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Our Silver Anniversary - 25th Anniversary

Posted in Features on December 1, 2002
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Photographers: 4-Wheel & Off-Road archives

Last month we ran some reader's features from the past, and we are awaiting any responses from the former or current owners. This month we'll do it one last time, and see what the heck has happened to these rides over the years. We finish up this segment with some relatively recent entries, and a few we remember ourselves quite well.

Looking back through the pages of 4-Wheel & Off-Road brings back some strange memories for us as well as other old-time readers. For you relatively new readers the words to remember are something to the effect of, "Learn from the past, don't dwell in it," "Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it," and of course, "Get on with it." So, with that in mind, enjoy these snippets from our files and remember you too can win a 4-Wheel & Off-Road license plate if you can tell us more about these features from days gone by.

Flatfenders are cool, and there is no use debating it. Especially when you see a Jeep you helped build in the late '70s and then find featured in the Feb. '86 issue. Four Wheelers Supply in Phoenix turned out these two styling flatties, one with a small-block and a T-10 tranny, the other with a 225 Buick V-6 coupled to a TH400. And yes, the trailers match as well.

A big, bad, '77 Chevy jumped out at us when we first opened the old Jan. '83 binder. Bill Castelberry's monster was riding on ancient GMC 211/42-ton axles and 48-inch Firestones, with a total of 18 shocks and Kenworth springs. We're not sure if it rode really smooth with this suspension combo, but it sure looked cool. And no, we don't feature any vehicle with front lift blocks anymore; don't even try it.

Cars on truck chassis can be cool, and the Jan. '83 issue featured the Audacious A, a '31 Ford on a custom frame. Using mainly Jeep components, Mark Laeger turned out a sweet 4x4 hot rod with a four-link coilover front suspension on the Dana 25 frontend. Mark's quote is priceless: "Anybody could own a Datsun!"

We never ignore fullsize rigs, or even Fords for that matter. Tim Ensley built this '71 F-350 with a 477ci diesel that puts out 550 lb-ft of torque and has an 8.17:1 First gear granny tranny. Oh yeah, we like the Dana 60 front and 70 rear as well as the 39.5-inch Swampers. This truck is beefy, which is why we snagged it for our Sept. '95 issue.

Broncos also rule, especially older ones. Dennis Stoltz built his '71 Bronco with an eye towards racing, and got it featured in the Mar. '86 issue. From a 44 front to a 31-spline rear axle and a 351W engine, careful engineering of the day is everywhere on this rig.

Chevys are the most popular 'cause there are more of them out there. We picked Greg Barker's '78 Stepside for our May '90 issue, and it even got a fold-out poster with a bikini girl to its credit. We're still wondering about the Slightly Bent emblazoned on the bugshield, just as the editors were when they wrote the story.

OK, when David Freiburger took over the editorship of 4-Wheel & Off-Road, we started reading regularly, and weird stuff started showing up on the pages. We liked it. The Mar. '95 issue turned some corporate heads as they saw real-world wheeling come into the mag, as well as just strange stuff. This FC170 of Pat Hughes started life as a fire truck, but he did some awesome customizing of a downright odd vehicle.

OK, we're only slightly bent. This '51 Chevy belonged to Mike Lidbury and found its way into our Jan. '95 issue. The 396 big-block, 38-inch Mudders, and a 31/44-ton running-gear wrapped in a classic style make us drool. No junk, no cheap flash, just high style built right. We wonder if he ever gets it in the mud.

What do you do when your Toy needs more power? Swap a Buick V-6 in like Joe Sekelsky did with his ride, and add 5.71 gears to turn the 35-inch tires. Back in February 1990, this was a novel idea, and it is still a good one. Except for the lights, neon boots, nerf bars, and bugshield, we'd do a feature on a truck like this today.

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