Wide-open Wheeling In Alaska
While searching for drivetrain information late one night, we ranacross Brook Green's www.alaska offroad.com Web site. And in fact, it wasn't the first time we'd run across it. Brook has some good tech up on his site, and this crazy buggy that people called "The Freak." When we found out we were going to Alaska late last summer, we knew we had to make a stop by the Kenai Peninsula for a chance to run with Brook's Freak and some other moose buggies. What's a moose buggy, you ask? Well, take a look. Here are two prime examples. A lot of guys up here like to travel off into the backcountry to look for some meat for the freezer, and moose seems to be what's on the menu in Southern Alaska. Guys up here build unbelievable 4x4s (moose buggies) to get them through the Alaskan swamps (yes, swamps) and over the seldom-traveled trails (there are still under a million people in all of Alaska, almost no trail up here is well traveled). But these buggies also have to be able to carry an entire moose back with them while traversing this terrain. John Wichman and Brook had two of the best performing moose buggies we ran across, and we were lucky enough to catch up with them for a trip into the Caribou Hills. This is an area where you build your rig to look like this just to stay on the trail, not to venture off. A lot of the land around Alaska is sensitive to the impacts of truck travel, so these guys take the utmost care to try and take a straight line through the backcountry, while tearing up as little ground as possible. Those huge tires are just what it takes to give enough flotation to keep moving, though we bet they'd work great at a good ol' fashioned mud bog as well.
Brook Green's moose buggy started out life as a '76 Chevy 11/42-ton. The body was chopped, the bed was pulled, and the tube was added. Under those two orange stripes down the hood and behind that single Light Force light and Warn 8274 winch rests a 472ci Cadillac motor that was bored and stroked to 513 ci. It gets fed by a Holley Pro-Jection and receives spark from a Pertronix distributor. This might be a little more than Brook needs to push those giant farm implement tires-but hey, just in case, right?
Inside Brook made a custom dash for his moose buggy utilizing his trade as a machinist. Toggle switches and custom gauges control and monitor this Alaskan 4x4, while a dash-mounted Pro-Jection control module can be tuned from inside the cab should it be necessary. And in the top of the picture, you can just make out the original wink mirror that Brook left. All the amenities of home, except without carpet. Sweet.
In the back there is, of course, enough room to throw on a moose, with some gun toters mounted on the exocage for a means to get the moose. Another 8274 Warn winch can pull either a truck or carcass into position as well. Behind the Warn is a custom-made aluminum fuel tank and rear-mounted radiator and Taurus fan. Under the fluids is a custom-made four-link rear with an adjustable antisquat feature, while 4-inch-lift XJ coils placed in custom coil buckets do the duty of holding up the rear, and limiting straps keep the springs from popping out.