Brilliant Blue: Stacy Monarrez’s 1971 F-250

Few people are lucky when it comes to a second-hand vehicle. We all probably remember our first car being a hand-me-down from a sibling or parent. The interior smelled bad, the fan belt screamed, and the passenger door lock was somewhere between functional and fouled-up.

For Stacy Monarrez, however, her inherited chariot was practically a jackpot. She received the truck from her father, who had taken great care of it for several years. A 1971 Ford F-250, it was already a dream on the outside and inside, and just needed a few modifications to get it to the next level.

Luckily for Stacy, her husband, Steve Monarrez – whose killer Chevy prerunner was covered recently – is a handy man to have around for such modifications. Using his knowledge and experience with project trucks, he turned the truck’s frown upside down when he gave it a 12-valve Cummins.

Background Of The Build

Stacy’s dad, Kurt, owned the F-250 before she did. He took great care of the truck, even going so far as only using OEM parts for maintenance and repairs.

The story of the F-250 begins in Stacy’s childhood. “My dad built the Ford when I was a kid, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” she said. “He used to take us on Route 66. I remember looking forward to that time with him.”

Given its nostalgic nature, the F-250 was something that Stacy cherished and wanted to hold on to. “I asked my dad if I could have the Ford when he was old and gray,” she said. “He laughed and said, ‘Maybe.'”

The paint was done by Tom Bell Chevrolet in Redlands, California. Surprisingly, it’s actually a 20-year-old paint job, yet it still looks incredibly vibrant and awesome. Not bad for a rig with over 200,000 miles on it!

Sure enough, Stacy did receive her Blue Oval inheritance, but it wasn’t without its problems. The biggest of these was the engine – a 500 cubic-inch big-block V8. It blew a head gasket one day, and wouldn’t be moving anywhere without repairs.

It was at that point that Stacy and Steve had to decide whether they wanted 4 miles per gallon (the big-block V8) or 25 miles per gallon (the 12-valve Cummins). As you might have guessed, there wasn’t much debate; a Cummins was the only way to go.

For footwear, the F-250 runs on 16-inch Pro Comp wheels and 35-inch BF Goodrich A/Ts. You don't see that many trucks anymore running on the original BFG All-Terrains these days, ever since they were phased out in 2014-15 to make way for the All-Terrain KO2s. Still, they give Stacy's truck an air of classic performance and capability. He definitely gets the most out of them, as we saw on the dirt roads during our photo shoot.

Going With A Cummins

The heart of the F-250 is a 12-valve 5.9-liter Cummins. Famous Tire Company in Banning, California did the conversion in 2015, and Steve states that it was done after its original 500 cubic-inch V8 blew a head gasket.

And what better Cummins than the 12-valve 5.9-liter? Famous for its reliability and adaptability to upgrades, the motor was the perfect choice for the perfect truck. It didn’t hurt that fuel economy would go up, too.

Steve got help from the folks at Famous Tire Company in Banning, California. The shop was only a short trip from home in Yucaipa. It made all the difference when the time came to trade gasoline for diesel power in the F-250.

When asked why he chose Cummins over a Power Stroke to keep it 100-percent Ford, he replied, “Great question. We were toying with the idea of putting the F-250’s body on top of a 7.3-liter platform, but we were already committed to the Cummins by that point.”

The engine was given air conditioning capability (one of Steve’s favorite features), and had its compressor put down deep as opposed to up top. Also, making the 5.9 fit in the engine bay required hammering the firewall back, which sadly left a few scratches in the beautiful blue paint; still, all’s well that ends well.

Backing up the 12-valve is a built 47RE transmission.”We built the transmission to handle the power better,” said Steve. Rounding out the drivetrain are a factory transfer case, custom-built driveshafts from Banning Driveline, and stock front and rear axles with a 3.55:1 gear ratio and a locker in the front.

Leafsprings on the F-250 make it a bumpy ride off-road, Steve told us. He'd much rather have the truck be linked in the rear. He hopes to one day get around to the conversion, but will just have to deal with a bucking truck in the meantime.

Other Modifications

Giving the truck its imposing stance is a four-inch lift. Suspension is by King Shocks, with two-inch double-bypass dampers on all four corners. They do an admirable job of dampening jolts off-road, which is great, since Steve and Stacy like to go the road less traveled every now and again.

Steve went with keeping the leafsprings on the truck instead of going for a linked suspension system. Nevertheless, he does envy those who have done the conversion to their classic trucks, and he hopes to one day do it to this F-250. “That’s something I would love to do,” he said. “That would be bitchin’.”

The excellent treatment on the exterior carried over to the interior, where blue and black was the color scheme to follow. This area was refreshed along with the paint back in 1997, and still looks amazing today. Also, during a hot Californian summer like we're having here in 2017, nothing provides relief quite like air conditioning. Steve went for a Vintage Air system when renovating the F-250. He's thoroughly enjoyed having it, too: "It freezes you out of the cab, it gets so cold," he said.

A Lincoln steering gearbox helps move the 35-inch BF Goodrich A/Ts on 16-inch Pro Comp wheels. Disc brakes up front help the truck stop a little better than its factory ones did.

On the inside, the truck looks and feels every bit as luxurious as its outside. This area was done right around the same time as the paint back in 1997. The instruments, steering wheel, dashboard, seats, and everything else are from the factory.

Steve had no problem getting the F-250 dirty for us during our shoot. He said that the transfer case was stuck in 4-High, but that didn't stop him from giving the old girl some exercise.

The Kenwood stereo is an old-school unit, according to Steve, and plays tunes to a pair of door speakers. Not every truck build has to have a sound system that starts earthquakes, and Steve seems like the kind of guy who subscribes to the “less is more” way of thinking.

That last part is probably why we liked this F-250 so much. There is a time and place for big, in-your-face, overwrought show trucks that have more graphics than an ex-con has tattoos. But then, there are times when you just want clean and simple, with a dash of intrigue.

Future modifications for the F-250 include performance parts to make the Cummins reach 500 horsepower. "I'd like to do some tuning and some bigger injectors, and maybe do some screwing around with the injection pump," commented Steve. "Basically, I want to do whatever the turbo can handle. I don't want to go bigger on the turbo."

This is what the F-250 provides. With its pure blue aesthetic and its Cummins zest, the truck has more than meets the eye. We think it will continue to be a source of pride for the Monarrezes.

What are your thoughts on this F-250? Drop down below to the comments section and deposit your two cents.

Photo gallery

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About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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