The ultimate off road rig doesn’t have to be as expensive as house to get you through the gnarliest trails. High dollar builds are cool to look at and admire but there’s just something special about a budget built rig that can keep on trucking through a trail that would seemingly stop even some race vehicles dead in their tracks.
On this episode of Dirt Every Day, Fred Williams of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road takes us rock-crawling in his 1986 Toyota Pickup affectionately dubbed Clampy. Why Clampy, well it’s a long story that is better left for Fred to explain but what we can tell you is that this faithful little rig started out as a rusted, battered, and beat-up old truck that was given to him for free. Fred used it to get to California when he moved out west to work at Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road.
Over the years, Clampy has been the recipient of some really cool parts and has seen multiple builds throughout its years of service. At one point the truck had a Total Chaos Fabrication long travel suspension that ended up giving Clampy a set of wings in the sand dunes. It wasn’t long before Fred decided to rebuild the truck in preparation for the 2005 Ultimate Adventure. Although the long travel suspension was great for bombing around the desert, Fred needed a set of axles that could handle the stresses of large 40-inch tires in mud, rocks and anything in between so he decided on a Sky Manufacturing solid axle swap kit to fit a junkyard Dana 60 front differential underneath the front of Clampy while a Dana 70 rear differential that was sourced out of Fred’s Aircraft tug ensured breaking axles would be a non-issue on the trail. Of course, Fred’s philosophy is to run deep gears with small engines so a set of 7.17 gears helps turn the massive 40-inch tires while still allowing the old Toyota to hit the road with some decent road manners.
Although original 22RE in Clampy is known for its reliability as well as its ability to keep ticking, Fred managed to break the radiator and proceeded to drive it out of the trail rather than towing it back which resulted in catastrophic engine failure. Rather than part it out or swap in a V8, Fred decided a 3RZ Tacoma 4-cylinder swap was in order since it would give Clampy a little attitude adjustment without it losing its humble character.
After many years in mothballs, this iconic little wheeler can still out crawl and out flex many big buck, and best of all, it’s twice as cool as anything else on the trail!
Check out the video of Clampy clawing its way up the rocks at Johnson Valley!