A TTAC lede should intrigue and excite, yet what’s to snark on a Ford Super Duty with an aluminum bed? So here I am, being good friend to a girl that bought a home, tore it apart and reassembled with over 1600lbs of stone flooring: stuff that’ll eat up an Urban Cowboy’s prissy $30-50,000 rig. Or in this case, a self-made woman’s stainless steel infused Lincoln Blackwood. Is it any surprise she’d need a rental?
The F-350 isn’t a lovely beast in XL-grade black plastic, and Home Depot’s tagging doesn’t help. Even worse, Ford’s latest Super Duty takes the trend of “inflated styling features” to the point there’s no room for sheetmetal on the front facade. Insurance companies rejoice, but fake fender vents further prove that modern trucks are out of scope. Side mirrors cleverly attach to a droopy DLO (day light opening), with rooftop clearance lights and anti-bling steel hoops: all hallmarks of the XL lifestyle, but I long for the days when trucks weren’t so proportionally silly.
Luckily, the rough-and-tumble lifestyle receives a supple 40/20/40 vinyl bench. The “20” folds to make an armrest with storage. Rubber flooring encourages muddy boots. And the requisite hard plastics? NFL linemen use ballet to up their game, and Super Duties need the minimalistic soft vinyl from yesteryear’s F-350. Trust me; it wouldn’t lose an ounce of macho.
Home Depot trucks have a unique interior quirk: note the steering wheel lock, smell what must be a blend of sweat, dirt and the chemical used to remove dog/cat urine smells from carpeting. Like, awesome.
Fire up the Super Duty and something magical happens. The 6.2L “BOSS” V8’s initial exhaust burble is pure muscle from the days of smog-belching big blocks and Nixonian secrecy. With a few (manly) twists of aluminum locks, the Super Duty’s cargo “walls” become a flat bed. Home Depot’s fork lift has ample room to offload the pallet, and the prodigious leaf springs easily take the load. Ride height is now 2-3”lower, if that matters.
The ride is fairly smooth, only with the extra rearward weight. The numb, slow steering makes sense considering the value your heavy and brittle investment staying in one piece. There’s plenty of stopping power even with more nose dive than an ordinary car.
Which proves the point: as every decade passes, trucks improve at the same rate of cars.
Back to the stone: after pulling 20+ tiles out, the quality was a little suspect. There’s enough body filler here to patch a fleet of Mazda Protégé 5s. So we reload the F-350, unfold the bed’s walls and drive back. Are those rain clouds up ahead? While she asked the boys at Home Depot to exchange the crate, I did my usual ADD analysis of the interior. The upfitter switches were a nice touch, ditto the abundance of cubbies and cup holders. The basic information display was controlled by a PlayStation-worthy pad on the tiller. Then a familiar song emanated from the 2-speaker stereo. The electronic hi-hats were clearer than crystal and bass hit like a boxer fighting above his class. As the clouds threatened again, the lyrics came down on me like shelves of bolts from Home Depot’s hardware aisle:
You can Blame it on the Rain,
Cause the Rain Don’t Mind!
And The Rain Don’t Care,
You got to Blame it on Something!
Is this really happening? Why am I here, thinking about a future TTAC review? How did I not grow up, get married and whatnot? Was that guy in high school right about me, am I really an existentialist?
Oh dear. Mercifully, the new pallet arrived, and–escaping the rain–the new tile was unloaded. After a long evening, we returned the Super Duty and went back to the luxurious confines of the Lincoln Blackwood. But wait…let’s talk about straight line prowess.
6-speeds, 385 horsepower, 405lb-ft of twist. A pair of stump-pulling camshafts happily rev to 5500RPM inside a delightfully retro-styled big block Boss mill. With the traction nanny off and the transmission locked in first, the Super Duty squats, hooks and absolutely flies off the line.
Whoa mamma! Gear number two and you’re merging on the highway with authority: the Boss is an absolute beast. Once the howl of a thousand big block Galaxies left my eardrums, one thought remained: why can’t we have this damn powertrain in a Ford car?
But I digress. The F-350 Super Duty proves something: the base engine is far from entry-level. Who cares if gas motors are 3-7 MPG worse (probably, but not rated by the EPA) than a Powerstroke Diesel? The Boss is just that. With no purchase penalty ($7835), no urine supplements, cheaper fuel ($0.30 a gallon) and a stunning Muscle Car soundtrack, the Boss Super Duty equates to the perfect big truck for all but the most serious towing junky.
For everyone else? Instant bliss is just a Home Depot away, for about $20 an hour.