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February 2010 Writers Rides

Writers Rides
4-Wheel & Off -Road Staff | Photographer
Posted February 1, 2010

Our Personal Project Collection

Rick Péwé, Editor-in-Chief, Partial Fleet
Left to Right
'75 DJ5A: Great mobile storage; doesn't need smog.
'43 Willys MB: Storing for a friend; good storage receptacle.
'48 CJ-2A: Pete's Jeep; check out the revival stories (March).
'48 Willys Jeepster: Finally restored and a daily driver.
'49 Willys Jeepster: A true Jeep Rat Rod; fun to drive.
'42 Ford GPW: Once a true D.E.D. vehicle, now storing for a friend.

I don't have a camera lens with a wide enough angle to get all my other Jeeps and stuff in the photo. I would need another two pages for all the details.

Fred Williams, Tech Editor, Fred's Fleet
'64 Jeep FC-170 crew cab
This is the senior member of my fleet, and although this old truck rarely gets driven, if I had to sell everything I own for some reason I'd keep the FC and probably live in it down by the river somewhere. It has a three-cylinder Cerlist diesel, three-speed transmission, a Spicer 18 transfer case, a Warn/Saturn overdrive, a Dana 44 front, and a Dana 53 rear. It's slow, smoky, and one of my most prized possessions.

'86 Toyota (Clampy)
I moved to California in this truck seven years ago, and in that time Clampy has progressed from an old guy's rusty mini truck with a camper shell to a well-heeled rockcrawler. Though a bit battered and bent, Clampy can still slowly rattle down the trail with the best of them.

Fun Buggy
This tube car has a 400-horse 383 Chevy small-block, 700R4 automatic, and an Atlas transfer case feeding front and rear steering ProRock Dana 60s with Axletech portals. It's street legal, big, and a ton of fun, just as we designed it.

'65 Dodge M37
When I picked this up it was missing most of the drivetrain, so I'm in the midst of a complete engine-to-axles swap. The plan is to incorporate a bunch of used parts from previous projects, so fittingly it has been christened the Dumpster (don't expect a restoration).

'86 Chevy Truck (Operation Army Truck)
This Chevy was a government surplus purchase and has slowly progressed into my Armageddon escape truck. The 6.2 diesel has a Banks turbo for a little more go (but not enough to tow), while the transmission has gone from a TH400 to an NV-4500 to an SM-465 and finally back to an NV-4500. After that, there's a Lowmax 205 with a 3:1-low-range, Detroit-locked, 4.56-geared Dana 60 axle and a Corporate 14 bolt axle under a 4-inch skyjacker lift, and inside 37-inch rubber.

'49 Flatfender
This summer I was back home on the farm and realized it has been 20 years since I got my driver's license. Although I've had many Jeeps, I still had yet to own a flatfender. So within a week of returning to sunny SoCal I found the perfect one. It has a 283 GM engine, an SM-420, and a power steering swap, and the brown paint is superbly faded. It has too much Bondo and the wrong taillights and seats, and it's a wiring mess, but it should slowly transform into the micro-wheeler I always wanted.

Jason Gonderman, Web Editor, Long Ranger
'99 Ford Ranger
Since I only have room to store one off-road toy, it needs to be a jack of all trades. I enjoy exploring desert and mountain trails, so the truck's suspension is desert race inspired, but still retains four-wheel-drive. To make the truck more durable, Porsche 930 CV shafts were installed along with a 35-spline 9-inch rear axle and a Detroit Locker. Plans include a V-8 conversion, more durable transmission, and a more durable transfer case.

Ali Mansour, Feature Editor, A Good Start
'00 Ford F-250 (Project Supercross)
This truck is a little special since it is the only one I have had since college and my father and I took it on a cross-country adventure. It's a little big for technical wheeling, but a great expedition rig with lots of room. Currently the Super Duty resides in North Carolina with my dad. Plans are up in the air, as the truck works great already; but knowing my old man, he's likely trying to fit 49s on it as we speak.

'06 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4
With a modified 5.9L Cummins diesel and a built 48RE NADP transmission, it's my most reliable ride and works great for towing. Plans may include a twin turbo setup, long arms, and some sort of removable bed cover, or I might play it safe and leave it alone!

'97 Ford Ranger (Ultimate Danger Ranger)
Since I rolled it on its roof less than a year ago, the poor little Blue Oval crawler hasn't seen much attention. Plans include a few new body panels, full-width axles, and custom body protection, all in the hopes of making this Ranger survive better in the rocks.

'99 Dodge Durango (Heavy Metal Mudder)
Without question my most time-intensive project and likely the one that will give me my first gray hair. Fitted with an 8.3L engine from a Dodge Viper, a four-speed Atlas, 2 -ton Rockwells, and 44-inch Boggers, it's the closest thing I have to a monster truck-and who doesn't like monster trucks? Plans include a rollcage, rock sliders, and mud. Lots of mud.

'97 Jeep Wrangler
This creampuff four-cylinder TJ has been in the family for years and is finally getting a nice helping of aftermarket attention. It's a relatively simple Jeep, but I plan on complicating things with a V-8 conversion, long arms, and a host of other parts that are sure to be cool, but will leave me wanting another creampuff Jeep again.

Kevin McNulty, Executive Editor, Grand One
'97 Jeep Grand Cherokee
I bought it because it was a cheap and had the reliable and powerful 5.2L V-8. The Jeep has tons of room for stowing gear while out on adventure and offers a comfortable place to sleep in the back while car camping. The Grand has been a great little project vehicle and is now fitted with Wrangler JK Dana 44 axles, JKS suspension links, ACOS bumpstops up front, Old Man Emu shocks, an ARB Front bull bar up front, a Hanson rear bumper, a performance-built 5.2L engine with the best Clevite components, an NP231 with Tera Low, and 33-inch Goodyear tires. Plans are to paint it and tweak the suspension for a better performance on and off the highway.

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