank were built, both protected by 3/16” steel skidplates.

As far as the interior and electronics on SD126 this truck had the works with a custom roll bar console with integrated Kicker audio system and a Magellan TRX7 GPS unit on an electric actuator. The factory bench was tossed to make way for a pair of custom PRP enduro recliner seats and 5-point harnesses. The dash was fitted with custom orange accents and the factory upfitter switches were used to control all of the Rigid LED lights and other accessories. Up front a Warn 12,000lb winch and Factor 55 flatlink were bolted on to help with recovery duties and a set of Amp Research power steps were added to make accessing the cab a bit easier. In place of the factory halogen headlights a custom set of laser etched projector units were swapped in from HIDprojectors.com along with smoked cab, mirror and brake lights from Recon. This build was all about the details to create a truly custom, truly unique Ford Super Duty.

See the 5-part build series for a more in depth look at how it came together:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Unveiling

The Promotion

This truck made its debut at the 2017 SEMA Show, front and center in the Ford booth where it received rave reviews from media and show attendees. From there SD126 went on to make appearances at dozens of events around the country to include Chicago Auto Show, 4Wheel Jamborees, Unlimited Offroad Show, Scrapin the Coast, and the Pomona Offroad Expo just to name a few. It made the cover of both Four Wheeler Magazine and Diesel World Magazine, both times with full feature spreads on the truck. It made multiple appearances in other online editorial. With this truck and its connection to Ford through their project vehicle program we had certain display requirements so the decision was made to use it primarily as a “show truck” for the first year before it’d get thrown into the mix used for more trail rides. That being the case anybody that knows BDS knows that’s a hard ask and the truck still found its way onto the dirt and sand on a few occasions to see how the truck performed. I’ve got to say from personal experience we had a blast every time we got behind the wheel. Aside from the attention this truck demanded, each time the truck charged through the rough stuff it soaked up the terrain powering through the whoops big and small with a comfortable ride.

For SEMA 2018 we decided this truck had more to show so we brought it back again, this time displaying it in the BDS booth over in the truck and offroad section. All week long the truck was flanked by show goers snapping photos and getting photos and Following SEMA and some more high speed testing out in the desert alongside our newest build Project Ranger X we made the trip from Vegas to Florida to bring SD126 to an end of the year event that was on the schedule. Being there was a few weeks between the 2 events we dropped if off at Precision Offroad, our local BDS dealer in Leesburg, FL to hold onto the truck for safe keeping until show time.

The Fire

Tragically, one night after the shop had closed the warehouse caught fire due to an electrical short consuming the entire building and everything inside. Among the property lost was Project SD126, that had been sitting on a trailer. Luckily no one was injured, unfortunately SD126 was a total loss.

To say we were stunned to hear the news would be an understatement… Its been a couple months since the fire leveled the warehouse and destroyed SD126. We’re finally coming to grips with the realization that the truck is gone and we won’t get used (and abused) to its full potential. It was an unfortunate fire that destoyed SD126, but in the big scheme of things it was just a truck, a really expensive custom one-off truck, but all the same its just a truck. Luckily no one was hurt or worse yet killed in the fire and at the end of the day we have the technology and skill sets to build another truck, maybe some similar or maybe something completely different. What might the be? We’re open to suggestions, comment below with what you want to see us build next and keep an eye out for future project builds. Thanks for checking out the tribute to Project SD126.