Words: KRISTIE REAL
Photos: BRIAN McGEE
When it comes to truck trends, nothing is probably more polarizing than the Cencal style. For those who aren’t familiar with this style, Cencals are trucks with a huge lift, big wheels and lower profile tires. The trucks usually feature powder-coated or chromed suspension components and some sagging out back. They’re purpose-built for the street and shows.
Haters can’t get over the small tires and big wheels combo, while others criticize the older body style of trucks used. The trend originated in Central California, hence the Cencal name, and has slowly trickled out to the rest of the nation. While it’s either a love it or hate it look, for Canadian Calvin Chapleau, it’s absolute love, and his recent build – a 1996 Ford F-350 – proves it.
“The OBS (Old Body Style) scene has become more popular as the years go on,” he admits. “I feel it will continue to grow, and it’s not going to die out any time soon.” According to Calvin, it’s busier as he’s messaged daily with interest in the old school trucks (junks, as some would say). “My builds have been inspiring to many, and people have become very motivated to build more old school vehicles.”
Besides his own builds as inspo, Calvin attributes social media and the Internet for the spike in interest in the scene. “The older trucks draw more interest than newer vehicles.” He also notes that more and more enthusiasts are interested in the OBS game since the vehicles look so different from what’s currently out there, adding how everything else that’s out there is “boring and the same.”
Since the last time we touched base with Calvin (LFTD & LVLD Issue 15), he’s been busy grinding and pushing out more Cencal OBS projects – here and in Canada. “Teaming up with TIS wheels and Dropstars wheels have been a big part of my game since 2016.” For this current Ford F-350 build, he wanted something that would always be popular no matter “how long the game continues and changes.” For him, the truck is the “OG of custom frames, and he’s had a vision of the build in his head ever since he was a kid. Just recently, he felt compelled to turn that dream into reality.
“This style of truck and its body lines are two of my very favorites,” he describes. “I wanted something that would be different than the ones I have witnessed at other shows.” Because this build was so unique, he needed the best and searched for companies that would fit his original vision. He also teamed up with RYD Motorsports to create a game plan for the one- off frame and fully fabricated 24” suspension.
Cencal trucks are elaborate AF, and this one is no different. You name it, and this truck has undergone it – from polishing and finishing to powder coating and everything in between. The white with red accents was perfected by Kap Collision (Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada) and meant to be simple and subtle with just a dash of flash. Adorning the truck are BAMFled Off Road Lighting accessories and Outlaw LEDs. Accessories include Hornblasters, four XS Power Batteries, and a Boost Bars grille, to name a few.
Performance is just as important as looks for Calvin, so he added a custom-built transmission, K&N intake, MBRP exhaust, and SCT Programmer with a custom tune for added power. Inside, he went with RoadWire leather interiors and a Rockford Fosgate audio system.
A build of this caliber is usually not without a few challenges, but Calvin got lucky. He noted that the companies he chose to work with were on top of everything and were able to provide him with exactly what was needed and on time. “This made the process so much easier and less stressful for me.”
According to Calvin, this build is on a whole other level for him. “Everything on the truck was either custom-built or bought brand new. I feel it far exceeds my expectations. It will be difficult to top this build.” But like the true customizer he is, he’ll use this build as motivation to go bigger and better with whatever is next! “I’ll continue to build in the same category, but with a twist to be different from the others. As he currently basks in the glory of building one of his dream rigs, he’s already working on what’s next. “I don’t want to say too much, but we are coming in red hot with our 1992 Dodge Cummins soon!”