It's often a challenge to build a shiny new truck where everything comes apart quick and easy. It can be a total migraine to build a 20-plus-year-old truck that's rusted into a ball. With that said, the following 13 rigs honor those folks who have battled rust and hard-to-find parts to keep the classics on the trail.
Classic ride: 1979 Toyota FJ40
Proud Owner/hometown: Al Miller/Camas, Washington
Juicy details: This excellent example of a classic FJ has a 3-inch lift in the back to level it out, Rancho RS 9000 shocks, an Auburn limited-slip in the rear axle, a header on the 2F engine, Chevy power steering, and a steering correction kit. Inside, there's a Pioneer six-disc remote CD player and an AM/FM cassette player with four Pioneer football-type speakers attached to the rollcage. Outside, the rig has a very well done, homemade brushguard, a Warn 9,000-pound winch, and some extra braces on the ends of the front bumper for a "little extra protection." The Toy rolls on 33x10.50 BFG A-Ts on American Racing 15x8 wheels.
Super cool: It has air conditioning so Al doesn't have to eat dust, sweat, or battle bugs on those summer trail adventures.
Classic ride: 1979 Ford F-250
Proud Owner/hometown: Nick Szczerba/Sutersville, Pennsylvania
Juicy details: The 351ci engine has been rebuilt and fitted with a performance camshaft and dual exhaust. The transmission is a four-speed manual. Up front there's a Dana 44 axle, and in the rear there's a fat Dana 60. Gearing is 4.10:1. A 4-inch suspension lift and a 3-inch body lift allow fitment of 35x12.50 BFG A-T tires on 16.5x9.75 Eagle 589 wheels. On the outside of the rig, there's a Ramsey 8,000-pound winch bolted to a custom front bumper, five KC Daylighters, and a Hi-Lift jack.
Super cool: Nick is only 17 years old, and did all the work on the truck himself. He says it's the biggest truck in the student parking lot at his high school.
Classic ride: 1985 Ford Ranger
Proud Owner/hometown: Joe Waskewicz/Seymour, Connecticut
Juicy details: This heavily modified rig sports a 302ci GT-40 crate engine, a built C4, a twin-sticked Dana 20, a Dana 44 front axle (with Moser axleshafts and a Detroit Locker), and a Ford 9-inch rear axle (with spool). The Ranger also boasts a custom five-link front suspension with 24-inch coils and Rancho RS 9000 shocks, and a rear 6-inch-lift leaf-spring suspension with 6-inch blocks, Teraflex Revolver shackles, and RS 9000s. On the outside there's a Superwinch 9,500-pound winch and homemade bumpers. The rig rolls on 39.5-inch Boggers mounted on 15x14 steel wheels.
Super cool: Hydraulic-steering assist ensures that Joe can point the big Boggers wherever he wants.
Classic ride: 1976 Jeep CJ-5
Proud owner/hometown: Jerry Hancock/Novato, California
Juicy details: Jerry did all the work on this rig himself, and he injected the 30-year-old rig (no pun intended) with lots of new tech. Gone is the carbureted 258ci I-6 engine, replaced with an SFI multiport 3.4L Chevy V-6. He also added power steering and a 4-inch suspension lift. Inside the rig, there's a pair of new bucket seats with Simpson 3-inch racing seatbelts, a custom steering wheel, and a custom padded rollcage and center console. Outside, the rig has four roof-mounted KC lights, an 8,000-pound Warn winch and 2-inch-diameter ridged steel nerf bars.
Super cool: The rear of the CJ features several securely mounted diamond-plated storage bins for safe, secure storage of trail necessities. There's also a pair of diamond-plated speaker boxes.
Classic ride: 1984 Dodge Ram 1500
Proud owner/hometown: Marcus Truskey/Beaufort, North Carolina
Juicy details: Marcus says that this rig is his "money pit" as well as "true love." It has a 318ci engine, a TorqueFlite 727, an NP208 transfer case, a Tru-Trac'd 9.25-inch rear axle, and a Dana 44 front axle. It rolls on 35x12.50 Mud King tires that fit courtesy of a 2-inch body lift and a Rough Country 4-inch suspension lift. Other goodies and upgrades include onboard air, two five-gallon fuel cans, Hella lights, three toolboxes, and Bushwacker flares.
Super cool: After removing the doors, Marcus took a Sawzall to the roof and parts of the cab. He had a custom rollcage built and then adapted a CJ-7 bikini top to fit.
Classic ride: 1978 Ford F-150
Proud owner/hometown: Jackie Wray/Rocky Mount, Virginia
Juicy details: This truck only had 78,000 miles on the odometer when Jackie purchased it last year. Since then, he has "freshened up" the 351ci V-8 engine, got the air conditioning working, rebuilt the C6 transmission, and added a 6-inch Skyjacker suspension lift, new 4.11:1 gears, 35x12.50-15 BFG M/T tires, and 15x10 Rockcrawler wheels. Inside, he added a Kenwood CD player, MTX amplifiers, and Pioneer subwoofers and speakers.
Super cool: This truck used to be yellow and brown, but Jackie wasn't down with that. He transformed the truck by covering the "ugly" yellow with Mossy Oak camo vinyl. Inside, he continued the transformation by recovering the seat in brown leather and exterior-matching Mossy Oak camo.
