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Our Picks: The Top Four Trucks of 2012

1997 Chevrolet 2500 Off Roading
Harry Wagner | Photographer
Posted January 1, 2013
Photographers: Kevin Blumer, Agustin Jimenez, Stephen Van Court

The Top Four Trucks of 2012

There’s no single formula for getting your truck into our annual four-truck list of favorites. Each of these trucks had a unique “something” that made them stand out beyond the rest of the 2012 feature trucks. The common denominator? These trucks were built to suit their respective owners’ needs, tastes, and budgets. Our advice? Build your truck to fit your world, and let the chips (and photos) fall where they may.


Hard Work

January 2012

There are usually two ways to find yourself in the left seat of a high-flying, smooth-landing desert truck: through your wallet or through sweat equity. We’ve got admiration (and a little envy) for those with the budgets to write the big checks, but we’ve got the most respect for the guys who cut and weld their own tubing and turn their own wrenches. Chris Ovrebo is a “sweat equity” guy who turned a beaten ’97 Chevy into something many of us can relate to—and possibly build, as long as we’re willing to work hard enough. Chris’ metal mastery made a Chevy chassis and Ford I-beam front suspension play nice together; something especially valuable considering long-travel front suspensions that fit the stock Chevy A-arm pivots are few and far between. I-beams are simple and proven. A long-travel three-link brings up the rear, and the whole chassis was treated to a front-to-back rollcage during the process. Whoever coined the phrase “hard work never hurt anybody, but why take chances?” never had the opportunity to experience a truck like this.

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Mr. Clean

April 2012

The Ford Ranger is one of the most popular desert trucks in the history of desert trucks. Decades of iterations make it easy to choose from different suspension types and drivetrain packages, and the sheer production numbers make it affordable. Add in the teeming aftermarket support and you’ve got a truck that’s easy to buy, easy to build, and capable once you’re done. Eddie Velarde’s 2006 4x4 model was built one carefully planned, expertly executed upgrade at a time until he ended up with a daily driver that’s equipped to fly high and fast, or to creep along in 4-Lo. It’s a triple-duty Ranger. Characters in the parade of upgrades include Dixon Bros. Racing, S.I. Motorsports, Currie Enterprises, and Fox Racing Shox. Add in Eddie’s attention to detail and the way he returns it to spotless condition after every dirt outing, and you’ve got a truck that’s going to be doing triple duty for years to come.

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