Desolate Times Require Desolate Measures
If you're ever meandering down Lambert Road in Whittier, California, you might catch a glimpse of a free-standing sign perched nonchalantly next to the street. "Desolate Motorsports," it reads. "Lift kits. Metal fabrication." An arrow points toward the shop, located aft of an unassuming strip mall.
"My location is actually a good thing," comments owner Greg Gilbert. "Since my shop is a little tougher to find, I notice that customers who come in not only know about Desolate Motorsports, but they're more informed and have a better idea of what they want to do with their trucks."
Desolate first appeared on Off-Road's radar when Matt Langan took top honors in the prerunner class at the '04 MDR Lucerne 250 driving a Desolate-built F-150. "I just drove a little harder and a little smarter than everyone else," Matt told us at the time.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Desolate Motorsports and see what Greg and crewmembers Nick Lopez, Matt Carter, and Danny Cannon have been up to during the last few years. Langan's prerunner-class entry has grown into a full-fledged Class 8 truck with a fire-breathing V8 and full fiberglass bodywork. Customer Mike Wahl employed Desolate's talents to build a 7S Ford Ranger that netted a podium finish after 584 hot, dusty miles between Vegas and Reno. Finally, Greg himself chanced upon an already-built F-150 prerunner that was too good a deal to pass up.
Keep reading. The next few pages showcase an impressive trio of trucks.
When Time Is of the Greatest Essence"With the demands of a growing business, and deadlines coming sooner rather than later on customers' vehicles, I couldn't see myself ever being able to take the time to build a prerunner like this one," confides Greg.
This F-150 has a stock frame, a stock steel cab, a license plate, and functional A/C. It's also got a few drops of Trophy Truck flowing through its veins. Tom McKenzie of Suspension Innovation applied his talents and otherworldly attention to detail to this 1/2-ton. To see more of Tom's work, look back a few issues to "Coming Full Circle" from November 2006.
"Tom originally built this truck for my good friend Aaron Stein," Greg relates. "I fell in love with it at first sight. Aaron soon sold the truck to another good friend of mine, and just a few months after that, I was able to sell off a few half-finished projects and purchase the truck. As a racer, I saw this as the 'perfect prerunner.' Besides the fact that it is four-wheel-drive, the quality of the fab work is topnotch. It's 100-percent TIG-welded, and 100-percent chrome-moly was used. Every surface Tom worked on has been either painted or powdercoated."
In purchasing this truck, Greg not only saved himself a lot of time, he also saved himself a wad of cash. Although we're not going to reveal the dollar figure, trust us that it was a steal.