America's Ugliest 4x4s-In Their Owners' Words
We feature all kinds of trucks in Four Wheeler. Or so we like to think. But every month, we seem to receive an inordinate amount of mail from readers complaining about the presence of too many high-dollar trailer queens and shiny show rigs in our pages. So last October, we asked you, dear readers, to send in pics and stories of your ultimate anti-show trucks. To sweeten the pot, we promised to pick a "winner" (sort of), who would receive a set of Pro Comp rims for their efforts.
This month, after sorting through your entries, we're pleased to share some of the "best of the worst" of what we received from you-your Ugliest Trucks, in your very own words.
What were our criteria? Well, we were looking for rarity and uniqueness-that one-of-a-kind Ugly Truck that you just don't see every day. Or any day, for that matter, and probably for good reason. Second, we needed high-resolution images that would reproduce in the pages of the magazine. (To those who sent thumbnail or cell-phone pics, sorry, we can't use them.) Naturally, Ugly should also be functional, so we tended to defer to vehicles that are actually running instead of immobile boat anchors gathering rust behind the barn. And of course, if we could get a good story or two from our readers about their rigs, that wouldn't hurt either.
So here is our Grand Prize winner, who'll soon be receiving a set of Pro Comp wheels, and with a passel of Honorable Mentions, all of whom will be receiving a box of exclusive Four Wheeler goodies in the mail. Thanks to all who sent in submissions.
Grand Prize Winner
Mike McCormack- Herkimer, New York
1954 Chevy 6400
Now, first of all, don't tell my Bug I entered her in an "ugly" anything. She-and I-believe she is a thing of beauty, whose beauty is more than just skin deep! This is the first time I've seen what I'm assuming is sincere interest in other than glamour-puss big-buck rigs, and it's your game, so I will condescend to the use of an otherwise odious term to extol the virtues of the truly unsung hero(ine)s of off-roadin': Doodlebugs! Yeah, I know, the term dates me-and my rig-but, what the hell, let the tail go with the hide. You young whippersnappers ain't the first knuckle-draggers to wanna go where no man has gone before-and do it in style!
My Bug is a '54 Chevy 6400-series heavy-duty commercial rig, whose first life was as a town plow in a neighboring village for many, many years before being put out to pasture. I'm pretty sure it came from a supplier basically set up as she still is today; the venerable ol' 235 six, hellacious heavy suspension with a Coleman Conversion 4WD bolted to the stock four-speed tranny with PTO. I don't know who shortened 'er, but she is, and it really helped when I morphed her into what you see in accompanying pics. In the first version (Bug 1) we installed the shortbox, a 30,000-pound Braden winch, powered via a '50 Chevy three-speed car transmission coupled to the aforementioned PTO with surgical precision, and installed a removable rear A-frame boom. Used the ol' girl in this configuration for a couple years; had a lot of fun with 'er, too. However, you know how you can never leave well enough alone, right?
She is now known as "Bug 2," due to the fact that, in "Bug 1" version, I listened to my idiot son one day on one of our more challenging side-cut roads when he said, "Let's go down here!" I turned and we went down there, alright! We tumbled down "there"-I think you kids call it doing a 560, or some such term. Saying "keep the rubber side down" never meant much to me before that day! Now, wifey says I still scream it in my sleep some nights. Luckily, the idiot kid had his wimp-ass '89 YJ parked at the top of the bank that he told me to go down, so we winched 'er back on her feet, pulled the radiator outta the fan, cobbed the battery cable back to usable, cranked 'er up, and drove 'er out.
As the pics show, there's no rollcage, no harnesses-just good ol' Detroit iron around us, and we came out with only superficial wounds and wet pants! Our women weren't too happy with us when they saw us come chargin' up my back bank, but what the hell, they eventually got over it. What's even better, now they won't let the ankle-biters even ride with their-I think the word was "demented"-dad and grandpa when we go traipsin' off into the north 40.
So, Bug 2 commenced with removin' all the twisted parts, engineering a 12-point rollcage, beatin' most of the twisted parts back into usable, modifyin' the winch fairlead, and, yes, installing four-point harnesses, both seats. She's still one of my main toys, and will still do anything I ask of her-gets a little nervous when we go near that side-cut road, though...or maybe it's me that gets nervous-ain't sure!
Think of us ol' timers once in a while.
Corey Green- Carnation, Washington
1982 Chevy 2500 Suburban
I traded a mountain bike and a pistol for this Suburban three years ago. It was formerly a Scout troop carrier with Boy Scouts of America decals down each side. I hate yellow cars, so I painted it with epoxy remover. I bought it for parts and figured I would tear it up when it quit running. As hard as I try, that just doesn't seem to happen.
It has a 400 small-block (seven-cylinder) and TH400 trans. Modifications include the "retro Avalanche kit" courtesy of my Dad's backhoe and a concrete saw. Reworked body panels were achieved by trying to squeeze between trees in my Back 40. Oh, I've also added an Optima gel-cell battery and a neat seat cover! I had a mean front bumper made out of pipe and log holders out of my parents' fireplace, but a high-speed "cedar tree incident" removed it and cracked the passenger side of the windshield.
I use the truck for yard work now, mostly tree removal, brush clearing, and firewood hauling. Future plans include dropping in the '76 Cadillac 500 I have in waiting, shortening the frame 2.5 feet, and a Willys pickup rebody...if only the current motor would die.