You won't see any Scouts, early Broncos, or musty CJs in this collection. These late-model rigs represent what's exiting the end of the modern assembly line. They may be loaded with modern conveniences and run the gamut of models and styles, but their commonality is that they've all gone under the wrench of their owners to make them more capable.
Owner/Hometown: Matt Robinson and Daniel Heaton (F-150 and Ranger, respectively)/Mountain City, Tennessee
What they are: '93 Ford F-150 and '84 Ford Ranger
The dirt: It seems to be the Blue Oval or nothin' for these two 'wheelin buddies. Robinson's '93 F-150 has a 302ci V-8, E40D transmission, 2.5-inch-diameter exhaust, 3-inch suspension lift, 3-inch body lift, 15x10 Rock Crawler wheels, and 35x12.50 Dunlop Mud Rover tires. Heaton's '84 Ranger has a 2.8L V-6, four-speed manual transmission, 4-inch suspension lift, 3-inch body lift, 15x10 "bullet hole" wheels, and 33x12.50 mud-terrain tires.
Oh, and...: This photo was taken after a long day of wheelin' on some local trails on Stone Mountain.
Owner/Hometown: Chase Patterson/Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
What it is: '94 Ford F-250
The dirt: Prepped to explore the far reaches of the Outer Banks, this 351ci-powered F-Series has a custom 6-inch solid-axle conversion that fits a Dana 60. Out back is a Ford 10.25-inch axle with a limited-slip. Both axles are geared at 4.10:1. A 6-inch Skyjacker leaf-spring suspension with supplemental airbags resides in the rear and allows fitment of 36x14.5-16.5 Parnelli Jones tires on 14-inch-wide Weld Typhoon wheels.
Oh, and...: Island Offroad designed and installed the solid-axle conversion.
Owner/Hometown: Jason Rinfret/Milford, Massachusetts
What it is: '97 Dodge Ram 1500
The dirt: Rinfret's do-it-all Dodge has a 360ci Magnum engine that has been enhanced with a Hypertech Power Programmer and a 3-inch-diameter dual exhaust. A 5-inch Rough Country suspension makes room in the 'wells for a set of 35-inch BFG mud-terrain tires mounted on 15x10 Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels.
Oh, and...: There's a Detroit Locker in the rear differential and Ox U-joints pressed in the yokes.
Owner/Hometown: Jesse Hendrix/Columbia, Louisiana
What it is: '94 Chevy 1500
The dirt: Louisiana's backcountry is just waiting to be explored, and Hendrix has prepped his Chevy for the task. He has installed a set of Hedman Hedders, dual exhaust, and a Juice Box chip to the V-8 engine to improve power. Underneath, a 3-inch body lift makes room for a set of grippy 33-inch Mud Brute tires on 16x10 Mickey Thompson wheels.
Oh, and...: Hendrix says, "There ain't much more to it except for having an old-style 350."
Owner/Hometown: Eric & Barbara Zimmerman/Livermore, California
What it is: '85 Toyota SR5
The dirt: The Zimmermans purchased their Toyota brand-new, and over the years there isn't much they haven't modified. The injected 2.4L engine sports an LC Engineering dual timing chain and headers, DOA camshaft, and large-bore throttle body with flow-matched injectors. Power is sent to the axles via a Marlin Crawler 4.7:1 transfer case. Speaking of axles, the custom front uses an FJ80 third member and features a Detroit Locker, 5.29:1 gears, Marfield axleshafts, and crossover steering. The custom rear axle uses a third member from a V-6 model and sports an ARB Air Locker and 4340 alloy axleshafts. Also underneath the rig, there's a 5-inch suspension lift using All-Pro springs and a custom-built 3-inch body lift. The body lift was installed for the express purpose of creating room for a second fuel tank. The rig rolls on 35-inch Goodyear MT/Rs that are mounted to 15x10 TrailReady bead-lock wheels. Up front, a custom bumper holds a Warn 8,000-pound winch. When exploring, the Toyota tows a Back Country trailer with a 2-inch lift and 35-inch Boggers on 15x10 TrailReady wheels.
