Nov 2023

Some builders transcend the boundaries of convention, transforming restoration into an opportunity for unprecedented innovation. Enter Morgan Clarke of MCD1 and his remarkable recreation, Vivian, the 1973 Ford F100 prerunner. What was initially intended as a mere rebuild of Eric Conner’s Tundra from a rollover evolved into a testament to bespoke design—a work of automotive art. From the beautiful metal work that transcends fabrication norms of everything you can expect out of a truck, from the Baja Designs nestle behind the front bumper and the 16 switch sPOD BantamX controls all the 12V accessories on this truck. We had an opportunity to link up with Eric to see Vivian in person to cruise around downtown Los Angeles for some sightseeing.

Eric Conner’s Ford F100 affectionately known as Vivian, started out as an early 2000s Toyota Tundra Prerunner, and after a bad crash in the desert, it was time to rebuild the truck. So he handed it off to Morgan Clarke from MCD1 to handle the task of bringing the truck back to life. While ripping off the cab, the project developed a severe case of scope creep and snowballed into a complete truck rebuild. The only original part left on the truck was the 3ft section of the frame. 

Eric has always wanted a 1973 Ford F100 hot rod truck, so he thought, why not use this opportunity to build a new truck? The result is nothing short of spectacular. The suspension is similar to what you would see on a Trophy Truck racing down in Baja; when measuring the amount of wheel travel, they use the unit of feet instead of inches.Even the interior has been completely rebuilt with the design ethos of luxury prerunner, complete with PRP Racing Seats, GPS, and even air conditioning. 

Powering the truck is a V8 Chevy LS Moruzzi Race Motor, making over 700HP. With a patina rusty cab combined with high horsepower, this truck is the exact definition of a hot rod. Just look at the custom fabrication from Morgan on the truck, every tube and sheetmetal design was methodically designed to provide a certain aesthetic that has a simple yet elegant ethos of the build.  

Up front, Morgan Clarke built a bash bar reminiscent of what you would typically see on race trucks built in the 80s and 90s, often referred to as “cattle pushers.” You can probably guess why. Behind it are five Baja Designs LP9s, and in the headlights are Baja Designs LP6s, which look right at home. But if you look even closer at this build, you will see an excess of Baja Designs, from the S1s in the grille to the 10″ S8s in the upper section of the grill. It is a subtle but defined look that only sticks out upon a closer look. 

Powering all the accessories on this beautiful F100 Prerunner are two sPOD BantamX with a custom raw machined HD Panel good for 16 circuits. Each BantamX gives Eric 30 amps per circuit rated at 100amps at a max rating. Whether he is tying in his fuel pump or ignition or running solely on the Baja Designs off-road lights, there will be access to 200 amps. 

The sPOD BantamX units come equipped with built-in Bluetooth technology, giving Eric the freedom to program and control his system from any wireless device, with a wide range of programming options available, including output dimming, strobing, flashing, master-slave functions, memory, auto power-up, momentary settings, input, and more that can be controlled through the app as well.  

Vivian is more than just another prerunner; it is a hot rod made for the desert, but it looks right at home in downtown Los Angeles, complimentary of the rusty patina. With Eric’s business So Cal Suspension hand painted on the door it reminiscent of an old shop truck that could be seen driving around LA from business to business on any day of the week. Eric has spent nearly every other weekend for the past few months taking it to the desert and abusing it. sPOD even used it for their SEMA display vehicle, which also had Baja Designs DOT LP6 headlights nestled in the grill.

The collaborative effort between Morgan Clarke and Eric Conner resulted in the transformation of the 1973 F100 Prerunner, Vivian, into an automotive masterpiece that marries vintage aesthetics with cutting-edge technology, boasting a V8 Chevy LS Moruzzi Race Motor, Baja Designs lighting, and sPOD BantamX control systems. This restoration transcends norms, combining master metalwork, a rustic patina cab, and an insane Trophy Truck suspension setup, exemplifying a remarkable fusion of tradition and innovation in automotive design.