FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE '70s
Part 2: Reader Projects We've Known and Loved
Last time, we showcased some wild and wacky ads and articles, from that wild and wacky decade that started with Cat Stevens and ended with Sid Vicious. This time, we pulled out some unique feature rigs that could only have been conceived and built in the Wonder Years.
If there's anything the '70s is remembered for, it's gotta be the omnipresence of the Ultimate Makeout Machine, the 4x4 van. From the mid-'70s to decade's end, just about every copy of Four Wheeler had one of these vehicles in it, and this Quadravan 4x4 conversion proved that just about every square inch of your interior could be covered in plush carpet or sexy velour. We even published a custom van magazine for a while, and you could subscribe to it for only $4.50 a year.
Pickups also got pimped in the '70s, and this F-150 Flareside was a sparkling example. Of note are the fully carpeted bed (who needs Rhino Lining when you've got Carpeteria?) and the way-cool interior with "custom-quilted Trucker seats." We admitted that this rig "was too pretty for serious off-roading," but that obviously didnl't stop us from writing about it anyway.
It also wouldn't be the '70s if you didn't have conversions like this, where the tub of a notoriously lousy car---in this case, a Chevy Vega---was plopped on top of a running 4x4 chassis. This specimen resided on top of a running '68 Wagoneer frame, which had to be chopped eight inches to line up to the Vega body. There's a 327 'Vette motor under the hood, and a 205 Chevy transfer case. Was the plain ol' Wagoneer really that bad?
Yes, you knew there had to be an example of the Ultimate '70s Automotive Nightmare in the magazine, and this Pinto body on a Bronco frame, with a blown 351 and Bronco running gear, was our contribution to the Malaise Era. With an 11-gallon fuel tank and 5mpg mileage, this rig could run "To The Woods and Back Again" and not much further. We kinda like the way this thing looks now, but we wouldn't wanna be too close behind it on the trail all the same.
Last but not least was this eye-popping Harvester from 1978. We like the twin-turbo'd 345 motor (and Scouts back then had the kind of drivetrain that could actually handle the extra power), and we could even live with the meticulous paint and body detailing. But that interior . . . well somebody got rich selling shag carpet back in the '70s. We only know it wasn't us.