2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig
Yo dawg, I heard you like off-roading…by Jonathan Lopez, on
We love it when a builder goes just a little bit of crazy, creating something over-the-top, but only just. This extensively modified F-350 from Hellwig is exactly that. Dubbed “The Operator,” Hellwig started with a stock 2017 Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat Crew Cab, then added upgrades until it had created the “ultimate recon adventure vehicle.” The most obvious thing to pick out is the large UTV this truck is hauling in its bed – or rather, above its bed might be more accurate. But there’s more to it than just that. “From recon runs in the desert to family camping trips in the dunes, the Operator is capable and comfortable,” says Hellwig, and we believe it. In addition to the usual off-roader gear outside, there’s nice stuff inside the cabin as well, plus a few choice upgrades under the hood to round it out.
All told, while the UTV certainly has our attention, it’s the little details in this build that really impress us. Hellwig didn’t neglect a thing in building its idea of “ultimate,” and in the end, we can’t help but stand back and admire the handy work.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ford F-350 By Hellwig.
2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig
Horsepower @ RPM:4400 @ 2800
Torque @ RPM:925 @ 1800
- UTV mounted out back
- New bumpers and paint
- Lots of utility gear
- Underbody protection
One of the coolest things about this truck is the way in which it moves the UTV.
Let’s just jump straight to it, shall we? Mounted on the bed of this thing is a 2017 Artic Cat Wildcat X LTD two-seater UTV, a zippy little toy that’ll eat up the surrounding terrain without a moment’s hesitation. It’s an awesome thing to have at your disposal in the right conditions, and The Operator is the right platform to deliver it where it needs to be.
One of the coolest things about this truck is the way in which it moves the UTV. Rather than filling the bed to capacity or dragging around a trailer, The Operator mounts it above the bed line and partially on top of the cab. Responsible for this trick is a UTV deck from SherpTek, which offers heavy-duty loading ramps and all the gear you need to keep that pricey toy in one spot. Just don’t take any sharp corners with it loaded up there…
Adding to the build’s aesthetic appeal is a set of new “Vengeance” bumpers from Fab Fours, both in front and in back. In the corners you’ll find Method Race 305 NV HD wheels, which take up residence under flared-out fenders from Lund (part of the Ford Licensed Accessories line). As a quick side note – notice how the UTV’s wheels match those of the truck that’s carrying it? It’s a relatively small detail, but we think stuff like that really makes a build look fantastic, separating the great from the good.
Up front, there’s a new X-Metal grille insert from T-Rex Grilles, while Rigid Industries and Whelen provide the extra illumination. Rounding off the styling is a BASF paint job courtesy of LGE-CTS Motorsports, on top of which is laid a digital camouflage graphics scheme.
Notice how the UTV’s wheels match those of the truck that’s carrying it?
And of course, we couldn’t forget all the extras added for the sake of utility, such as the Krazy Beaver Tools shovel, Macs tie-downs cargo management system, and Viair air compressor. There’s also a bolt receiver lock system, a hi-lift jack, and a set of Daystar fuel cans.
Protecting the important bits underneath are Mag-Hytech differential covers and transmission pan. A Warn Industries 16.5TI-S winch is placed in the nose, and a Wilco pre-runner tailgate finishes it off.
- Power step-ups
- New seats and upholstery
The 5.11 Tactical seats come complete with body-colored coverings from Rogelio’s Upholstery
With so much attention paid to the exterior of this vehicle, it wouldn’t be surprising if The Operator neglected to do much to the interior space. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
First up, ingress and egress are assisted by electrically operated PowerSteps from AMP Research, a critical component when considering the truck’s sizable suspension lift.
Once inside, passengers will enjoy the 5.11 Tactical seats, which come complete with body-colored coverings from Rogelio’s Upholstery, plus special webbing and tactical storage compartments from Molle. A Ford Licensed Accessories vehicle safe from Console Vault stores sensitive materials up front. Finally, Rugged Radios was called on for the telecommunications kit.
- 6.7-liter Powerstroke V-8 diesel
- 925 pound-feet of torque
- MagnaFlow exhaust
MangaFlow was called on for its Pro DPF exhaust system
The heart of the vehicle is the Ford F-350’s top-rated 6.7-liter Powerstroke V-8 turbo diesel engine, which, from the factory, is rated at 440 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and an Earth-twisting 925 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm. And that’s good, especially when you consider all the extras hanging off this thing, including the frikin’ UTV on the roof.
To give the powerband a little extra breathing room, not to mention a much better sound, MangaFlow was called on for its Pro DPF exhaust system. A yellow-top battery from Optima provides the spark.
Finally, a TorqShift six-speed automatic gearbox with a SelectShift feature routes the go to the ground. 05SD hubs from Warn Industries finish off the drivetrain spec.
Chassis And Handling
- Hellwig air suspension
- Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stag 5 suspension
- 4.5-inch lift
- Falken Wild Peak M/T Off-Roading tires
Underpinning the whole shebang are Hellwig-branded Big Wig air springs, while Big Wig sway bars are mounted both front and back. Completing the transformation is a full Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stage 5 suspension kit, which means this bad boy is standing a full 4.5 inches higher than when it left the factory.
Finally, gripping the terra, we find Falken Wild Peak M/T Off-Roading tires wrapped around those custom wheels.
SEMA always attracts some truly impressive modified rides, and this particular example is right up there with some of the best we’ve seen in 2017. It’s got the big stuff, like the UTV, but also the little stuff, like Rugged Radios gear and matching wheels, and that makes it both extreme and well-rounded.
Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty.
Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.