Refined & Rowdy – KC Mathieu’s ’68 F100 Blends Show Truck Style and Big-Time Power
All too often, custom car and truck builds that stem from TV shows are outlandish and over-the-top, built to spur reaction and shock from the broadest viewing audience possible. It’s a realm where obnoxious frequently trumps cleanliness and attention to detail.
That’s not the case with KC Mathieu’s ’68 F100, a truck that first came to prominence on the “Fast N’ Loud” TV show years ago. The truck’s latest incarnation is an exceptionally sanitary example of a “bumpside” F100 – the only thing obnoxious about it is the amount of power generated by the Whipple-supercharged Ford VooDoo engine. It’s the embodiment of the build theory KC Mathieu employs at his Fort Worth-based business, KC’s Paint Shop: simple, classic vehicles with lots of horsepower.
It’s important to clarify that the truck went through years of refinement after its original build on “Fast N’ Loud” and received an even more thorough ground-up rebuild a few years ago. KC debuted it in its latest form at the 2019 SEMA Show. As it sits now, the F100 is a much better representation of KC’s custom crafting capabilities, not to mention that of his team and the close group of collaborators who helped with its construction.
KC has actually owned this Ford since he was 15 and still learning the tricks of the trade in his father’s body shop. As a kid, he was so driven to prove his abilities that he tackled his first complete paint job when he was just 12 and took on paint and body side jobs through high school. He ultimately opened his own shop and had developed a reputation for great work even before his time on “Fast N’ Loud.” His trajectory has continued upward in the years since he left the show to focus solely on KC’s Paint Shop.
As for the F100, the only thing that’s the same as when it was built for TV is the Boxwood Green color – and even that has been redone to a higher caliber than ever. The latest rebuild began in 2017 with a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis, which gave the truck a much-lower stance and incredible handling capabilities. In addition to the performance-bred IFS, four-bar rear suspension, coil-over shocks, and 9-inch rearend with Strange axles, the chassis was assembled with Wilwood 15- and 14-inch disc brakes clamped by six- and four-piston calipers, respectively. Polished Budnik Gasser-G wheels – 19×10- and 19×12-inches – are wrapped in Toyo 275/30 and 345/30 tires.
The extra grip, handling, braking, and strength were all necessary considering the increased power KC had planned. The truck came together for SEMA with a high-compression Ford Performance Aluminator Coyote crate engine upgraded with COMP cams and topped with a Whipple supercharger. That has since given way to a 5.2-liter Ford Voodoo engine from RPG Racing Engines filled with forged internals and fitted with heads from Frankenstein Engine Dynamics and a Whipple supercharger – a combination good for more than 1,000 horsepower. KC turned to GAP Racing to build the custom headers and 3-inch exhaust, which incorporates Vibrant exhaust resonators and Roush active mufflers in an effort to keep things quiet. A Tremec T56 six-speed transmission gives KC control of gear changes.
As a paint guy, you can bet KC wanted the truck’s body to be something special. He didn’t want it too flashy, though, so most of the metal mods are subtle. Levi Green and his team at HammerFab built a custom firewall, smoothed the cowl, crafted a custom transmission tunnel, and built a custom raised bed floor to accommodate the new chassis. That led to additional mods like shortening the recessed ribs at the front of the bed, building shorter and wider wheel tubs, and smoothing the inside of the tailgate. A flush gas filler door was incorporated into the bed floor and the seam at the rear of the roof was welded and smoothed. KC also eliminated the seam on the hood and had Slosh Tubz build custom inner fenders to clean up the engine compartment.
The crew at KC’s Paint Shop took things from there, massaging all the metal arrow-straight, perfecting gaps, and putting in countless hours of priming and block sanding to achieve the smoothest panels possible. When KC laid down the BASF finish, it was in that familiar Boxwood Green color, but refined and polished to a higher level than the truck had ever seen. The beautiful paint is complemented by fresh brightwork from Ogden Chrome on the grille and bumpers.
GAP Racing contributed more work inside by building a roll cage that’s cleanly tucked into the A-pillars and top. The dash was modified with a lower extension that incorporates vents for the Restomod A/C system, plus custom gauges that KC designed in conjunction with Dakota Digital. Custom foam was cut for the bench seat before PG Upholstery tastefully stitched olive green Moore & Giles leather over it and the other soft surfaces. Crow harnesses and a Budnik wheel atop a tilt column help round out the cabin.
The finished build retains the signature look for which the truck has become known, but in a much improved and more refined package. “It’s kind of the same truck on steroids – a little more power, a little lower, go a little faster, stop a little quicker,” KC said when it was on display at the SEMA Show. All of those qualities have been put to the test, as KC is not afraid to drive the Ford and has even put it through some punishing paces on a road course. It seems like a fitting way for him to enjoy a truck that has grown and evolved with him for more than 20 years.
Photos by John Jackson