CINCINNATI, Ohio — The motto at Beechmont Ford Performance is, “You imagine, we build.” Enthusiasts know enthusiasts don’t only dream of power-to-weight or dollar-to-horsepower ratios. Some dream of eras, especially vehicles they grew up with, or perhaps drove in high school. The mob of restomodded, six-figure pickups proves there’s an audience for the late 1970s to the early 1990s truck era, back when two doors and a bench seat was the bacon and eggs of configuration. For those enthusiasts — this writer included — there’s the BFP Retro F-150.
If we consider the 2023 Ford F-150 Heritage Edition a light bit of dress-up on an XLT, the BFP version is fully accessorized cosplay. The former’s a bedsheet-with-eye-holes ghost, the latter, Ghost Face.
Keeping in mind the “imagine” ethos, BFP will build a Retro on any F-150 with any engine that a customer wants. But the stock rig is built on a 4WD XLT for immersion, drivers invited to grab a fist full of column shifter just like the old days. Higher trims get Ford’s rotary shifter. BFP checks the box for the Chrome Appearance Package, too, Ford having used bygone F-150s to flex the automaker’s chrome game.
The sixth-gen through ninth-gen F-150s were especially famous for white-on-red and blue-on-white paint jobs. Those are the Retro’s go-to combinations, the effect created with a Satin Pearl vinyl wrap applied over the base color.
Those old Fords were not famous for generous dealer-installed upfit. From the top down, the Retro addresses that omission with a chrome bed rack capped by KC Daylighter spotlights. Each light hides behind old-school yellow caps or understated black and white KC caps for those who think yellow is a wrong turn down memory lane.
If the customer chooses Fox shocks, the truck gets a two-inch lift on a Fox 2.0 suspension kit. Go with Readylift, and there’s a three-inch lift. Overall towing capacity isn’t affected, but the three-inch shaves a touch off the allowable tongue weight. Either suspension choice works a quartet of polished aluminum 17-inch retro-look Pro Comp wheels wrapped in 33-inch BF Goodrich A/T tires with raised white letters.
A 5.0-liter Coyote making 400 horsepower goes under the hood unless the buyer requests something else. Watson said BFP “recommends the V8 for the retro sound,” the exhaust note plummeting into the bass range by an MBRP cat-back exhaust. An optional Whipple supercharger boosts Coyote output to 700 horsepower.
We stopped by BFP to try out a naturally aspirated version of the Retro on the Readylift suspension. As a lifted truck on tall, squishy rubber, sawing at the wheel gets the mild bob and weave such lift kits and rubber were designed to provide, while retaining all the composure necessary for daily driver duty. We took a snaking road down to the Ohio River, and the roll never became a distraction. In fact, the most noteworthy item in the cab was the MBRP exhaust note. There’s a less rumbly Roush cat-back exhaust on the option menu, but Watson said he found customers liked the vocal thunder. So did we.
On a truck like this, with all its changes on the outside, the real audition is static, not dynamic. Does it hit the right notes as you approach it in a parking lot — like, notes of Whitesnake on cassette and Drakkar Noir on flannel? Does it make you feel like you might go on a vehicular rampage like James Brown, or simply know you could, like The Punisher? That’s the pop quiz, and for us, the Retro aced it. This thing makes us want to go jump stuff like trucks used to do in the 1980s primetime TV series’ we grew up watching — "The Fall Guy," "Simon & Simon," "CHiPS." We’d do it while wearing Aramis instead of Drakkar, though.
The stock Retro F-150 package adds $12,995 to the price of a donor truck. BFP says the average 400-hp version totals $75,110 before discounts; the truck we drove asks $70,141. Each model comes with Ford’s manufacturer warranties, add-on components bring their individual warranties — even the vinyl wrap is covered.
A build can be reserved with a $500 deposit. You’ll have to source your own cassette player.
Or ... another, much faster route down memory lane
This has been a year of surprises, the latest being this little black number — another take on vintage trucks, looking back two decades when a Lightning-branded F-150 only came with one battery that produced 12 volts. A BFP customer is building a street truck on a two-wheel drive F-150 XL, doing all the work himself save installing a supercharger, which he asked BFP to do. In went the Whipple. Up went the horsepower to 700. Since BFP didn’t have a supercharged Retro for us to drive, the owner kindly agreed to let Autoblog drive his project. We owe that owner a meal.
I never thought about street trucks. I haven’t stopped thinking about my short drive in this one. There’s nothing more to this build at the moment than an XL with the blower and Trailer Tow package. It was enough to convince me that, although I enjoyed the Retro, this here is the past I'd like to make new again. Street trucks are the go.
The Whipple is a caged bird that loves to sing, chirpier than the Roush superchargers we’ve flogged in BFP’s 700-horsepower Mustangs. Since we were borrowing someone’s dream, we didn’t set tires alight. Nevertheless, the 245-section all-season Michelin tires hooked up well enough from a standstill to make it clear that stoplight beatdowns are coming to the unwary after a proper wheel and tire package gets installed.
Mash the gas pedal when at partial throttle around 30 miles per hour, any anonymous work truck fusses a bit before finding the right gear. Get up to about 50 or 55, sharper reflexes will launch you toward the far side of 80 before you’re aware enough to say, “Oops.”
We’re not sure why we had more fun toying with the throttle of this hi-po work than that of most 700-hp cars we’ve driven, but that’s what happened. It’s like preferring to run the 100-yard dash in DSW work boots instead of Asics cleats. We know that if BFP parked one of its go-fast Mustangs and that truck in our driveway, we’d ask if anyone wanted anything from Home Depot and tell them not to wait up.
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