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Custom 4x4 Camo Rig - Trucks Of Missouri

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2002
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You may be scratching your head and wondering exactly what kind of truck this is. Would you believe us if we told you that this is a super-secret prototype for a new mass-production ultra-functional SUV? No? We didn't think so. What it is, folks, is a custom creation designed and built by William Brooks of Higginsville, Missouri. It's a culmination of spare parts he had lying around, assembled in such a way as to meet his specific needs and desires. You see, like many other Missourians, Brooks takes his fishing very seriously. He wanted a vehicle that would be capable and durable enough to carry him and his gear far from the paved road. But above all, he wanted a truck that was indifferent to trail damage, mud, and water, while still offering enough street friendliness to allow it to be driven daily.

The interior of the truck is as utilitarian as it gets, with all the necessary engine-monitoring gauges, an integrated rollcage, marine-grade carpet, an auxiliary heater and a pair of Camaro seats with Wet Okole camo seat covers.

Brooks began the project with a fullsize Ford van chassis that he narrowed by 4 1/2 inches to allow for easy installation of the drivetrain and suspension from a '75 Ford F-150. The front axle is a reverse-rotation high-pinion Dana 44, the rear axle is a Ford 9-inch, and both are geared at 3.50:1. The suspension consists of Trail Master 4-inch-lift front coil springs and stock rear leaf springs that have undergone a shackle reversal. Brooks removed the front and rear antiroll bars to allow for more articulation and a Trail Master drop pitman arm helps keep steering geometry close to factory specs.

Nestled between the framerails is a mostly-stock 460ci engine that was pirated from a jet boat. It features an exhaust system built from 3-inch tubing, 18-inch-long glasspack mufflers and a York engine-driven air compressor that is capable of powering air tools.

The cargo area of the truck was designed to offer plenty of storage for gear and essentials. It's stuffed with loads of things including fresh water, a bait tank and even a barbeque grill.

When it came time to design the exterior, Brooks chose to loosely model it after a '49 Dodge Command Car. He began the construction by fabricating a skeletal framework from 1 1/2-inch O.D. D.O.M. tubing, and then he welded custom 14-gauge steel body panels to the stout frame before spray-painting them in a custom camo format. Each side of the truck features custom spare-tire mounts, and there's weatherproof storage as well. The custom front bumper holds a Hi-Lift jack and a drawbar, while the custom rear bumper has an integrated Class III receiver hitch. Both were constructed from 2 1/2-inch O.D. tubing.

Inside the truck, passengers are protected by an integrated rollcage while they ride on Camaro seats covered with Wet Okole camouflage seat covers. The custom dash features Auto Meter fuel, oil pressure, volt and water-temp gauges, as well as a Pioneer stereo system, an auxiliary heater and a Ford steering wheel. The cargo area features everything needed for extended backcountry fishing trips, including a bait tank, fresh-water cooler, barbeque grill and lots of storage for stuff like recovery equipment and, you guessed it, fishing supplies.


Owner William Brooks, Higginsville, Missouri
Vehicle model Custom Camo Thing
Estimated value $5,000
Type OHV V-8
Displacement (ci) 460
Aspiration Four-barrel carburetor, stock
intake manifold, stock exhaust manifold,
3-inch-diameter exhaust, glasspacks
Transmission C6
Transfer case NP205
Front Trail Master 4-inch-lift coils
Rear Stock leaf w/shackle reversal
Front Dana 44
Rear Ford 9-inch
Ring-and-pinion 3.50:1
Wheels Mickey Thompson 15x12
Tires 35x15-15 Swampers

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