Diesel Tech Magazine, July 2014 Feature Story – “Building A Dream”
As a U.S. Air Force Vehicle Operator, Natalee King of Santa Fe, Texas drove anything from A/T forklifts to 7-ton trucks and tractor-trailer rigs, later attaining the rank of Airman 1st Class. While studying and learning about diesel engines, she met her husband, John, and found they shared many of the same interests. Moving back to the States where the couple had a son, John King III, John’s Dodge 24V Cummins Dually then became Natalee’s daily driver.
Among the couples pastimes were designing their dream trucks, which they envisioned building together.
“As we did this almost every weekend, the sketches started to add up into piles of paper,” said Natalee. “Of course, at the time, it was just a dream of ours considering we were both military and our finances couldn’t pay for them, but it was still fun though.”
On February 17, 2012, Senior Airman John King Jr. was killed in the line of duty at Andrews Air Force Base, and the King family’s life changed dramatically.
“A few months after his death, my mother had to push me back into the real world,” said Natalee.
Months later, while going through her late husband’s personal effects, Natalee found a sketch of his dream truck, and determined she had to build it. “I knew right away I wanted to build it,” said Natalee.
Purchasing a stock Ford Power Stroke 250, King took it to Upright 4X4 and Underground Auto Styling, both in her new hometown of Sarasota, Florida.
Upright 4X4 did the bulk of the heavy lifting, which consisted of a BDS 8” 4-link lift kit, dual Fox 2.0 Performance Series front shocks with matching Fox 2.0 shocks in back, and American Force Independence wheels mounting 37” Toyo Open Country M/T tires. An H&S Mini Maxx tuner, S&B cold air intake and an MBRP 4” exhaust system with a rolled tip completed the drivetrain modifications.
Next came a set of AMP Research Power Step running boards, a Road Armor Stealth bumper, Road Armor M1 grille and Bushwacker Pocket Style fender flares. Lighting on the truck consists of Rigid Industries D- Series Dually LED fog lights and a Rigid Industries 20” E-Series LED light bar. Along the way, Natalee had many of the components powder coated pink.
Underground Auto Styling continued the pink accents in the interior, with dual 7” LCD displays in the headrests, a Soundstream DVD player, Phoenix Gold TI Series speakers and a custom subwoofer to complete the build.
“My truck has custom details that remind me of my late husband,” said Natalee. “One example is his initials are printed on the shocks. There are many more but only I know what they mean to me because my truck is filled with memories of my John even though he never got to see it.”
Bringing her’s and her late husband’s dreams to life through this truck has served as a remembrance, and a way to visually honor his memory.