Classic ride: 1979 Jeep CJ-7
Proud owner/hometown: Stewart Stroud/Kenansville, North Carolina
Juicy details: Here's another classic rig that was completely restored by the owner. A 351ci Ford V-8 engine provides get up and go, and it has been significantly modified with an aluminum intake and heads, roller rockers, an Extreme 4x4 camshaft, headers, a 750-cfm Edelbrock carburetor, an MSD ignition, and Flowmaster mufflers. The rig also sports a 4-inch lift, greaseable leaf-spring shackles, a locked Dana 30 front axle, a locked Dana 44 rear axle, 4.56:1 gears, 35-inch BFG A-T tires, and 15x10 aluminum wheels.
Super cool: Stewart ordered a Warn 9,000-pound winch on a multimount system, and he made sure that there were receivers in both bumpers.
Classic ride: 1979 Ford F-150
Proud owner/hometown: Dan Taber/Katy, Texas
Juicy details: Dan has built his truck, "Redzilla," to be all about function and durability. The front Dana 44 axle has been upgraded with Superior axleshafts and a Lock-Right locker. The rear 9-inch axle has been fitted with a Detroit Locker. The truck has been lifted 4 inches to run 36x14.50 Super Swamper TSL Radials on 15x12 American Racing wheels. Inside the rig, there's a new tachometer, bench seat, and door panels.
Super cool: Dan has ignored the 300ci I-6 engine and NP435 transmission because both of those are going in the Dumpster when he installs a built 460ci V-8.
High Bow Tie
Classic ride: 1979 Chevy Silverado
Proud owner/hometown: Jason Miller/Gosport, Indiana
Juicy details: This beautiful rig sports a Vortec 5.7L V-8 engine, headers, 2.5-inch-diameter Flowmaster exhaust, a Turbo 350 transmission, an NP203 transfer case with part-time conversion, a 10-bolt front axle, a 12-bolt rear axle, 4.56:1 gears, a Superlift 8-inch suspension lift, a 3-inch body lift, 39-inch Mickey Thompson tires, and Bart 15x12 Super Trucker wheels. Inside, the truck is loaded with factory options and sports a Pioneer sound system including a pair of 10-inch subs.
Super cool: It took Jason four years to complete the body-off restoration on this rig. The entire frame has been painstakingly sandblasted and painted black.
Classic ride: 1981 Chevy 2500
Proud owner/hometown: Damian Macleod/Sonora, California
Juicy details: Shawn Ambler of Insane Customs did the paint job on this eye-catching rig, and it features flames on one side and scallops on the other. The outside of the truck also features a 4-inch cowl hood, a bed-mounted toolbox, and 36-inch Super Swampers. Under the hood is a 454ci V-8 engine backed by a Turbo 350 and an NP208 transfer case. The truck's tall stature comes from an 8-inch suspension lift and a 3-inch body lift.
Super cool: Damian says that he has put a lot of time into this rig, but not a lot of money. He also notes that this is no "pretty-boy truck" - he has raced it at local mud bog events. He says that soon the 454 will get some serious mods, including a blower.
Classic ride: 1970 Ford Pickup
Proud owner/hometown: Randy Sorenson/Cromwell, Minnesota
Juicy details: This truck is beef from front to back. It features a 460ci engine, a C6 transmission, an NP205 transfer case, a Dana 60 front axle, a 14-bolt rear axle, 4.10:1 gears, and 44-inch Boggers.
Super cool: Randy tapped his friend for use of his shop so he could have a place to fab up some homemade leaf springs and shackles.
Classic ride: 1985 Toyota
Proud owner/hometown: Dan Reed/Redbridge, Ontario, Canada
Juicy details: We consider a classic anything 20 years or older, so this one just barely qualified. Dan is a Toyota fan who left the Toyota fold and stuffed his rig with a Chevy 307ci V-8 and a Turbo 350 trans. Everything else--transfer case, axles--remain genuine Toyota, though a pair of Lock-Right lockers has been installed in the axles. A 5-inch Skyjacker suspension lift, a 1.5-inch shackle lift, and a 3-inch body lift generate more than enough room for 35x14.50 Boggers.
Super cool: Dan chose to mount his winch on the rear of his rig. It's a MileMarker 9,000-pound unit and it's mated to a custom rear bumper.
Classic ride: 1983 Jeep J10
Proud owners/hometown: John and Becky Mayfield/somewhere in Florida
Juicy details: The Mayfields didn't tell us where they were from in Florida, but we're going to show you this truck anyway because it's super cool. It has a built Jasper 360ci engine with an Edelbrock cam, a 650-cfm carb, and Hedman Hedders. Torque is sent through a TorqueFlite 727 and an NP208 transfer case. A Dana 44 front axle and an AMC Model 20 rear both have 4.11:1 gears. The tire/wheel package consists of 36x14.50 Parnelli Jones Dirt Grip tires and 15x10 Eagle 589s. The suspension includes Skyjacker 4-inch leaf springs and Rancho RS 9000 shocks.
Super cool: The underbody and frame is coated with Por-15 rustproofing so the Mayfields won't have to worry about salt ruining their creation; the rig has a custom 68-gallon fuel tank; and it will soon have a Dana 60 rear axle.