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Little Red Zuk - 1987 Suzuki Samurai

Posted in Features on October 22, 2002 Comment (0)
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Four years ago, Casey Boyd decided that four-wheeling would make for a nice break from his job as a plumber. So he read a few magazines and started looking for a rig. His first choice was an '87 Suzuki Samurai because it was both cheap and capable. After playing with it on the trail for a while, though, Casey began the inevitable modifications.

The first big hurdle, of course, was money. He and a few friends did some of the initial work, but once Casey had some cash set aside, he took his Suzuki to Grady's Extreme Offroad in Rancho Cordova, California. Grady had originally designed and built the quarter-elliptical rear suspension for this rig, and Casey was so pleased with the work that he brought it back to have Grady's take it to the next level. The build-up began by stripping the rig down to the bare frame and welding in a new rollcage. The frame and tubes were then sandblasted and powdercoated Cardinal Red.

When Grady's originally installed the rear quarter-elliptical suspension, it had also installed Sway-A-Way Race Runner 2.0 16-inch shocks and then bobbed the rear frame 14 inches while adding 18 inches to the front of the frame for more wheelbase stability. Capitalizing on this design, it went on to install a custom four-link coilover system up front that also uses Sway-A-Way Race Runner 2.0 16-inch shocks.

Casey decided to hold on to the stock Toyota axles but had both the front and rear equipped with ARB lockers and 5.71 gears. All four corners are capped with 15x10-inch MRT beadlock wheels and Super Swamper TSL-SX 38.5x14.50x15 rubber.

Sending power to this setup is a '95 Vortec V-6, a TH350 tranny, and a Toyota T-case. The only modifications to the engine include a K&N filter and a Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust. A Griffin aluminum radiator, two Spal 2,000-cfm fans, and a Perma Cool Maxi cooler keep everything cool.

The tranny is equipped with a reverse valve body, and the transfer case is filled with Marlin Crawler 4.7:1 gears that produce a final drive ratio of 135:1. Downey supplied the adapter to mate the GM transmission and Toyota T-case, while Howell retro-designed the computer unit and custom wiring harness to make it all work together.

For steering chores, Casey looked to All Pro Off Road for its High Steer steering arms, which were coupled with an AGR Rock Ram unit. The steering wheel itself came from Grant, while the Wilwood quick-disconnect allows easy driver entry. Inside, Casey decided on the comfort of Beard suspension seats.

Grady's designed the custom brush-finished dash, which is outfitted with Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges. The bed and floor of the rig are permanently protected with Dupli-Color roll-on bedliner. For those cold winters, a custom heater was installed under the dash, and all the wiring was seen to by Yawan Smith of Premier Power Welder.

To look at this rig, you would think it was finished, but Casey still has more plans. Later this year, the Suzuki will be getting a new Dana 44 up front. Just like the rest of us, Casey will never really be done with his rig. If you keep an eye out on the trails in northern California, you might find this little Zuk climbing the big rocks.

02124wd 00zoom+1987 Suzuki Samurai+Front Passengers Side View Slanted On Rocks
The wide-open interior includes Beard seats, a Grant steering wheel, and a custom aluminum dash filled with Auto Meter gauges. The wide-open interior includes Beard seats, a Grant steering wheel, and a custom aluminum dash filled with Auto Meter gauges.
The quarter-elliptical rear was custom-built by Grady's Extreme Offroad and uses Sway-A-Way Race Runner shocks. The quarter-elliptical rear was custom-built by Grady's Extreme Offroad and uses Sway-A-Way Race Runner shocks.
Tucked nicely between the framerails is a '95 Vortec V-6 that puts out roughly 200 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Tucked nicely between the framerails is a '95 Vortec V-6 that puts out roughly 200 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque.
The front suspension consists of a custom four-link setup with coilovers. The stock axle housing is equipped with an ARB locker and 5.71 gears. The front suspension consists of a custom four-link setup with coilovers. The stock axle housing is equipped with an ARB locker and 5.71 gears.
The impressive 'cage work was fabricated by Grady's, then sandblasted and powdercoated Cardinal Red. The impressive 'cage work was fabricated by Grady's, then sandblasted and powdercoated Cardinal Red.
02124wd 06zoom+1987 Suzuki Samurai+Front View Descending On Rocks
02124wd 07zoom+1987 Suzuki Samurai+Rear Drivers Side View

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