When you see a rig that says "Outlaw" plastered across it, one might think, "This guy must be a wannabe bad guy, or he thinks he is too tough for his own good." But when we spotted Dan Countryman's ultra-clean Toyota FJ40 on the Rubicon last year, we knew we needed to take a closer look. Querying the subject further, we discovered that the owner, as his surname would imply, was much more a countryman than a roughneck, and the "Outlaw" component of the FJ was the cool billet aluminum grille. The other upshot was that the Outlaw Cruiser turned out to be one of the cleanest cruisers out there.
Regular trips to California's Gold Country in the back seat of his grandfather's '47 Willys planted the seed for his future adventures to the backcountry. In 2000, a friend's aunt was ready to part with her bone-stock '72 Cruiser, replete with the original hubcaps. With a decade of desert racing and working on the pit crew for a Top Fuel dragster, Countryman had a clear understanding of what it would take to build a topnotch rig. Enter the OutlawCruiser.
Stripped to the framerails, the focus became sourcing a laundry list of heavy-duty and reliable parts. On a country road near home, he spotted a couple of old farm trucks in a local vineyard. Dollars changed hands, and he drove away with a high-pinion Ford 1-ton and Dana 60 axles. A list of other parts, including a crate Chevy 350 mill complete with a Whipple blower and 700-R4 tranny were located at local wreckers. Then the UPS guy began to arrive each day bearing booty from ARB, Advance Adapters, Downey, Warn, and Interco. The tub and frame were then cleaned, gusseted, boxed, and prepped for the new drivetrain and suspension.
Calling in favors and assistance from friends, the project started coming together. The axles were narrowed, and the high-pinion Ford 1-ton, which was originally a front unit, was placed in the rear. To address proper lubrication to the bearings and ring-and-pinion, a custom oil galley was crafted into the housing. With the springs hung and the ARB-equipped axles installed, drivelines were home-fabbed and mated to a 4.3 Atlas II transfer case. The cage and tube fenders were designed by Dan and fabricated by Monkey Bars Off Road. Finishing touches were a custom bikini top from Roman's Upholstery and six coats of custom Outlaw Orange PPG paint. Becoming fully immersed in Cruiser culture, he took it upon himself to design and build a one-piece billet aluminum grille. The grille was so popular with his Cruiser buddies that he started Outlaw Billet Grilles.
If you look closely at the Outlaw Cruiser, you'll see parts from hot rods, drag cars, boats, import cars, and a set of mirrors from a Harley-Davidson. We thought this orange crusher of a cruiser was worth noting. We think you'll agree.