Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

New and Improved

Posted in Features on January 1, 2006
Share this
Photographers: The Readers of Four Wheeler

Not everyone wants the headaches and time needed to revive an old rig well past its prime and bring it up to a prime-time trail machine. There are those of us out there who prefer starting with the comfort and style of a newer rig. So here are 13 of the finest newer rigs from the Four Wheeler Readers' Rigs archives.

Lookin' Super
Newer Rig: 2003 Ford F-250
Owner: Frank Biundo
Location: Escondido, California
The details: Here is an excellent example of a well-built and clean Super Duty. Starting with the 6.8L V-10, Crew Cab model, this daily driver has an 11-inch Fabtech lift with dual Bilstein shocks in the front and a single Bilstein setup in the rear. Axis 17-inch street-lock rims give a touch of race feel and are wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich M-Ts.
From the owner: "This is what I drive to work every day and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Serious Sammy
Newer Rig: 1988 Suzuki Samurai
Owner: Mike and Chris Natole
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The details: Mike and Chris have been wheeling since the 1970s, mostly in fullsizes, but when things slowed down in Wisconsin, they had to downsize and found the little 'Zuk in Florida for $1,600. They haven't looked back since. Modifications are too extensive to completely list, and the little Xterra-yellow Sammy is 'wheeled hard wherever it goes. The 31-inch Baja Claws on 15x8 wagon wheels, lockers front and rear, a Calmini transfer case and lift, and underbody protection take the Suzuki deep in to the woods. Homemade bumpers, with Superwinch winches front and rear, get the Sammy out.
From the owner: "Pound for pound, this is one of the best (4x4s) I have ever owned."

Tropical TJ
Newer Rig: 1993 Wrangler Sahara
Owner: Jason K. Shipes
Location: Kailua, Hawaii
The details: USMC Sgt. Jason Shipes knows how to have fun in Hawaii. His pride and joy, this YJ Sahara, features an Explorer Pro Comp Stage 2 Coil Conversion suspension system and 32-inch BFGs. Jason says the stock 4.0L is on its way out and soon he'll be dropping in a Chevy 350 to help turn the 34-inch Boggers he plans on installing. Other goodies include a new NP231 transfer case with a slip-yoke eliminator kit and an extended rear driveshaft. Jason says that in the two years he has been stationed in Hawaii, his trusty Jeep has taken him all over the island and he has never 'wheeled the same trail twice.
From the owner: "I know that there has to be a staff member dying to come to Hawaii to 'wheel with us - well, here is your invitation!" Sounds like a great idea. Whaddaya say, boss? (Boss: Take a number and stand in line, son.)

Rockin' Grand
Newer Rig: 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
Owner: Casey Seamons
Location: Preston, Idaho
The details: This sweet ZJ sports a 5.2L V-8 with a K&N intake and custom 4-inch exhaust. As if the music pouring from the exhaust tip weren't good enough, a 3,000-watt Kenwood audio system rocks, on the rocks. Casey also has plenty of capability from the 4.5-inch Rubicon Express suspension kit with Skyjacker shocks, which make room for the 32x11.50 Mastercraft Courser M/T tires mounted on 15x8 Rebel wheels. Not bad for a 17-year-old, huh?
From the owner: "My favorite thing to do is cruise around in my Jeep, especially on the awesome trails we have up here in the Rockies."

Adventurous Avalanche
Newer Rig: 2003 Chevy Avalanche
Owner: Jeff Rau
Location: Olean, New York
The details: Jeff set out to build a one-of-a-kind 'wheeler and used this 2003 Avalanche 1500 as the basis for his project. Nine inches of lift come courtesy of a Superlift 6-inch suspension system, coupled with a 3-inch Performance Accessories body lift. Driving the 325/80R16 (37-inch) Pro Comp Xterrain tires on Mickey Thompson Classic II 16x10 wheels is a 5.3L Vortec V-8 with an AirRaid intake system, Hypertech Power Programmer, and custom exhaust. The Avalanche is rounded out with a cowl induction hood, billet door handles and grille, and a bull bar with Baja foglights. According to Jeff, next up is a swap to 4.88 gears.
From the owner: "This is my Ultimate Avalanche."

Trail Blazer
Newer Rig: 1999 Chevy ZR2 Blazer
Owner: Frankie James
Location: Pueblo, Colorado
The details: It isn't often you see a built-up ZR2 Blazer on the trail, but Frankie James of Pueblo, Colorado, has just that. With a 5-inch Trail Master suspension lift and 2-inch Performance Accessories body lift, the Blazer has room for 33x10.50 BFGoodrich All-Terrains on 15x10 Rock Crawler steel rims. A K&N air filter and Flowmaster exhaust let the Vortec 4.3L breathe.
From the owner: "I use my ZR2 to go fishing, or out in the mud."

