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April 1998 Readers' Rigs

Posted in Features on April 1, 1998
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Bowed Over
Last year Michael Mattox of Queen Anne, Maryland, started showing his F-150, and the First-place trophies he's won are his reward for the time he has taken off from bow hunting to work on the '79 Flareside. Michael cheerfully states that he lost track a long time ago of the money he's spent on the pickup, but even though he did most all the work himself, he must have shelled out a lot of bucks.

Have Leaves, Wheel Travel
Why is this M38A1 named "Wicked Willy''? Because this '53 Willys is, in Jeremy Lawson's words, "so flexible''-courtesy of its custom spring-over conversion-"it's wicked.'' Working by himself (which is what kept this project within a student's budget), he modified the swapped-in 327 engine, did the suspension tweak, and much, much more, including modifying the fenderwells to compensate for the extra articulation. Jeremy, of Roseville, California, is understandably proud of what he has accomplished between school, jobs, friends, and (one) girlfriend.

Yellow Streak
Since Brad Baechle, of Reed Springs, Missouri, works at a body shop, it wasn't as difficult for him to achieve the desired degree of "wow'' as it would be for most of us. All he had to do was mend a couple of rust holes and some hail damage before applying the Lemon Glow with Gold Pearl and a clear coat, completing a color change on the '78 Dodge. Easy for him-the prior owner of this Power Wagon took care of the mechanicals.

Subtle S-10
This '93 Blazer looks pretty stock in the photo-the lift and tire-and-wheel combo are about all that's really noticeable. But pictures can be deceiving; the Vortec V-6 now has much stainless leading both into and out of it. Sticking with the stainless theme, Darrell Bush of San Diego, California, also slapped on stainless stick-on rocker panel covers. Stouter U-joints and heavy-duty driveshafts are other non-stock items, as is the paint job-unless it's on a Lexus with chipless Pearl Ivory.

Fearless Forder
Do you think that maybe Joseph Petrilli likes Broncos? These three representatives of that line (a '73, '79, and an '86) have won a combined 17 trophies, with the young'un having acquired three Best of Shows. Hey, not bad for a mare-er, mere-$13,600 for the whole herd, on which Joseph, of St. Marys, Pennsylvania, has only spent some $3,500 after purchase. Give the apparently near-unmodified '73 a few more years, and it'll be raking in the votes big-time.

In Stock
Chesley Randolph's F-150 is almost completely stock, but it is a good example of how very little may be needed to make, and keep, a vehicle nice. Other than adding a K&N air filter, Chesley, from Madisonville, Tennessee, hasn't altered the 302 in any way. He did install heavy-duty driveshafts, a stabilizer, and changed the tires and wheels, but just by garaging it and caring for it, he's kept this now nine-year-old pickup looking like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

Equal Time
To balance the brace of Broncos, here are two GMs, belonging to Peter J. Stelmach (father) and Peter R. Stelmach (son) of West Seneca, New York. Dad owns the '78 Chevy with a '91 front clip, complete with fresh paint, and the K-20's interior was redone by Peter J. as well. Peter R.'s '86 GMC 3/4-ton (which obviously has a Chevy grille) also appears repainted and "interiorally enhanced.'' And like Peter J.'s, Peter R.'s GMC has a 10-CD changer amongst the essential equipment.

Nice Ih, Eh?
John Himmelman of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is rightfully proud of his Scout II, in which he figures at least 350 hours (and many cents) have been invested. After consulting old ads, John was able to recreate the '79's original decals, but from there on he must've lost the restoration ambitions, and installed a lift. A 392 is also waiting to be swapped in when budget allows the 345 to become an anchor for the boat he's towing.

A Cry For Help
When John Butler painted "Somebody Stop Me'' on the side of his 'wheeling wagon, he was obviously reaching out. There must be help out there for those who start a weekend project, maybe with the purest motivation-like making trash day just a little more convenient-and end up with a wagon with 15-inch tires, "independent suspension,'' a hand brake, a tilt bed, and airbrushed flames. If anybody knows of a support group in Lake Elsinore, California, for people like John, let him know you're there for him.

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