Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

Strange and Unique Trucks - Readers' Rides Freaks, Geeks

Posted in Features on May 10, 2005
Share this

And to all of you out there building freaks, geeks, and stuff we just don't even want to talk about, we just wanna say "Good God, what were you thinking?!"

OK, this has to be the result of watching too much Dukes of Hazzard growing up. Who in their right mind would go up against a monster truck with something that doesn't even have a prayer of winning? OK, well maybe that's a bad example--we'd take a golf cart against a monster truck if it meant us getting in the lineup. Heck, we'll take Pw's VW Rabbit if they'll let us keep the windows up for protection.
VEHICLE: '56 Chevy Bel Air
OWNER: Justin Keehner, Billings, MT
TIRES: 235/75-15 Cooper Discovery S/T
WHEELS: Four of them
SUSPENSION: Double coil springs and tennis balls inside middle spring, F-150 springs in back
DRIVETRAIN: 377ci V-8, two-speed manual tranny, aftermarket axles
PERFORMANCE MODS: Stickers on the side
OTHER DOODADS: Have a passenger seat and brake lights!
WORST MOD: Losing by three-quarters of a truck length to this guy (I did clear seven of the eight cars though).

Farm Freak
This is actually pretty cool. We'd definitely take one if someone gave us five bucks to do so. The farm implement look never goes out of style, and that triangular reflective sign really ties everything together. Mark tells us that this used to be a CJ-5 but being the Jeep molester he is, he cut it down and put a Kohler engine into it. On top of all that, Mark claims street legality!
VEHICLE: Chopped-up CJ-5
OWNER: Mark Stidam, Scottsburg, IN
TIRES: 34x7.50-18 Goodyear Sure Grips
WHEELS: 18x5.50 Stockton wheels
SUSPENSION: Trailer leaf springs
DRIVETRAIN: Kohler K341S engine, SR-4 tranny, Dana 300 transfer case, Dana 30 front, AMC 83/4 rear, 4.56 gears
PERFORMANCE MODS: Reground cam, ported head, three-angle valve job, lightened and rebalanced flywheel
OTHER DOODADS: Single disc and caliper brakes mounted on rear transfer-case yoke

We could hear this one crying all the way from Washington. But Matt Stapleton refuses to put it out of its misery. But maybe we shouldn't pick on it. We're told that Matt uses this bucket to take his kids and the local neighborhood rugrats out on rides, and they seem to love it. He even sent us a picture of them loving it, and we would've shown you that, except you couldn't see this dilapidated pile under the twenty-something kids that were piled on top of it. Don't worry about the kids' safety though: Matt put in special side-impact protection plywood around his own seat.
VEHICLE: '59 Chevy pickup
OWNER: Matt Stapleton, Wise, VA
TIRES: They're on there
WHEELS: Has those too
OTHER DOODADS: Seats from Buick Regal

Mix `N' Match
We're glad that the whole rig wasn't captured in this photo. Otherwise we might have turned to stone or something. The ancient wise phrase, "What the crap?!" comes to mind. We looked at this picture for a while, and we still can't figure it out. A pushblade?! Is that tarp and rack up top for bringing bodies home on? Scary.
VEHICLE: '70s International Scout
OWNER: Kyle Ashcroft, Barnum, MN
TIRES: 235/75-15 (with tire chains)
WHEELS: 15x7 stock
SUSPENSION: It has something
DRIVETRAIN: Transverse-mounted 455ci Tornado engine, Dana 44s front and rear
OTHER DOODADS: Black tarp roof
BEST MOD: Tire chains
WORST MOD: Using a come-along to lift the pushblade

Anything with Wheels
OK, what happens when you and your buddies are too blotto to drive a car, but maybe not that lawnmower over there?
VEHICLE: '88 Lawnmower
OWNER: Greg Lewin, Placerville, CA
TIRES: Small ones
FUNNIEST WHEELING INCIDENT: [The pic says enough--Ed.]

Perry tells us he's won two "Ugly Truck" competitions. No kidding! Whatever happened to this poor Jeep, we just hope that Perry made this heinous mutant to save the Jeep's life. Perhaps the back was run over by a train before. We can only hope.
VEHICLE: '73 Jeep Wagoneer
OWNER: Perry Burdic, Riddle, OR
TIRES: 36-inch Buckshots
WHEELS: Steel wheels
SUSPENSION: Homemade 3-inch lift
DRIVETRAIN: AMC 360ci, TH400 tranny
PERFORMANCE MODS: RV cam, shift kit
OTHER DOODADS: Rollbar, homemade onboard welder, air compressor, 8,000-pound Warn winch, bucket seats
BEST MOD: Onboard welder
WORST MOD: Air shocks

I Love Trars
Ah, the trar (half truck, half car). Why they're built, we'll never know. The trar has a strong, loyal, but small cult following that hopefully doesn't have any idea where our office is. It looks like Uncle Jesse and Cooter have been in the garage drinkin' 'shine and working with power tools again. Oh well, at least they didn't put a number on the side of this one. And we bet it'll jump a lot better than the General Lee, though we might soon have some hate mail disputing that claim. We'll never quite understand the fascination with trars, but if you gotta have one, you might as well build a bad jammer like this Chevy Laguna.
VEHICLE: '74 Chevy Laguna
OWNER: Pete Vega, Albuquerque, NM
TIRES: 44-inch Ground Hawgs
WHEELS: 15x14 Bart wheels
SUSPENSION: 12-inch Superlift
DRIVETRAIN: 350ci, Dana 44 front, 14-bolt rear, 4.11 gears
PERFORMANCE MODS: Crane cam, Holley 650-cfm double-pumper carburetor
OTHER DOODADS: 3/4-ton frame

Mad Maxed
This thing is just crazy looking. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the Thunderdome just behind the trees. Lance obviously has been pillaging movie sets, a little at a time, to build himself a purpose-built rig. Crazy lookin', but we bet it works pretty good off-road.
VEHICLE: '78 Chevy 3/4-Ton
OWNER: Lance Michaletz, Watertown, WI
TIRES: 44-inch Ground Hawgs
WHEELS: 15x10 spoke
SUSPENSION: 8-inch BDS lift, custom shackles
DRIVETRAIN: 454ci, four-speed tranny, NP205 transfer case, Dana 60 front, 14-bolt (Lincoln Locked) rear
PERFORMANCE MODS: Moroso water pump, K&N air filter, Dynomax mufflers
OTHER DOODADS: Four seats, cup holders
BEST MOD: Cup holders fabbed onto diamond-plate floor
WORST MOD: Stock steering

Submission Information
All submissions to Readers' Rides must include an address or telephone number so sender can be verified and include a complete list of all modifications made to the vehicle. Unfortunately, if we can make out faces of people in the photos, we cannot use them. Also, letters must be signed by the vehicle's owner. Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot return photos. Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file.

Write to:
Readers' Rides 4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
fax 323.782.2704

E-mail to:

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results