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1981 Dodge W350 - Big Yellow

Posted in Features on May 1, 2009
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Photographers: Ray Bork

What do you do when you're out of work from your job pouring concrete? You build yourself a mud-slinging, fire breathing monster, of course. It's gotta be huge and mean and nasty with lockers and Dana 60's and 44 inch tires and whatever else you can fit in there.

While having all the time in the world is nice, it's the money that becomes the issue when you're not working. So, 21-year-old Derek Rose of Richmond, Michigan had to build this rig on a budget. True, $15,000 sounds like a lot of money, but compare that to a new truck. And consider the fact that he started and finished the entire frame-off restoration in only seven months.

Like most guys in the Midwest who build trucks, Derek wanted to be able to tackle large helpings of both mud and sand. He got what he wanted. The 44-inch Swampers and 13 inches of total lift put him eye-to-eye with semi-trucks. Firm Skyjacker springs combined with his unique, handmade third links create a package with almost zero axle wrap. That's perfect for pulling guys out, which he does regularly at Michigan's Silver Lake Sand Dunes ORV Park on the shores of Lake Michigan.

And as you would expect from a man with his feet firmly planted on concrete, he loves to put his rig in the clouds.

VEHICLE: "Yellow Banana"
OWNER: Derek Rose of Richmond, Michigan
CHASSIS: 1981 {{{W350}}} OEM frame
ENGINE: 360 V-8, mild top end rebuild
DRIVETRAIN: 727 Torqueflite trans w/ manual valve body, B&{{{M}}} mega shifter, Dana 60 front
w/Detroit Truetrac, Dana 60 rear w/Detroit Locker, 5.13 gears, NP 205 divorced
transfercase, 1350 Spicer and 1410 joints and yokes on custom driveshafts.
FRONT SUSPENSION: Skyjacker leaf spring w/ third link, custom drop hangers, skyjacker shocks
REAR SUSPENSION: Skyjacker leaf w/ third link, handmade flipped shackles, Skyjacker shocks
STEERING: Crossover with AGR reverse gearbox
BRAKES: Factory disc front, EGR offroad disc conversion rear, stainless lines
TIRES/WHEELS: 44-inch Super Swamper Boggers on steel rock crawler 16x12's.
INTERIOR: Corbeau seats, stainless steel dash & console
OTHER PARTS: Each electrical accessory on its own switch and breaker, Bushwacker flares,
handmade 25-gallon fuel tank, front and rear Reese hitch, Remote trans cooler
with custom cage, lots of cool diamond plate to strengthen key areas
FUTURE PLANS: 500 hp P pump 12-valve Cummins
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