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Custom Built 1974 Scout II - Spare Parts

In The River
James J. Weber | Writer
Posted January 1, 2001
Photographers: Randall Jachmann

A Rolling Business Card

"My first Scout II was a hand-me-down from my father when I was 16. Then it got to be too bad for restoration so I had to buy my current one in the fall of 1994," says 28-year-old Erick Foor of Annapolis, Maryland. Upon purchasing his second Scout II, a newer and slightly less used '74 version, Erick began transferring every usable part from his first Scout II to the newer one. In the process of restoring his second Scout II, he also managed to open East Coast Scouts, his own shop that specializes in the restoration, repair, and custom fabrication of Scouts.

Having used the donor Scout II for mud racing and heavy-duty off-roading, Erick stripped every usable part from the rig so that he could use them on his new creation. Since he previously had 42-inch Super Swampers on his mud racer, he decided that a more street-friendly and an all-around better tire size would be somewhere close to 39 inches. With this size factored into his design, he began working on what is truly one of the most impressive suspension and drivetrain systems we've ever seen on a Scout II.

Since a plethora of items would be attached to the frame, Erick began by having it fully boxed with all the holes welded shut and smoothed over. He also had the front, fixed spring mounts gusseted and the steering box reinforcement plate strengthened. The factory front axle is a '78 Dana 44 unit, which was cut and turned 6 degrees to positive caster. Consisting of front springs that have custom-made extended main leaf springs mounted to 2-inch Driveguard shackles on top of the axle, a 4-inch Trail Master suspension lift holds the new Dana 44 unit in position. Invader SS shocks are gusseted to the spring hangers to soften the ride. The Spicer 4.88 gears, which were set up by Erick, ensure that traction will be available anytime, anywhere. Erick paid special attention to the steering system by choosing to fabricate a dropped drag link unit with replaceable ends mounted to a Trail Master stabilizer, complete with polished hardware. The rear axle is also a '78 Dana 44 unit, which has Spicer 4.88 gearing and a Detroit Locker.

In following with the frontend setup, the same 4-inch Trail Master springs and 2-inch Driveguard shackles were called upon for the lift. Controlling the rear spring movement are dual Invader SS shocks, acting like kicker shocks when mounted to the center of the axle. Chrome lower link bars were custom-made using 1x1.56 wall chrome-moly tubing with 3/4-inch chrome-moly rod ends. The rear axle was moved back 1 inch for centering in the wheelwell and for additional tire clearance. Energy Suspension urethane spring and body bushings replaced the worn rubber units. All bolts holding the suspension together are Grade-8 quality and polished. With the additional height, the driveshafts needed to be lengthened 2 inches, while Spicer CV joints were attached and 1,310-series heavy-duty U-joints were installed. When all was said and done, the 39x18.50x15 Boggers on Weld 15x12 wheels fit like a charm.

The powerplant for his Scout II comes in the form of a balanced, blueprinted, and bored '78 IH 392ci V-8. Having been bored 0.060 with a new compression ratio of 9:1, the power is where Erick wants and needs it to be. Wanting to guarantee that cooling was not an issue, he installed a 10-quart oil system from a Loadstar truck along with an accompanying high-volume oil pump. A Prestolite distributor with Taylor wires and a high-voltage coil ensure that every spark available is being used. The intake system was bored, ported, and topped off with an Edelbrock 1406 carburetor.

As if he needed more power, Erick replaced the factory headers and mufflers with a set of Stans headers and dual two-chamber Flowmaster mufflers. For performance and looks, all bolts on the engine are 12-point stainless ARP fasteners, and all hose clamps are polished marine-grade stainless steel.

Mounted to the engine is a reworked T-127 transmission courtesy of Bob's Transmission Service in Glen Burnie, Maryland. A Branting Industries 2,500-stall converter with Torrington Bearings are part of the internal components, as well as a B&M Trans Pack, which helps to provide the crisp shifts that are needed while traversing the rugged terrain of everyday life. Ensuring that things stay at a normal operating temperature, a Permacool transmission cooler was installed to be on the safe side. The Dana 300 transfer case with a 2.61 Low gear was also rebuilt by Erick.

To have form follow function, Erick chose to update the ancient braking system on the Scout II with a four-wheel disc brake system. Using Willwood discs, all calipers, rotors, and caliper-mounting brackets from the front of the vehicle to the back were modified to fit the axles. Custom Earl's braided stainless steel lines circulate from the front discs to the rear discs while stopping at the Willwood adjustable proportioning valve to help prevent and control rear wheel lockup. For added safety and durability, stainless braided vent hoses in the front and rear were attached to K&N breathers.

Turning his attention to the paint and bodywork, Erick called upon his two good friends, Mark Brown and Dave Parsons, for their expertise. Able to locate new OEM factory body panels, Erick and friends restored the body back to its original condition, then began to have fun. Before the 2 gallons of Guards Red DuPont Chroma-Premier 7500-series paint were applied to the body, the engine, and the suspension components, more than 30 miscellaneous holes had to be filled and welded. All the emblems were removed as well. With the fresh coat or two of paint applied, the Smittybilt bumpers and chrome steps were attached to the truck. Wanting to set it apart from the rest of the Scout IIs on the road, Erick had Mark Brown airbrush the torn metal effect on the truck, using a variety of colors from House of Kolor's Purple-Granite pearl to the company's Passion-Teal pearl. The effect is stunning. In addition, a wide range of polished stainless steel items, courtesy of Bill Tucker, were added to help complete the overall clean and updated appearance.

The interior is equally impressive because the dashboard matches the body of the truck. The billet dash knobs and the steering column kit with the aluminum Grant steering wheel create a seamless transition from inside to outside. The Recaro LSC seats were reupholstered in tweed and black vinyl by Z Upholstery. The stock gauges are augmented by Auto Meter Pro-Lite oil-filled units complete with a 5-inch monster tachometer. A Smittybilt rollcage is attached to the factory rollbar. All the screws in the interior are polished stainless steel. For sound, a Sony CD player feeds two Earthquake amplifiers into a full-range enclosure with two 12-inch subs. The front sound is from a set of Cerwin-Vega component speakers.

By looking at the pictures of this awesome rig, it comes as no surprise that this Scout II has taken Best of Show, Best Paint, Best Undercarriage - you get the point. According to Erick, while the finished product took only six months to build, he vows that it will never really be complete. Future modifications include a front shackle reverse rear quarter elliptical suspension and possibly smaller tires for off-road purposes only.

The last words we heard from Erick were, "I like winning at the various shows, but I miss four-wheeling with the truck and am looking forward to using it for what Scout IIs were meant to be used for." You can't say that we do not agree with him. We will hold a spot on the trail for you, Erick.

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