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March 1999 Readers' Rides

Posted in Features on March 1, 1999
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Craft's Florida Ford Jason Craft of Winter Haven, Florida, claims that the stock 300ci inline-six sported by his '95 Ford F-150 pumps out more than enough power for 'wheeling through orange groves and mud pastures near his home. But...just in case, he has added 32-inch BFGs, a full toolbox, and a Cobra CB to get him out of trouble if he encounters any extra-tricky pasture obstacles.

White's Connecticut Dodge
Oh say can you see Keith and Lori White's patriotic '97 Dodge Ram tackling trails in one of the original 13 states? Rancho products supply the lift needed for the Mickey Thompson tires. For night sight, the Dodge has KC HiLiTES long-range lights in front and wide-beam floods in back. Inside, a whole heap of stereo stuff means the Whites of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, can listen to "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in surround sound.

Silver's North Carolina Toyota
Evan Silver of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, has bumped up his '86 Toyota 4Runner with a 4-inch Pro Comp suspension lift and 3-inch body lift. He's taken care of little details, and he plans to attack the engine and drivetrain soon. The 4Runner changes tires like Imelda Marcos changes shoes. The 33-inch Wide Brutes in the picture have been replaced by Mud Brutes, and 35-inch Super Swampers are high on the list of upgrades.

French's South Carolina Chevy
After it sat in a field for a while, John French of Beaufort, South Carolina, purchased this '69 Chevrolet 3/4-ton pickup from his uncle for $250. John is a Marine, so he had only short periods of time for the buildup. The final product incorporates a homemade 4-inch stainless steel body lift, a 4-inch Skyjacker suspension lift, a custom-built 454, and 35-inch Super Swampers on 16.5x9.75 Weld wheels. The axles, transfer case, and transmission have been rebuilt, and John is searching for what to do next.

Meyer's Wisconsin Jeep
Stockpiling pennies while overseas with the Marines, Sgt. Michael Meyer of Belleville, Wisconsin, has only recently been able to start spending on his '92 Jeep Wrangler. Some of his penny power has gone to adding a 3 1/2-inch Superlift suspension kit, 33-inch BFG All-Terrains, tube bumpers front and rear, and a Steel Horse hardtop. After seeing those mods perform, he's worried he won't be able to stop spending.

Borg's Washington Bronco
Cecil Borg says he and his friends do a lot of 'wheeling near their hometown of Everett, Washington, and he's created the perfect vehicle for it. His '86 Bronco has a 3-inch body lift, Rancho coil springs up front, and Rancho add-a-leaves in back. He custom-built the rollbar and nerf bars and modified the tire rack to fit a jerrycan. If all goes according to plan, Cecil will eventually add a soft top, an Air Locker up front, and a Rancho 4-inch-lift kit, which might work better for a little extra height than the boulder shown here.

Wheeler's Iowa Blazer
Seventeen-year-old Josh Wheeler of Sioux City, Iowa, was born with the right name for attacking the off-road world-all he needed was the right 4x4. With the help of his uncle, Josh redid just about everything on his '78 Chevy Blazer. Wheeler's 'wheeler has a 4-inch Rough Country suspension lift and 35-inch BFG tires on 15x10 aluminum rims. His 400ci engine powers him on the trails, where, we have to assume, people know him by name.

Maxwell's Tennessee F-350
Testing the old squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease theory, this is the third picture of his '97 Ford F-350 that Johnny Maxwell has sent to us from Knoxville, Tennessee. We don't know whether the F-350 squeaked at first or not, but Johnny has given it gallons of elbow grease. To humble beginnings, he added a push bar, a 10-inch drop rear bumper, Warn/Black Diamond shocks, Flowmaster exhaust, and a K&N air filter. Super Swamper 33x12.50x16.5 Thornbirds are on American Eagle 589 16.5x9.75 wheels. And according to Johnny, there's more grease coming.

Christensen's Utah Samurai
Even though his budget is limited by college costs, Wade Christensen of Salt Lake City has created a cool trail ride. In between classes and work, he squeezed in the time to add a spring-over axle lift, a 3-inch body lift, Rancho RS 5000 shocks, a KC light bar, KMC Terminator III 15x10 rims with 31x12.50 TSL Thornbirds, and a bunch of other mods to his '87 Suzuki Samurai. If Wade works as hard at college as on his Samurai, he'll soon be done studying for exams and will be able to spend more time studying Utah's trails.

