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August 2013 Trail's End

Posted in Features on July 14, 2013 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

In the April 1986 issue of Four Wheeler we ran a feature story on Doug Albert’s custom 4x4 that he called “Militoy.” About five years later we ran a single photo of the rig in the magazine and it resulted in so many reader inquiries that we felt compelled to run a second feature on the truck in the January 1992 issue of Four Wheeler, which you see here.

At the time, we figured that the truck was seen in a “much different light” after the U.S. became involved in Operation Desert Storm, which began in 1991. The trucks military look obviously struck a chord with readers.

Even today, 21 years later, the truck is fascinating even though in some cases the tech is outdated. The rig utilized a ’76 Blazer frame that was bobbed 24 inches at the rear. Custom spring hangers were mounted to the frame ends, which gave the truck a 99-inch wheelbase. The front suspension utilized 5-inch-lift leaf springs and a single shock at each wheel, while the rear suspension was comprised of Blazer leaf springs with 5-inch lift blocks and a single shock at each corner. The front axle was a Dana 44 and the rear was a Dana 60. Both axles sported 4.11 gears and the rear was fitted with a Detroit Locker. The rig was powered by a 350ci Chevy V-8 engine that was mildly built and topped with a 625cfm Carter carburetor. Power was routed through a TH350 transmission to an NP203 transfer case; the latter item lowered by 1½ inches to decrease driveline angles. The rig rolled on 40-inch Four Wheel RVT Gran Prix tires mounted on Western Aluminum slotted mags.

Do you own a 4x4 that was featured in Four Wheeler? If so, we’d like to know what happened to the rig after we published the story.

Obviously, it was the body of Militoy that generated the most attention, and the bodywork was unique and amazing. Albert, an auto body repairman by trade, designed the bodywork with “sharply angled military lines.” Albert drew out the templates and then had the pieces bent and shaped from 0.90-inch-thick 6061 T6 aluminum. The pieces were then slathered inside and out with zinc chromate primer. Great pains were taken to caulk each joint with urethane where the steel and aluminum met to stop corrosion. Each panel was held in place with either aluminum rivets or stainless steel bolts. Finally, the entire body was sprayed with semi-gloss olive drab acrylic enamel.

As we read the story of Albert’s Militoy, we began to wonder whatever happened to the truck. Where is it? Is it intact? Is it still being wheeled? Was it damaged in some epic off-road battle?

As we pondered these questions an even bigger question took shape. We began to think about all the 4x4s Four Wheeler has featured during our 51 years in publication. Vehicle features, defined as stand-alone stories that disseminate all the details of a vehicle, are an integral part of Four Wheeler content, and through the years we’ve published hundreds.

Which leads us to this question: Do you own a 4x4 that was featured in Four Wheeler? If so, we’d like to know what happened to the rig after we published the story. Do you still own it? Has it evolved or devolved through the years? Did you wheel it ’till the wheels fell off? Is it still sitting in the barn where you parked it 20 years ago? Was it stolen from a hotel parking lot while you were sleeping (yes, this actually happened)? No matter whether the story is dramatic or anticlimactic, we’d like to hear about it. Simply email ken.brubaker@fourwheeler.com and give us the lowdown. Please include a high-quality photo of the rig post-feature if possible.

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