Oh, and...: The Zimmermans have driven their rig over the Rubicon six times.
Owner/Hometown: Bill King/Pueblo, Colorado
What it is: '93 Jeep Cherokee
The dirt: It may look stock, but its not. The driveline features an Auburn Gear ECTED locking differential in the front Dana 30 and a Trac-Lok limited-slip in the rear Chrysler 8.25 axle. The suspension was created from three different kits and totals 4 inches of lift. The 4.0L engine sports an Airaid cold-air intake, E3 spark plugs, a Poweraid throttle-body spacer, a Firepower ignition, a Venom 400 control module, a Banks head pipe, and a Dynomax after-cat exhaust. Other mods include T&T weld-on frame stiffeners, an Olympic front bumper, a 12,000-pound MileMarker winch, a Valley spare-tire carrier, a Warn transfer-case skidplate, a cowl induction hood, and a Rusty's Off Road rollbar.
Oh, and...: The Cherokee was totaled when King, a paint and body tech, purchased it.
Owner/Hometown: Chris Doherty/Greenville, South Carolina
What it is: '94 Ford F-150
The dirt: Big plans are on the drawing board for this F-Series. The plans include a set of 60s and a big-block engine. Doherty is chipping away at the buildup and has installed 6 inches of lift and a 3-inch body lift to help make room for a set of 36-inch TSL radials. Other mods include a set of nerf bars, an aftermarket front bumper, and a winch.
Oh, and...: Doherty says; "The coolest thing about this truck is that my daughter was brought home from the hospital in it. I had a step stool in back for my wife. The worst part of the truck is when my pit bull, Demi, takes it out in the mud without me."
Owner/Hometown: Greg Medrano/Sun Valley, California
What they are: Jeep Cherokee and Toyota Tacoma
The dirt: Medrano was a bit cagey with the information on his two rides. All he told us is that the Jeep has a Rough Country 4.5-inch lift and 33-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claws. The Toyota has coilovers in front and 32.5-inch Swampers.
Oh, and...: Hey Medrano, next time tell us the year of your vehicles and include a number so we can call you if we have more questions.
Owner/Hometown: Dan Stidham/Springfield, Ohio
What it is: '00 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
The dirt: Gobs of bolt-ons adorn this good-looking Wrangler. The list includes, but is not limited to, a 6-inch Rough Country/Skyjacker suspension lift with Skyjacker shocks, 33-inch BFG M-T tires, 15x10 Dick Cepek DC-1 wheels, Superior axleshafts, Tom Wood's driveshafts and slip-yoke eliminator kit, Bushwacker fender flares, Quadratec bumpers and sidebars, KC off-road lights, headlight and taillight protectors, a Sony audio system, and Wet Okole seat covers.
Oh, and...: Stidham named his truck after the classic song by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
Owner/Hometown: Eric Grandszus/Unionville, Virginia
What it is: '93 Ford Ranger
The dirt: The specs read like a well-built 1/2-ton. There's a 302ci V-8 with AFR heads; Crane cam and Mustang computer; F-150 trans with shift kit and Baumann computer; F-150 transfer case; Currie 9-inch front axle with Chevy flat-top knuckles, 30-spline outers; and Jeep CJ hubs, rotors, and spindles; 8.8-inch rear axle; and a custom 10-inch suspension with three-link front and leaf-spring rear.
Oh, and...: Grandszus says his Ranger is a "future Real Truck champion." Maybe someday we'll revive Real Truck and let him prove it.
Owner/Hometown: Jeff Moore/Elkton, Kentucky
What it is: '05 Chevy Silverado Z-71
The dirt: This nice-looking Crew Cab has a slew of bolt-ons including a 6-inch Pro Comp suspension lift, 35-inch Maxxis Mudders, 16x10 Eagle Alloy wheels, Flowmaster dual exhaust, a Hypertech programmer, and a K&N air filter.