Heath's Oregon Willys
Bradley Heath and his son Donald of Pendleton, Oregon, quickly learned to love 'wheeling after purchasing this '52 Willys. In pretty bad shape when the Heaths found it, the Willys is now powered by a Ford 302 engine and C4 automatic transmission with a Stage Three shift-improvement kit. It rides on BFG Mud-Terrains and owes its appearance to a lot of hard work and a few cans of Krylon spray paint. It's been at a few events this year, but Bradley and Donald plan to enjoy it even more next year.

Adams' Pennsylvania Chevy
Kenny Adams of West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, seems to be itching for Dixieland in this Texas red '77 Chevy Stepside pickup. It rides more than high on a 10-inch suspension lift and a 3-inch body lift that tower over the substantial 39.5-inch Super Swampers. It also sports a Dana 60 rearend, dual Trail Master steering dampers, and a 2-inch dropped pitman arm. Watch for Kenny and truck at events-especially south of the Mason-Dixon.

Gerrara's Utah Toyota
After eight months of garage wrenching, Tom Gerrara of Murray, Utah, turned this '81 Toyota Land Cruiser into the beauty you see here. He wanted it to be a rockcrawler, so the original six-cylinder still resides under the hood, aided by Jacobs ignition, a Weber carburetor, and a turbo muffler. The interior was refurbished via a spray-in liner. A 5 1/2-inch Old Man Emu suspension lift was set in place to clear the 33x15.50-15 BFGoodrich All-Terrains. Front and rear ARB Air Lockers were added to aid traction.

Shepard's Florida Jeep
John Shepard of Casselberry, Florida, started with a '77 CJ-5 and ended up with a completely customized and radically renovated Jeep. Suspension mods include a 4-inch Trail Master lift, while 4.10 gears front and rear, a Detroit Locker in back, and a one-piece axle kit add the necessary beef for serious off-roading. A Borg-Warner T-18 four-speed and a Model 20 transfer case sit behind a built-to-the-hilt 360ci AMC V-8. Other modifications include a stainless dash plate with a Dakota digital instrument cluster.

Agan's Michigan Ford
Robert Agan of Frankenmuth, Michigan, owns this monstrous '75 Ford F-250. The yellow beast is motivated by a 450hp 428 big-block and clears 40-inch Super Swamper Boggers thanks to a 4-inch Skyjacker suspension lift and a 3-inch Trail Master body lift that together provide 7 inches of sky-high excitement. Robert plans to add either a supercharger or a tunnel ram. He claims this super-clean Blue Oval has never seen snow, but we can't think of anything it couldn't handle.

Waddell's Kentucky Chevy
This bright-red beauty is owned by Mark Waddell of Olive Hill, Kentucky. The '94 Chevy Z71 extended cab features a factory 5.7L, and aftermarket accessories include a hood guard, window visors, Smittybilt nerf bars, a brushguard, aluminum bedrails, and Trailhandler LT265/75R16 tires on 16x8 American Racing wheels. Mark refers to this truck as his version of the family sedan. Pretty cool family sedan, Mark.

Lewis' North Carolina Dodge
David Lewis from Washington, North Carolina, is the original owner of this '94 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4. Lewis is a family doctor and says the Dodge gets a lot of looks when he makes house calls. The truck features a 2-inch Explorer Pro Comp lift kit, 16x8 Mickey Thompson Classic wheels, Mickey Thompson Baja belted 34x11.5-16 tires, a Warn xd9000i winch, and a Code alarm. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

Carson's Louisiana Ford
Kenneth Carson of Crowville, Louisiana, painted his '89 F-250 himself to save a few bucks, and the banana-yellow Ford with red and purple stripes is sure to attract attention on the trails. He has added a 5-inch lift, 40-inch Mudders, traction bars, a rollbar, extra lights, and dual exhaust. Power is carried out through a five-speed with 4.10 gears.

Matthews' New Jersey Jeep
After two years of busy-bee work and a frame-off restoration, Don and Jill Matthews of Robbinsville, New Jersey, are happy with their '76 CJ-5-for now. The Jeep holds the original 304 V-8 and three-speed trans and 'case. Mods include extended shackles on all four corners and Rancho polyurethane bushings. The hand-drawn critters on the tailgate are in running shoes so they can climb down and push if the Jeep ventures into too-tricky territory.

Takayama's Hawaii Mazda
Aloha! Riley Takayama of Kalaheo, Hawaii, says owners of lifted Mazdas are a rare breed because of the lack of aftermarket parts. He must have found some generous volcano gods to bless his '89 B-2600i with a 3-inch body lift, rear add-a-leaves, and a front torsion-bar lift. The Mazda treks through tall grass on 33-inch Boggers on Alcoa wheels. It also has a universal Borla exhaust system, a custom filtercharger, and MSD ignition.

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