Category: Overlanding

This 1997 Ford F-250 brings bespoke style to the overlanding scene – David Conwill  @Hemmings

This 1997 Ford F-250 brings bespoke style to the overlanding scene – David Conwill  @Hemmings

The originally diesel-powered F-250 was almost too nice to disassemble, but its clean state also aided in getting the project underway without a lot of repair work. The ease of getting it made the team think “yeah, we’re supposed to be doing this.”

Design by committee doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean that a large team can’t come together and build something spectacular. In the August 2021 issue we introduced Project Artemis, this 1997 Ford F-250 crew-cab pickup whose ambitious build was undertaken by 41 partners, including Hemmings. Wisely, most of the detail choices were left to the discretion of Crystal and Kurt Lawrance at KTL Restorations in Danville, Virginia. They’re not big on titles at KTL, but Kurt is owner and president of the business that he founded with his late father, and Crystal is his wife and enthusiastic business partner.

KTL is just now expanding into overlanding builds from the muscle-car restoration and restomod field, bringing a fresh sensibility to what has become a rapidly expanding market. Partnering with KTL in this capacity was a decision that paid off, as the company’s vision pioneered not only several technical developments in the off-road/overlanding field but has sown the seeds for an expansion of that field into 1992-’96 (and early ’97) “Old Body Style” (OBS) Ford trucks.

That expansion includes both OE-style reproduction parts, notably from Complete Performance (aka CP Addicts), in Jasper, Texas; and in modified (by Kurt) off-the-shelf pieces from places like KC HiLiTES in Williams, Arizona, and Clackamas, Oregon-based Warn Industries

Thanks to minimal rust and damage, no panels were replaced on the clean, three-owner truck. Instead, to prepare for paint, a few small patches were installed, some minor cleanup was done, and some dents were pulled out using Spanesi Americas equipment.
This is just before Lizard Skin was applied to the bottom of the cab. A pure show build would have simply used paint, but functionality demands something tougher.
The graphics took a long time to nail down, but the end result (executed in paint, not vinyl) reflects the ‘90s nostalgia meets 2020s technology theme perfectly.


In case you hadn’t noticed, 1990s-’00s nostalgia is hot—both among the millennials who lived it and the Gen Z kids who wish they had. There was no question that the classic OBS elements had to stay in place among the state-of-the-art overlanding bits. Thankfully, the crew-cab F-250 was found (“on a little bitty car lot in North Carolina”) with almost preternatural speed. The dry, Southwestern truck needed minimal bodywork and was treated to BASF Glasurit paints in pearlescent white and two shades of blue. The underside was sprayed with blue-tinted Lizard Skin for a durable, yet attractive, undercoating. The mountain and stripes graphic package was initially conceived by Crystal’s 16-year-old daughter.

The original fuel tanks were cleaned and re-sealed using POR-15 products, then reinstalled in the factory-issued frame, which itself was cleaned up and coated with POR-15. The restored frame was then ready for the installation of new suspension.
This isn’t the complete kit from RYD, just a part of it, but it gives some sense of the number of fabricated pieces needed to marry the OBS frame to 2005 axles.

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Project Artemis: A classic Ford F-250 for exploring off the beaten path – Terry McGean @Hemmings


Godzilla goes overlanding

It’s a big, wide world out there, with lots to see and do, but not all of it can be reached via paved highways. The urge to explore has motivated humans for centuries and, even in our highly developed world, there are remote places left undisturbed. But how can you get there for some R&R, and then back to the rat race, inside of your little sliver of time off? The answer lies with “overlanding.

”Though the term isn’t new, in its current use, overlanding describes the growing trend of off-road exploration with motor vehicles where roads, trails, camping grounds, and any other developed facilities are not anticipated. Enthusiasts of this pursuit will tell you it’s all about self-reliance. When you head out into the boonies for an overland excursion, the expectation is that there will be no amenities to rely on where you’re headed. No place to plug in, no drinking water, no place to stock up on supplies—all necessities and provisions must come along for the ride

Our overlanding truck project began with an idea and one of Ford’s Godzilla 7.3-liter V-8 crate engines, but soon snared a subject: A 1997 Ford F-250 four-door 4×4 pickup. KTL Restorations in Danville, Virginia, is handling the build. Photo by Magnified Productions.

An overlanding vehicle needs to be able to traverse highways both legally and in relative comfort, yet it must also be ready to divert to untamed country at a moment’s notice. The suspension and powertrain must be capable of getting through rough terrain, and the vehicle must also provide suitable shelter, with accommodations for sleeping, preparing meals, and whatever else might be needed for extended stays off the grid. Part of what separates overlanding from other forms of camping is that there is no camper—no trailer or RV—just the vehicle you drove in. While many off-roaders set up a camp, overlanders typically use their rigs as the campsite—tents are often mounted to the vehicle, as is much of the needed gear. Setting up and breaking down a camp isn’t conducive to covering a lot of ground—overlanders tend to keep moving during their treks, rather than staying in one spot for several days. Overall, an overlanding vehicle is a versatile, nimble rig that is ready to roll on short notice.

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Project Artemis is go! Introducing our Ford F-Series Overland build – @Hemmings


Here comes the Hemmings venture into the world of Overlanding! Wikipedia describes it as “self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal.” Yeah. So, like, what we already do with cars but now with less pavement. We partnered with Ford Performance and KTL Restorations to reimagine a classic truck as the ultimate Overlanding rig that’s as much fun as it is accessible. We combined the monstrous power of Ford’s new 7.3 liter Godzilla crate motor with the timeless good looks of the 9th-gen F-Series, kitted with the latest overlanding gear and a perfect set of custom wheels and earth-trekking rubber.

And we’re about to take you on that journey, the way that only Hemmings could. Project Artemis is go! And if you’re wondering, we named it after the Greek goddess of the wilderness, which seems appropriate. Stand tuned for more articles and videos that tell the story of bringing this truck to life. And if you want to see it in person, we’re targeting the Overland Expo East and 2021 SEMA shows as the first public appearance

We’re well into 2021 – the year after a very strange one. And what have we learned? Well, among other new skills like customizing the background for all our videoconference meetings and learning the Renegade, we figured out how to reinvent travel and get outside in the midst of a global pandemic.

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