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New and Improved

Front Driver Side View
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted January 1, 2006
Photographers: The Readers of Four Wheeler

Later-model rigs we'd love to own.

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."

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