Trail Rated TJ
Newer Rig: 1999 Jeep Wrangler
Owner: Jason and Kathy Jurey
Location: Kennard, Nebraska
The details: This Chili Pepper Red TJ gets its stance from the 3.5-inch Rubicon Express suspension system, 1-inch Teraflex body lift, and 33x12.50 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T-As mounted on polished 15x8 American Racing Nitros. Turbo City headers and a Banks exhaust system help out the otherwise stock 4.0L. Making an already capable package even more so is an M.O.R.E. sport cage, Bulletproof front and rear bumpers, and Durango 4x4 rocker guards.
From the owner: "One time 'wheeling, I had to yell at my wife to jump on the front of the Jeep because the front left wheel was 2 feet off the ground. Needless to say, she will never let me live it down."

Monster Taco
Newer Rig: 2002 Toyota Tacoma
Owner: Mike Finck
Location: Long Island, New York
The details: Mike has a laundry list of mods that he still has planned for his Tacoma, but so far he is doing pretty well with the addition of a 6-inch Fabtech suspension lift and 325/75R16 Pro Comp Xterrains mounted on 16x10 Weld Sidewinder wheels. A billet grille, sunvisor, and Extang tonneau cover do a nice job of show, while the K&N intake, Poweraid throttle-body spacer, and Gibson exhaust system provide the go.
From the owner: "This photo was taken on the north shore of Long Island Sound."

Teal J's Bloodline
Newer Rig: Jeep Wrangler TJ
Owner: Austin Hatcher
Location: Fort Polk, Louisiana
The details: And you thought we were the only ones secure enough to take a teal Jeep out on the trail. It turns out Army Private Austin Hatcher shares our fortitude. His own Teal Wrangler has a 2-inch body lift mounted on top of a Black Diamond 3.5-inch suspension lift, with wide 35x15.50R15 Super Swamper TSL SX tires wrapped around Mickey Thompson 15x10 Classic II wheels. With a locking rear diff and an ARB Safari Snorkel, we'd guess Austin is ready for all of that Louisiana gumbo mud.
From the owner: "I'd love to see my Jeep in your Readers' Rigs section!"

Black Beast
Newer Rig: 1999 Ford Super Duty
Owner: Deron Urbom
Location: Holdrege, Nebraska
The details: People love their Super Duty trucks, and here is another one that has been tweaked to make it just right for its owner. The 5.4L V-8 is a bit mightier with the addition of a Superchips power programmer, a K&N intake, a Poweraid throttle-body spacer, and Gibson after-cat exhaust. A Fabtech 5.5-inch lift allows the truck to ride a little higher, and fits a set of Pro Comp Xterrain tires mounted on Pacer 44 Magnum wheels. Deron uses his daily-driven Super Duty both in the dirt, and to tow his boat.
From the owner: "I enjoy Four Wheeler and have gotten most of my ideas for this pickup from reading the articles."

Sweet Sahara
Newer Rig: 2000 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
Owner: Ryan Ellis
Location: Trinidad, Colorado
The details: Ever since he was a little kid, Ryan has always wanted to own his very own Jeep, so shortly after picking up this 2000, he went right to work modifying it. The Explorer Pro Comp 2-inch suspension lift is complemented by 31x10.50R15 Savero M/T tires on the stock rims. The 4.0L is fortified with a K&N intake, a Helix Power Tower throttle-body spacer, and a JET power module, but Ryan still has a lot in the works for his TJ. Soon the Dana 30 and Dana 44 axles will be filled with ARB Air Lockers, while the body will be getting tubular bumper protection.
From the owner: "This Jeep is fun to 'wheel around with all of the challenging trails here in the Rockies."

Florida Fullsize
Newer Rig: 1998 Ford F-150
Owner: Brad Davis
Location: Gainesville, Florida
The details: Brad sent in his F-150 because he says there aren't enough Readers' Rigs representing Florida. So, here you go, Brad, time to represent with your 1998 F-150 with its 5-inch Superlift system, 3-inch Performance Accessory body lift, and 36-inch Baja Claws on 16.5x12 Weld Scorpion wheels. Brad also informs us of the usual performance upgrades, in addition to a custom interior and sound system. This is one nice dual-purpose rig.
From the owner: "I have put a lot of time and hard work in to my truck and I hope it will get me in your magazine."

Seriously Tough TJ
Newer Rig: 1997 Jeep Wrangler
Owner: Jason and Alicia Holland
Location: Simi Valley, California
The details: Here is another Teal Jeep that is unafraid of the backcountry, and you can see why when you note the 4.0L/five-speed combo, NP231 transfer case with a 4:1 Tera-Low conversion, Six States double-cardan shafts, ARB Air Lockers, 4.56 gearing, Warn manual hub conversion, and chromoly inner shafts. And that's just the start! The Rubicon Express 4.5-inch suspension system makes room for 34-inch Interco TrXus tires, and full rock protection shrugs off the harshest of trail obstacles. This TJ might even give our own project Teal J a run for its money.
From the owner: "We have owned our TJ since it was new, and it has been through several stages of buildups."

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results