Dr. Frankenstein used parts from different human bodies to assemble his monster. He brought life to the creature with the power of lightning. As a child, Rob Ida of Ida Automotive in Morganville, New Jersey, must have been truly moved by this monster story.
Bob Ida (Rob's father) owns a renowned hot-rod fabrication shop, which Rob took to at an early age. With the help of his father, Rob started building hot rods when he was 11, and by the age of 14, Rob built a rod that landed on a magazine cover. He and his father have built some of the baddest hot rods on the planet, including our favorite '41 Willys coupe that Street Rodder magazine labeled Razorback.
When Rob decided he wanted to build something other than a street rod, he looked to the latest trend in the market. The choice wasn't hard. The truck market has always been strong and for the most part has done nothing but gain momentum since the early '80s.
Rob was overwhelmed by Frankenstein's fabrication skills and was assured his skills were just as good - if not better. Rod decided the base of his monstrosity would come in the form of an '04 Ford F-150. Rob knew that Ford had dropped its Lightning-series program, and he was bent on making his own version of the fast Ford by creating what was to become the"Frightning."
It was going to take more than just hot-rod style to bring life to his monstrosity, so a little bling, roadster, G-machine, dragster, desert prerunner, and salt-flat lakester were combined to form the concept.
When Rob's dad gets involved, no off-the-shelf part will do. Bob Ida carved the bling from billet aluminum for the wheels. A McPhearson strut-style front suspension by Art Morrison provides the street-roadster touch. The rear four-link out back has the launch setup of a dragster. A sheetmetal-fabricated 9-inch differential housing is the desert prerunner pick of choice. Twin Garret turbos have the bedside manners of a "I'll do anything for power" lakester. A low roll center and meat selection has the atypical G-machine scenario.
The mass of all the assembled parts really has a monstrous first impression. And if you ever saw it in action, you'd know why they call it the Frightning.
Hot-rod builders really know...
Hot-rod builders really know how to make things original. They also know how to make more work for themselves. Rob used an English wheel, plannishing hammer, and Pullmax machine to shape the aluminum and steel panels he fabbed to smooth the Ford body lines. He then hammer-welded the one-off panels to the body for the desired look.
The scratch-built frame was...
The scratch-built frame was designed to be NHRA-approved and provides the truck with a lightweight base to build on. Rob's four-link system helps with the hard launches and is adjustable to the desired use. The truck sports a full frame, and the engine was moved back 5 percent for better weight distribution. All hard-launching chassis have an X-member for strength, but Rob's Frightning has a pass-through section for the street exhaust. The headers were also fabbed by Rob to hold the turbos symmetrically centered to the engine.
Plastic intake runners were...
Plastic intake runners were not going to live through the punishment Rob subjects the stock engine to. A custom-built plenum was fabbed to hold the pressure of the twin turbochargers. Both the pressure pipe (pressurized from the turbo) and downtube (exhaust after the turbo) run down to the bottom of the engine compartment, after which they go in opposite directions. The downpipe goes back to the mufflers, and the pressure pipe goes to Rob's custom bottom tank on the intercooler. On top of the air-to-air intercooler is another hand-fabbed piece by Rob. The top tank is a huge air funnel that increases the velocity of the cool air charge and allows the pressurized molecules to be rammed into the cylinders.
A Turbonetics adjustable blow-off...
A Turbonetics adjustable blow-off valve was adapted to the lower segment of the cool-air funnel. It protects the turbos from overboosting the engine, and allows pressure to bleed when the throttle is lifted to prevent compressor surge.
A tracking rod that's mounted...
A tracking rod that's mounted to the front lower link on the driver side and extends diagonally to the frame controls the rear four-link's deflection. A coilover shock controls the ride and squat of the truck. The spring rate of the coil over can be readily changed by simply swapping the spring to adjust for ride quality or racing.