A Baker's Dozen Of Readers' Rigs That (Sort Of) Break The Mold
And then there are the nonconformists-the one-percenters out there for whom a plain ol' K-truck, F-series, or CJ won't suffice. Maybe they scored a great deal on a military surplus rig. Or perhaps they simply enjoy the challenge of building an "unbuildable" project. Or perhaps they found a one-of-a-kind truck overseas. Or maybe they're just gluttons for punishment (et tu, Scout?). Whatever their reasons, these dedicated 'wheelers send us plenty of pics of their rigs too, and this month it's our pleasure to share a few of them here.
From snowy Tallmadge, Ohio, comes Joe Ansley's Big 'Binder, a '73 International Travelall 1210 that has seen "many improvements" over the years. The IH's 392ci V-8 has been treated to an Edelbrock four-barrel and a four-core radiator to keep it cool, and while the 727 trans does a good job of turning the 4.10:1-geared Dana 44 and 60 axles, a Dana 70 front and Spicer RA15 rear from a 1-ton Scout donor vehicle ("I try to keep it all IHC parts," says Joe) are in the works, as are 4.88:1s and Air Lockers. Fenders had to be trimmed (they were likely rusted anyway) to clear 38-inch Swampers on the stock steelies, and a Ramsey 9000 up front aids with recovery when those Buckeye snowdrifts get a little too deep.
Wheeler's Law # 101: Any photo of a Readers' Rig in a parking lot automatically ends up in the trash-unless, of course, it doesn't, and Jason Tavares' immaculate ARO is the exception to the rule. Jason traveled all the way to Romania to find the '69 M461, then had it shipped back to the States after driving 1,500 miles across Europe. Based on the famed Soviet GAZ 69 platform, the rig is still largely stock, and with solid axles, 45-degree approach and departure angles, and more than a foot of ground clearance, we wouldn't recommend changing much of anything on it, either. The stock 3.1L diesel I-4 was only rated at 70 hp when brand-new, but as Jason points out, the mill has only 10,000 miles of use and puts out "awesome" torque to keep him 'wheeling along the trails near his Whitehall, New York home.
Stop snickering already. We'll admit this Salsa Red '02 Liberty Limited is Tammy Myers daily driver, but her husband Jim is quick to point out, "it does see the trails" around Frackville, Pennsylvania. The Jeep is bone-stock under the hood, though a K&N helps the 3.7L breathe more freely, and the little Lib' has been treated to a 211/42-inch Rusty's Off Road lift and full skidplating. The 31-inch Goodyear MT/Rs on Rubicon Moab alloy rims are a big improvement over the OE rubber, and should Tammy take a wrong turn in the Pennsylvania backcountry, a Cobra CB and Firestick II antenna are on board to provide trailside assistance.
Martin MacFarland's way-cool '50 Chevy actually started its life-or part of it, at least-as a '77 Stepside. The latter truck's bodywork was history, but the frame, engine, and running gear were salvageable and thoroughly refreshened. Next, the '50 body-taken from a 111/42-ton truck-was treated to a shot of Viper Red paint, and was lifted 5 inches above the Stepside frame. The rear fenders were moved 211/42 inches forward, and the running boards were trimmed an equal amount to make room for the 38.5-inch TSLs on 16-inch rims. Many new features adorn this eye-catcher, including a wood-and-stainless bed treatment and new bumpers, glass, and lights to better illuminate the trails around Terre Haute, Indiana.
Jeff Clark's Dakota is a textbook example of building on a budget. The '88 runs on a swapped-in 350/TH350/NP208 combo, which in turn spins a pair of GM 10-bolt axles with welded spiders and 4.10:1s via shortened Chevy driveshafts. Chevy 4-inch springs clear the front, and a lift-block/shackle-flip arrangement out back clear 35x14.50-15 TSL Boggers on 15x10 Center Lines. Swapped-in Dana 44 flat-top knuckles enabled Jeff to convert to crossover steering, and a hydroboost pump makes turning the meats near effortless. The truck is entirely homebuilt, Jeff reminds us, and "between using leftover parts and horse trading for the rest," I've got less than $1,500 invested, easy." Too bad we don't host a Cheap Truck Challenge-Jeff's ride would definitely be on our short list of invitees.
We're not exactly sure how this stock-looking FJ-40 Land Cruiser ended up in our pile of Oddball Rigs, but Albert C. Riley certainly has an unusual request: "This is my '75 FJ-40, Serial Number 192466, built in January. I wanted to find out if it is the same one that was in Four Wheeler magazine in the spring or summer issue of that year. Would love to know for sure!" Sadly, Albert, this is not the rig we featured in '75-ours was a built-up Baja racer that's still owned by former publisher Bill Sanders. But heck, we figure you deserve credit for keeping that nice-looking FJ in the dirt-even if it's only parked in a driveway here-in Shreveport, Louisiana.