4-wheeling is a fun hobby, but it can also be an expensive hobby. There are performance crate engines, custom-built axles, low-geared transfer cases, elaborate rollcages, super-flexy suspensions, ruggedly safe seats, night-slaying off-road lights, and drag-you-out-of-a-big-old-mess winches to buy. Before long your fun hobby becomes a checkbook-killing gold digger. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We started Cheap Truck Challenge as an example of ways to build fun 4x4s for a few dollars. We pick a budget that seems reasonable to most of the people we asked in the industry, and we try our darndest to stick to it. We want a kid with a summer job to be able to buy a 4x4 one summer and fix it up the next. Driving a while before making changes is good advice no matter what your budget. You should drive any truck you buy for a while before you spend time and money changing it (a rule we are often guilty of breaking).
So here is CTC again. For 2015 we have $2,015 to buy something from the classifieds, the back lots, or in that old barn and another $2,015 to soup it up for off-road excellence! Or at least off-road efficiency. Maybe just off-road mediocrity, but at least some semblance of off-road ability. We found four drivers to come up with a project to build on a budget, and then we headed out on an adventure to test their metal and their mettle (look up the difference if you don’t know already). Oh, and spoiler alert: We weren’t looking for a winner; we were just trying to beat the budget.
Think you can build something even cheaper than us? Then do it and go have fun, because cheap trucks rule!