LGE-CTS Creates the First Off-Road-Ready ’18 Expedition
LGE-CTS creates the first off-road–ready ’18 Ford Expedition
When you build custom vehicles for a living, you constantly have to set the bar higher and build something to show off your skills, your products, or, in this case, both. This ’18 Ford Expedition was designed, built, and painted at LGECTS Motorsports in San Dimas, California, a family business helmed by Theresa Contreras, her sister Sara Morosan, and their father Louie. They have put their custom stamp on everything motorsports related, including hot rods, motorcycles, lowriders, muscle cars, and, of course, a lot of trucks. From laid-out show vehicles to off-road race rigs and everything in-between, LGE-CTS Motorsports has been there—and built it. This project allowed the crew to show off their knowledge, design abilities, and fabrication work all in one build for the 2017 SEMA Show. Since the new Expedition was a complete redesign from previous versions, many products used on it needed to be designed and fabricated without a template from which to work. These initial oneoff builds can be difficult to develop, but the crew made it happen and made it look good.
The first step in changing the Ford was to modify its factory stance. LGE-CTS installed an Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.5-inch Stage 2 lift kit that was custom built and designed using this SUV as the prototype for the kit, which will be in production soon. It consists of 2.5-inch coilovers at all four corners with remote reservoirs and is equipped with CDC valves for 10 levels of compression adjustability. The front has a tubular upper arm with an Icon
Delta Joint. The truck received Hellwig Products sway bars to help not only with the sway when the truck is traversing paved and unpaved paths but also load control to deal with the planned weight that would be added from accessories.
Some of the immediately noticeable changes on the Expedition were to the exterior, which now has an aggressive yet understated appearance. Theresa is a custom painter first and foremost, so she designed the layout of the paint scheme. She then worked with her team in their paint department to spray the custom mix of PPG Paint with the goal of highlighting the Expedition in a few different ways to make it pop. Besides the subtle blue base color, there are even more subtle shades of grays and blues used to accentuate the bodylines down the sides of the SUV as well as on the hood and tailgate. Gold pinstriping was added, and many factory trim pieces that might appear stock were reworked and coated in matte gray and black. At this point in the build, Theresa worked closely with her father Louie to design and build all the one-off parts that would eventually be produced for the company’s Baja Forged product line. They cranked out a front bumper with a skidplate, LED lightbar mount for the front bumper, rear bumper, roof rack, and fender flares coated in matte black paint. Topping off the roof rack is an ARB USA Rooftop Tent and Awning for those weekends when they just want to get away and enjoy the landscape.
Of all the custom touches LGE-CTS does in-house, interior is not one of them. The crew turns to Rogelio’s Auto Upholstery in Baldwin Park when the time comes to make the inside as cool as its outward appearance. Theresa designs and discusses each build with Rogelio to get on the same page regarding how she wants the overall look. With all the factory options today, including heated seats and factory airbags, the interior just needed some upgrades to make it stand out from a stock SUV. The factory leather seats were modified to include blue and gray leather inserts with yellow/ gold stitching. An ARB fridge/freezer combo unit was installed in the back, and a couple of ARB camping chairs are available for any potential adventures—which is what this Ford was built to do.
The Expedition was a first-day debut at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in the
Ford main booth and received a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in Design from Ford. Ford then took it on tour to the L.A. and Detroit auto shows. Besides weekend adventures to Death Valley and beyond, the SUV is now used at local events to promote LGE-CTS Motorsports while showing potential clients what can be done for them.