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
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.
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.