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September 1998 Readers' Rides

Posted in Features on September 1, 1998
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Udovich's New York Blazer
John Udovich of Naples, New York, drives this '88 Chevy Blazer. His wife Niccole jokes, "If the garage were on fire, John would get his truck out and then check to see if I was all right." His Blazer sports 38-inch Swampers on steel wheels, a 14-bolt Corporate rear, a Dana 44 in front (both trussed and locked), an ACCEL ignition system, and a Warn Enforcer bumper with an 8,000-pound winch. A custom interior houses a built-in stereo system and increased storage.

Starbuck's Iowa Scout
Seventeen-year-old Aynsley Starbuck of Des Moines and her father restored this '67 International Scout 800 Series to as close to original as they could. They rebuilt almost everything from the transfer case to the cooling system and rewired the electrical system. It rides on steel rims with Cooper all-weather mud and snow tires at all four corners. Now the truck looks and performs as good as it did when it was new.

Kaylin's South Carolina Jeep
Kevin Kaylin of Gaffney, South Carolina, is a state trooper who often gets asked, "Is that thing legal?" He has proven to be unstoppable on the trails in his '78 Jeep CJ-7. Perhaps that's because of the 44-inch TSL Swampers and Boggers, the Chevy 454, the built TH350 tranny, the GM 14-bolt rear, and the Dana 60 front axle. So, is that thing legal? He never said, but who would issue the ticket if it weren't?

Copley's West Virginia Dodge
Brian Copely and his dad, Ken, of Culloden, West Virginia, race their '77 Dodge in mud bogs. Brian won his first event and has continued to do well. The truck has a 440 V-8 beefed up with a Mopar Performance cam, lifters, and valvespring combo, a Cloyes double-roller timing chain, a Holley 750, and more. It rides on 36-inch Buckshot mudders that provide plenty of winning traction on this mud-bog-only truck.

Towler's Michigan Ford
Tim Towler of Monroe, Michigan, wanted to keep his '95 Eddie Bauer F-150's appearance as stock as possible, even with a 6-inch lift and 36-inch Super Swampers under the fenderwells. The Swampers are mounted on the factory wheels. A K&N air filter and Hypertech control module juice up the 5.0L V-8, and a four-speed automatic slushbox takes care of the gear-shifting duties. Tim mounted PIAA driving lights up behind the special cutouts in the bumper

Castro's Texas Chevy
Eddie Castro of Harlingen, Texas, owns this '74 Chevy Stepside. It has a 4-inch lift and a 3-inch body lift, making room for 40-inch Ground Hawgs. The 454 big-block provides gobs of torque, and it gets some help from ACCEL ignition. Seven KC HiLiTES attached to a Grizzly lightbar brighten the darkest of dark trails. Tunes come from a Kenwood stereo with a 400-watt Jensen amp.

Snyder's West Virginia Bronco
Ryan Snyder of Parkersburg, West Virginia, bought his '75 302 Sport Bronco in its original factory condition-if you don't count the wasps' nests and rusted-off tailgate. The previous owner hadn't racked up a lot of miles, but he had used the Bronco to push snow every winter for 11 years. After removing the rusty plow bolts, Ryan took the Bronco home, where he did all the drilling, cutting, riveting, sanding, and painting himself to get it back into shape.

Lienhard's Wisconsin Cherokee
Donald Lienhard of New London, Wisconsin, has done a lot of work to his '82 Cherokee Chief. For starters, he installed a 3-inch Rancho suspension lift and a 3-inch Trail Master body lift. The 258 inline-six provides V-8-like power with help from an Offenhauser dual plane manifold, Clifford headers, a 390-cfm carb, and dual exhaust. This Cherokee rides on Keystone chrome wheels with 33-inch Super Swampers attached to Dana 44 axles. A Lock-Right locker is in the rear.

Eure's Virginia Ranger
Jason Eure of Suffolk, Virginia, went for the prerunner look with his '94 Ford Ranger XLT 4x4. He added a 4-inch Skyjacker lift, 15x10 Centerline Aluminum wheels, 32-inch BFGs, dual stablizer bars, dual exhaust, and of course, a prerunner lightbar holding two 6-inch KC HiLiTES. Inside there is an Alpine custom-built stereo system with a CD player, an amplifier, and two 10-inch subwoofers.

Carenza's Connecticut J-10
This somewhat rare find is owned by Michael Carenza Jr. of New Britain, Connecticut. His '82 J-10 Honcho Sportside pickup has a stock 258 inline-six attached to an automatic transmission, and the tires are 30-inch Trailhandler All-Terrains on American Racing wheels. The restoration involved spraying on new black clearcoat, fixing rust, installing a new gas tank, and reupholstering the interior.

Smith's California Bronco
Bret Smith of Van Nuys, California, has kept this '70 Bronco running despite its rough life. After he bought it in 1994, the 302 V-8 blew and had to be replaced with a rebuilt engine. It ran so well that he took it off-road-and rolled it. Fortunately, every time something bad happened, it emerged a better truck. He used each opportunity to fix pesky problems and to upgrade. He painted over the old, light-brown paint with emerald-green and added white Bushwacker flares.

Ugly Truck Of The Month
This aesthetically challenged vehicle is an '85 Jeep Laredo owned by Erich Pflanz of Frankfort, New York. He got it when he was 17 and has beaten it with an ugly stick ever since. Erich believes this beast has a mighty 2.8L V-6 and considers it to be a cheap ride. It appears that this '85 spent the last 13 years following a salt truck. A close examination of the lower body panels reveals a custom brushed-on paint job, highlighted with crusty pieces of rust.

Brown's U.K. Nissan
Rodney M. Brown of Upton, Wirral, Merseyside, England, drives this four-door, '96 Nissan 2+2 Crew Cab imported from Cyprus. In the U.K., it is regarded as fullsize and American. It cost $24,000 to import including freight, various taxes, and import duties. The engine is a stock 2.5L normally aspirated diesel that gets 38 mpg, sucking down petrol that costs $4.75 per gallon. The truck sees lots of action at construction sites and tows horse trailers to shows on the weekends.

Beckman's Tennessee Scout
What started out as a father and son project for Gary and Nicholas Beckman of Arlington, Tennessee, has become an almost-original-factory-condition '62 International Harvester Scout Model 80. Rather than add a whole bunch of modern trappings, Gary and Nicholas decided to restore the 'Binder to its original glory, from its four-cylinder Commanche engine and three-speed transmission to the sliding windows and fold-down windshield.

Warner's Wisconsin Ramcharger
Chris Warner of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, owns this '89 Dodge Ramcharger. The 4-inch suspension lift and 35-inch BFGs add plenty of height and traction to help this Ramcharger plow through whatever weather and terrain Wisconsin can throw at it. Plans include larger tires and engine mods. His wife picked out the sharp American Racing wheels.

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