I am so happy right now, as I have just dropped off what many ex-girlfriends have referred to as my one true love: my 1994 Dodge Ram. In fact, it's probably cost me a few relationships.
But that's OK, because my Dodge has stayed with me through thick and thin -- except for the year it spent getting engine work done, or the two months it sat at a tranny shop, or the weeks it spent at the drivetrain shop, or the month it was getting new leaf springs .... OK, so maybe my Dodge hasn't always been with me. But I still cherish it as my No. 1 ride.
It's been with me since the end of high school, and I've had a million ideas on how I want to build it, but never deviated from one ultimate goal. In fact, when I couldn't afford to go any further with that goal (and sort of ran out of time, too) I parked it in a garage, only to bring it out occasionally to do work on it or test tires or something.
When I got a job at Petersen's 4 Wheel & Off-Road seven years ago, I took the Dodge with me as a project truck that affectionately got named Jinxy. Why Jinxy? Well, if you're old enough, you might remember a cartoon cat that was always getting the snot beaten out of it by two mice .... That was my truck: it was always getting the snot beaten out of it, and always out of commission for one reason or another. I don't think it's gone more than 2,000 miles since 2000.
The entire time, I've had dreams of turning it into some street legal Class 8 race truck. A full chrome moly rollcage, coilovers and four-links front and rear, beefy but lightweight axles, fiberglass all around, and a 440ci big block mounted in place of the stock small block were all on the top of my list. But this takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and I couldn't help but notice some small voice in the back of my head that kept telling me that I wouldn't enjoy it as much once all that was finished (danged common sense!). Therefore, without a firm decision the truck has sat, patiently, waiting to be finished. And knowing my bias towards Dodges and how easily I could get carried away, I've been keeping it out of the magazine until now so that I didn't go crazy and use an entire issue to build this truck.
But now is the beginning of the end. It is time to finish this truck. I've got a plan, and I'm sticking to it. I've enlisted Off-Road Evolution to help with the build, and a new four-link is getting built right now as I write this story.
Since this truck is a surviving project that already has a fair amount of work done to it, I figured I'd start with what has already been done over the past 13 years. Next month, we'll show what Off-Road Evolution whipped up with the new Fox coilovers, bumpstops, and FK rod ends that I dropped off recently. Stay tuned