If you get out in the dirt much, then you have likely noticed that Ford Rangers rule the whoops while Jeeps and Toyotas reign supreme in the rocks. What about all of the other makes and models out there though? Isuzus are often overlooked as the basis for an off-road vehicle, but Rodeos and Amigos can be capable platforms. They come equipped from the factory with powerful engines, rugged frames, and Dana 44 rear axles with disc brakes. These vehicles are also available for thousands less than their Jeep, Toyota, and Ford counterparts.
Jake Hallenbeck has built numerous off-road rides in the past, so he was not daunted by the lack of aftermarket support for Isuzus. Hallenbeck knew that he had the skills to fabricate everything needed for his latest project: an Isuzu Rodeo. "I'll never buy another Toyota again," Hallenbeck boldly proclaimed while we were shooting photos of his Isuzu.
After seeing how well the Rodeo works in a variety of terrain, we can't say that we blame him.
The '93 Rodeo was purchased for only $2,500, yet the interior and exterior were in showroom condition, complete with comfortable bucket seats, power windows, and power door locks. Add a healthy 175hp V-6, automatic overdrive transmission, and geardriven transfer case, and the deal looked even better. Hallenbeck knew that more ground clearance, suspension articulation, and gearing was all that were needed to turn the Rodeo into an off-road hero.