Big-Block Fun for Off-Road Partying
We don't think there's anything hotter than an extremely well-built mud buggy and a beautiful owner who's into all things off-road. We happened to run across Sabra Stillwell when she was blasting through the mud pits of an event we hit a few months ago. She was driving the '01 Ford F-350 we featured on the cover of the Aug./Sept. '13 issue. Sabre and her boyfriend, Bryan Eckley, have a passion for building trucks and rigs that is unmatched—so right after they had their fun with the well-built cover truck, they took to building this killer off-road buggy they can party with in the open air.
Sabra and Bryan are mud and off-road fanatics. Anything with power that can blast through the mud is great—well, maybe that's a stretch. The pair like their rigs to have not only the best off-road performance but also show-stopping looks. Every chance they had, Bryan, friend Wendell Guy (Weasel Buggies), Sabra, and good friends cut, welded, and wrenched on the buggy.
The buggy is powered by an '85 Chevy 454ci big-block that was mildly built for performance and reliability. Getting stuck in a mud pits due a faltering motor sucks, and people notice those sorts of problems! The rebuilt engine was assembled with a mild cam, MSD ignition, an Edelbrock intake manifold, and a 650-cfm carburetor. A shift kit and manual valve body was added to the buggy's rebuilt TH350 transmission so they could shift through the gears. A 4.1 SCS four-wheel-drive transfer case was bolted to the transmission and transfers the engine's torque and power to the SCS 2½-ton axles. The front axle is open, and the rear was fitted with a locker for traction.
The frame and chassis were built from box and steel tubing and then powdercoated bright orange. Bryan used to race sprint cars, so he wanted the buggy to perform like a race truck when they needed it to. The suspension uses custom aluminum four-link bars, a sway bars front, and 16-inch-travel Big Shocks coilovers front and rear. The custom 26x20 wheels from Hold On are wrapped with 23.1X26 BFGoodrich R2 tires. The tires were cut for additional traction, but cutting them also removed 75-100 pounds per tire, which allows the wheels and tires to spin when jumping on the throttle.
The seats were stitched up with marine-grade vinyl for durability by AJ's Boat Tops. A rockin' marine Sony stereo system with Rockford Fosgate amplifiers was installed by High Line Motorsports in Tampa.
We are really impressed with the buggy and love watching it cruise through the pits at events. We can't wait to see what Bryan and Sabra build next.
Custom Mud Buggy
Owners: Bryan Eckley and Sabra Stillwell, Tampa, Fla.
Engine: 454ci Chevy big-block
Transfer Case: SCS 4.1
Suspension: 4-link, sway bars
Axles: SCS 2½-ton, front open, rear locker
Shocks: Big Shocks coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 23.1X26 BFGoodrich R2s on 26x20 Hold On wheels