Every truck build has to start somewhere. For Christopher Pate, it was the dream of making a rig that could get attention at a big show. Add to that his son’s enthusiasm for comic book characters, and it was only a matter of time before the world had an F-350 worthy of awe.
We reached out to Chris and got to learn the full story behind his build. In doing so, we learned about the commitment it takes to make a SEMA build, and how one man’s vision can bring his dream into a reality.
Background of the Build
A resident of San Antonio, Texas, Chris in enmeshed in truck territory and has long been a fan of oil-burners. “I always wanted a diesel,” he said. “This truck, the Juggernaut, was my first diesel build.”
After completing his previous build, a second-generation Toyota Tacoma, Chris bought the truck in early 2016 and set out to create a rig that would be seen, heard, and felt no matter where it went. More than anything, it had to live up to his brand, Level 7, dedicated to all things big and badass. “It’s always been go all out or don’t go at all for me,” he said. “I built it for the SEMA Show and to make my mark in the Super Duty scene.”
His theme for the truck came from his son, Trent, who loves comic books. In particular, his favorite is the Juggernaut character from the X-Men comics. “My son is big into superheroes and villains,” said Chris. “When deciding on the theme, he and I knew it had to be a big guy to model after. The Juggernaut was the perfect fit! And that’s how the planning started.”
After commissioning a rendering from Strictly Custom Designs, Chris had the plan in motion and started pulling together parts to assemble his creation. It would be a long journey, but one that would lead to glory.
The Build Begins
Starting in May 2016, the Juggernaut build had what seemed to be an auspicious beginning, but it reached its first speed bump the following month. A McNeil Racing fiberglass fender arrived damaged in the box. A chip in one of the corners led to a delay, but things resumed once the replacement arrived.
From there, it was able to receive paint, making the exterior the first official mod on the truck. “I started with the paint, which is a custom ruby red,” said Chris. “It had to be painted before the lift was installed. Otherwise, it would not have fit into the stall where it could be painted.”
The lift kit itself, a Kelderman 9-13-inch air lift kit, was given a matching paint job over at Brass Knuckle Customs. BKC also took care of painting the JR Forged 24-inch Corleone wheels, Royalty Core grille, and RK Sport custom hood. The truck was starting to come together after being apart for several months, with SEMA 2016 closing in and the suspension being installed in October.
Unfortunately, Chris would have to skip SEMA that year. “We had a hailstorm hit San Antonio, and a few chunks of hail hit the truck, damaging it,” said Chris. “Then, the original shop that as building it messed the truck up put it in limp mode. This was a day before I had to be on the road to SEMA, so I had to miss the show.”
But that would not stop the man from trying to achieve his goal.
The Build Today
Chris ultimately did make it to the 2017 SEMA Show, and Juggernaut looked every bit the SEMA build it was always meant to be. Part and parcel of this was the sheer amount of modification done to it to get it to a showcase-ready level.
As mentioned before, the outside of the truck sports an RK Sport hood, McNeil Racing fenders, and Royalty Core grille. The bumpers are now Fusion bumpers, and the paint is a custom ruby red shade, painted by Select One Collision in San Antonio.
Lighting was provided by KC HiLiTES, consisting of a number of light bars and pod lights embedded into the bumpers and onto the SBC roof rack. It’s mounted to a camper shell from Snug Tops. Tires and wheels are 40-inch Tri Ace Dakar M/T IIIs and 24-inch JR Forged Corleone units, respectively.
Under the hood, Chris has done little to give the truck extra oomph, but then, a truck built for show doesn’t need a big dose of muscle. The F-350 retains its stock 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8, bolstered by Truck Source custom tuning and a delete kit, as well as an Absolute Performance intake kit. The rest of the drivetrain is bone stock.
Suspension-wise, Chris has a Kelderman lift kit, as mentioned previously. It can go between 9 to 13 inches of lift, with Chris determining the level from inside the cab. A flick of the switch allows air to pump in or be let out, and the truck increases or decreases its lift accordingly. For shocks, Chris went with Fox 2.5-inch piggyback reservoir units. The front end features dual Fox steering stabilizers and a Cash Bred Off Road adjustable trac bar, the latter of which installed all of Chris’ suspension mods.
This just leaves the interior, which Chris did some more focus on as well. Here, we have custom seats made by Roadwire Leather Interiors. They feature red leather that matches the outside paint color, as well as alligator leather inserts that definitely lend an interesting look. The headrests feature the Juggernaut helmet and head embroidered so passengers can’t forget what they’re dealing with. Elsewhere, hydro-dipped interior plastics match the theme of the truck.
Asked what his favorite aspect of the Juggernaut is, Chris said, “I love how often I get ‘I’m not even a Ford fan, but damn this is badass!’ I also got that response with the Tacoma I built before this.”
“But I can’t stay tied down to this truck,” Chris continued. “This year, I plan to impress everyone again. I’m going to blow them away. There is a plan in motion to build a Chevy 3500 and get the same response: ‘Damn, I’m not even a Chevy fan, but…'”
Chris is currently looking for buyers to take the Juggernaut off of his hands so he can get started on the Chevy build, so if you’re in the market for an unforgettable, unmistakeable Super Duty, this F-350 will fit the bill. Check out more of this truck on Chris’ Instagram, and keep it here on Diesel Army for more incredible truck features, event news, industry news, and more.
Photography: Will Ulmen