With the edge taken off the summer's heat, it was time for a major-league 4x4 and truck show in Phoenix. Drivers and their tricked rides made the trek to Arizona from all over the Southwest, converging at Firebird International Raceway for the Tire Pros-sponsored Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals.
This has been an annual show for several years, and it grows bigger -- and better -- with each successive event. The show features something for everyone, whether you're into sky'd pavement pounders, rock buggies, show trucks, or used and abused 'wheeling rigs.
The Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals featured show-'n'-shine contests, manufacturers' vehicle displays and testdrives, vendor booths, and the requisite bikini contest. Action events included monster truck and motocross freestyling, a tough truck competition, and drag races on the 1-mile-long asphalt. Here's a look at the fun and games at the Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals. Enjoy!
On Saturday, the Equalizer went for broke by jumping the railroad tie pile and bent a wheel upon landing. The crowd went wild and the Equalizer kept up the show despite the floppy tire. On Sunday, the truck again impressed spectators with some truly lofty action.
Nissan was on hand, showing off Shawn Williams' custom Frontier and a factory prototype version of the upcoming '04 Titan fullsize truck. The yellow Street Concepts-built Nissan will be featured in an upcoming issue of OFF-ROAD.
FST of Phoenix had a number of its creations on display. This Dodge Dakota was well-modified, with a straight axle swap, a linked suspension, and gnarly treads.
In 1955, Chevy built the Suburban sans 4WD or a dualie version. Barry Ellis of Tucson, Arizona, has both features on his Sub'. He added the custom outer skirts on the rear, and has a total of six Super Swampers stuffed under the fenders. Along with plenty of chrome, Barry's Suburban has plenty of go under the hood. A Weiand blower sits beneath dual carbs and atop a healthy Chevy V-8. Note the intricate painted flames under the hood.
The monster truck freestyle featured six competitive trucks playing in the dirt and asphalt on the infield track. Snakebite wowed the crowd with some lengthy wheel stands.
The tough truck show featured a tire pit, railroad tie crossing, rock pile, and timed obstacle course. The crowd favorite, Redneck Hooker (yes, that's what he signed in as), put on quite a show jumping the pit, but a broken axle later in the race put him out of commission with a DNF.
Mark Avakian brought his '74 Toyota FJ-40 to the show 'n' shine. The FJ was super-clean, but well prepped for trail use.
The Shocker sported the wildest body panels on a narrow chassis. The truck managed to catch plenty of air with precise throttle action going into one of the car sets. There's nothing quite like seeing 10,000 pounds of truck up in the air.
Called the "Beater Jeep," Tye Jones' monstrous '77 Jeep J20 sports Rockwell axles and four-wheel steering. Tons of lift and huge Michelins put this long-wheelbase rig high enough to clear almost any obstacle.
Vendors were also showing off desert buggies and sandrails. Geiser Brothers had this beautifully engineered race chassis parked on the midway. It garnered plenty of attention with its detailed fabrication.
Chevy Trucks had a sizeable display, showing off new models and concept trucks. There were also a few restored classic trucks and a shiny new Hummer H2 on display.
Ford Super Duty trucks seemed to be the vehicle of choice for sporting tall lifts and big tires. Ryan Troutt's flamed '03 F-250 sits on 39.5-inch-diameter Super Swampers and is suspended by King coil shocks.
A number of vendors were on hand with trick, tubular rock buggies. Many were skinned out in custom aluminum or fiberglass body panels.