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Here’s something you don’t see every day. An Indiana man modified a 1985 F-150 by flipping its body around 180 degrees. Now, you can drive the truck down the highway entirely backward. Unsurprisingly, the police didn’t take too kindly to a truck that appeared to be reversing on the interstate highway, and its owner was pulled over 22 times in one year. Here’s how this wild rig works.

This 1985 Ford F-150 is a ‘backward’ truck

The grille of a 1985 Ford F-150 pickup truck modified to drive backwards, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway visible in the background.
Modified 1985 Ford F-150 | 1320 Video via YouTube

Our story begins with a regular 1985 “bullnose” generation Ford F-150. It was equipped with the 300 cubic-inch I6 and finished with red/tan two-tone paint. After tackling every job that came its way for 20 years, the truck’s engine finally blew in 2004. Its owner at the time decided to sell it for scrap prices.

An Indiana-based car modifier who admits he already “has way too much crap lying around” couldn’t let the truck be scrapped and bought it up. He knew it needed an engine but wanted to do a unique build. One night, he and his father-in-law had a couple of beers while debating what to do with the truck. The older man mentioned he’d always wanted to build a backward truck.

Maybe the father-in-law had once seen the classic “Backup Pickup” do its wheelstand show at a drag race. Whatever the reason, the two men flipped the truck’s body and bed around while dropping a V8 in it. Two long Saturdays later, their backward pickup truck was complete.

On their first drive, they had it up to 50 mph, and everything worked as it should. Then an oncoming car slammed on its brakes and pulled into the parking lot of a nearby elementary school. The woman driving it got out and immediately called the cops. The builders realized just how unnerving it must be to see a truck that appears to be reversing at highway speeds. But they decided to keep driving it.

The backward truck is a complete cop magnet

A man climbs into the backward cab of a modified Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Modified 1985 Ford F-150 | 1320 Video via YouTube

In the backward truck’s first year, the police pulled it over 22 times. One police officer parked on an overpass said he was so worried about a pickup truck driver reversing down the interstate that he would have jumped off the bridge to stop it more quickly if he could have.

But the backward truck’s owners were thorough. They had replaced the running lights in the grille (at the back-front) with red brake lights. They had replaced the running lights on the bed (now the front-back) with headlights. The driver could see out the back window and had operational steering and brakes. In fact, the only warning the police ever gave the truck was for its lack of windshield wipers on the rear window–which had now become the windshield.

The backward F-150‘s working lights, steering, and brakes didn’t do much to reassure the average citizen. The truck’s owner says one of the most common responses to the truck is to call the police. Things got so bad that the police in DeMotte, Indiana, took out an ad in the local paper to reassure the public that they had inspected the backward truck and would be ignoring calls to warn them about it.

How does a backward truck even work?

Bird's-eye view of the V8 engine in the bed of a modified 1985 Ford F-150 truck that drives backward.
Modified 1985 Ford F-150 | 1320 Video via YouTube

The backward 1985 Ford F-150’s builders spun its cab and bed 180 degrees. So its front wheels are now in its rear wheel wells and vice-versa. But its front wheels still steer, and its back wheels still drive.

The builders cut holes in the truck’s bed for the engine and radiator. They also mounted the brake system’s master cylinder, battery, and other peripherals in the bed. Because the driver now sits a bit further back than stock, they must have also extended the steering shaft.

Inside the cab, the builders spun everything around too. The truck’s bench seat now faces the back window, and the dashboard is mounted below the same window. The builders cut the cab and bed apart, building a box in the bed to give the driver and passengers a bit more legroom. The truck is still fairly cramped. But with the tailgate removed, visibility is alright.

So what’s under the backward truck’s hood? Just its gas tank and rear axle.

Yeah, it can do a burnout

A modified 1985 Ford F-150 that can drive backwards does a burnout at the Indianapolis Speedway, a crowd visible in the background.
Modified 1985 Ford F-150 | 1320 Video via YouTube

Driving a backward truck is not especially convenient. Constant calls to the police made it even more of a pain. Eventually, the backward truck’s builders chose to take it off the road. But it is still around.

The backward truck reemerged in the Cleetus and Cars burnout contest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and starred on 1320 Video’s YouTube (embedded below). Because it has skinny tires in the back and fat tires up front–to complete its backward illusion–it can burn some serious rubber.

Next, read about a custom upside-down pickup truck or see the backward truck in action in the video below. Note that the truck inspires some loud and NSFW reactions from the crowd.