Oh, and...: The Chevy has six forward-facing Pro Comp lights so Moore can light the trail at night.
Owner/Hometown: Chet Egley/Logan, Utah
What it is: '00 Jeep Wrangler
The dirt: Egley has improved his rig's traction with a set of BFG A-T KOs. A set of KC lights helps light the way at night and a rollbar-mounted flashlight puts light at his fingertips. Also inside the rig are Rock-Slide Engineering grab handles and a 200-watt audio system. A custom hard bikini top keeps the elements from ruining his run.
Oh, and...: Egley says the sway bars on his Wrangler are disconnected. Presumably this is so he's ready to hit the trail at a moment's notice.
Owner/Hometown: Scott Edwards/Currently serving in Iraq
What it is: '00 GMC 2500
The dirt: Standard logic says that a fullsize regular-cab pickup shouldn't be on the trail, but this truck is different. It sports 6 inches of suspension lift, a 3-inch body lift, 36x13.5-15 IROK tires, Pro Comp alloy wheels, a 10,500-pound hydraulic winch, Mad Dog Transmission-built 4L60E with cryogenically treated internal components, a rear Eaton ELocker, a "seriously beefed" steering centerlink, and a Hummer power-steering pump. The freshly rebuilt V-8 engine has Summit headers, a performance cam, custom 3-inch-diameter exhaust, and a slew of ACCEL parts.
Oh, and...: After sinking the rig on the beach and ruining the carpet with saltwater, Edwards bedlined the floorboards.
Owner/Hometown: John West/Corydon, Indiana
What it is: '96 Dodge Ram 2500
The dirt: This fullsize fun machine has a 1.5-inch leveling kit in the front suspension, Bilstein 5100 shocks all around, custom stainless steel traction bars with poly bushings, and no front sway bar. It rolls on 305/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler AT/S tires mounted to 16x8 Center Line Hellcat wheels with Centramatic wheel balancers. The front and rear bumpers, tailgate, and aforementioned traction bars were all fabbed by West. Under the hood is a Cummins 5.9L turbodiesel engine that makes a dyno-proven 372 hp and 890 lb-ft of torque while getting 18 mpg. Engine mods include a No. 10 fuel plate, 3,000-rpm governor springs, a permanently closed wastegate, a "really big" air filter, and a 4-inch-diameter exhaust stack. Power is routed through an NV4500 trans with Luk Pro Gold clutch and NV241HD transfer case.
Oh, and...: West's rig has 275,000 miles on the ticker. He says the leaking transfer case gives him clues as to where he parked it the previous day, and frontend alignment is "day-to-day."
Owner/Hometown: Don Lunbeck/Olathe, Kansas
What it is: '04 Jeep TJ
The dirt: Apparently a man of few words, Lunbeck succinctly notes that his "Rocky Mountain Edition" rig has a 4-inch Superlift suspension, slip-yoke eliminator kit, Dana 44 rear axle, 3.73:1 gears, automatic transmission, and 33x12.50 Pro Comp mud-terrain tires. We also see a set of aftermarket wheels, a Rancho steering stabilizer, and what appears to be a Warn Rock Crawler front bumper.
Oh, and...: This photo was taken on an outing with the KC Jeep Club.
Owner/Hometown: Brian Kasky, Chesterfield, Virginia
What it is: '98 Chevy Suburban
The dirt: Yet another Outer Banks fan, Kasky's Sub is sand-ready with a 6-inch Superlift suspension, a 3-inch body lift, 36x15.5 Dick Cepek FC II tires, 15x12 Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels, 4.88 gears, a rear Detroit Truetrac, and a Superlift dual-cardan driveshaft. Other mods include a Superchips programmer, an in-dash television, and a JL Audio sound system.
Oh, and...: Kasky says he has done all the work to his Sub, and soon he'll add a solid front axle with a coil-spring suspension and Cage Off Road radius arms.