Patriotism relies heavily on symbolic acts, such as displaying the flag, singing the national anthem, placing a patriotic bumper sticker on your vehicle, or any other way of publicly proclaiming allegiance to the state. Symbolic patriotism in wartime is intended to raise morale, in turn contributing to the war effort. Typically, patriotic intensity is higher when the state is under external threat.

Death in battle for the homeland is the epitome of extreme patriotism. Less dramatic forms of patriotism include a wide range of attitudes, expressions, and acts. Matt Jones of Efsingham, Illinois, knew just what it took to show his patriotism and to achieve the level of perfection required for a truck of this stature.

Matt wanted a truck that he could transport his family in and make a statement that would thank all those who protect us and our freedom. In order to fulfill this tall order, Matt rolled his Ford F-350 into the garage, where the suspension setup was decided upon. Starting with the stock F-350, Matt and brother Chris bolted on a Kelderman air-ride suspension 12-inch lift kit. Using Bilstein 9100 shocks and the 38-inch Nitto Mud-Grappler tires wrapped around the Weld Cheyennes, the Super Duty is actually sitting a full 22 inches higher than stock.

Now keep in mind, the suspension modifications are important, but they are not the main focus of this project. Matt worked long hours, making the body as straight as possible and laying down the basecoat, so Mickey Harris could unleash his creativity. The outer sheetmetal is draped in the American flag with patriotic imagery of soldiers in action. After the clear was dry, Matt laid down some guidelines and, with a silver Sharpie marker, started writing the names of all the fallen soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom on the freshly painted surface. Before Matt realized, there were more than two thousand names hand written on the bed sides, front fenders, cab, and even all four side windows. When we interviewed Matt, he told us that the total number of names has now reached 2,974.

Now that the exterior was poppin', it was time to get down to brass tacks and handle the interior. First on the bill were the seating arrangements. The factory-equipped seats were re-covered in tan vinyl with blue piping in the bottoms and backs. After the custom center console was installed, the audio could be installed. A Kenwood head unit, MTX amplifiers, two MTX 10-inch subs mounted underneath the rear seat, and six Kenwood monitors keep the cabin filled with tunes and video. With almost every aspect covered, Matt moved to the engine bay, where attention to performance was next on the list.

Popping the airbrushed hood reveals the 7.3L diesel powerplant has a few more horses squeezed out of it, thanks to a TS Performance 250-shot N2O kit, combined with an aFe Stage 2 intake and air filter, paired with a 4-inch exhaust, which makes this thoroughbred a wild ride. With the truck finished, Matt knew it was only a matter of time before he grabbed the attention of anyone who laid eyes upon it. His truck is a reminder to be thankful for the men and women who live life everyday protecting our way of life, and to remember those who have given their lives in building and maintaining what we have: Freedom!

THE 411

OWNER/HOMETOWN:
Matt Jones / Efsingham, Illinois

YEAR/MAKE/MODEL:
'00 Ford F-350

ENGINE/DRIVETRAIN:
7.3L 275hp Power Stroke V-8 diesel / E40D transmission / Big Guns shift-improvement kit / Triple Lock torque converter / 30-degree drop on transfer case / lengthened driveshaft / Garrett turbo / aFe Stage 2 intake and air cleaner / 250-shot TS Performance N2O system / 4-inch Silver Line Exhaust

INSTALLERS:
Transmission rebuilt by Big Guns Transmission, of St. Louis, Missouri

WHEELS/TIRES:
20x12-inch Weld Wheels Cheyenne / Nitto LT38x15.50R20 Mud Grappler

SUSPENSION:
T16-inch Kelderman air-ride suspension lift / Firestone Air Springs / custom front and rear sway bars / Bilstein shocks / Oasis compressor / 5-gallon air tank / 3/8-inch air line / Accu-Air switch box

FABRICATOR:
Matt and Chris Jones, of Stewardson, Illinois

BODY MODS:
Stull Grille / cowl-induction hood / Cover Master tonneau cover

BODYWORK:
Matt and Chris Jones

CUSTOM PAINT:
PPG Deep Wedge Blue

PAINTWORK:
Matt Jones, basecoat and names / Mickey Harris, graphics and airbrushing

INTERIOR:
Factory seats re-covered in tan and blue vinyl / custom center console / Auto Meter gauges / numerous murals throughout interior

UPHOLSTERER:
Extreme Sound / Matt Jones / TS

AUDIO/VIDEO:
Kenwood Excelon head unit / six Kenwood 6.5-inch monitors in the doors and headrests / four MTX 6.5-inch coaxials / MTX 2500 amplifier / MTX 5000 amplifier

INSTALLER:
Extreme Sound, of Cincinnati, Ohio