More times than not, the coolest 4x4s we find don't have $100,000 price tags on them. These rides we speak of are built with more ingenuity than money, and have modifications that can be done byaverage guys with some skill in their hands. Don't get us wrong. Building a high-quality rig almost always takes a little bit of coin out of the purse, but with well-thought-out plans and a little bit of junkyard parts scrounging, you can take your typical stocker ride and transform it into a hero.
Take Chris Bishop's '90 Bronco for example: This Ford served many years as a daily driver for his mom, and setting all nostalgic value aside, it makes a great platform for building one heck of an all-around off-road toy. Though Chris runs in some of the same circles as we do, it wasn't until a recent outing at Pismo Dunes that we were able to get a close-up peek at his fabulous funrunner. After a few minutes under his Ford, we knew that Chris needed to fix a leaky breather tube and we needed to wash our hair. And we definitely wanted to shoot this truck.
In the front of Chris Bishop's Bronco, he salvaged a high-pinion Dana 60 from an '83 F-350 that was totaled when he was in high school. He packed it with an Ox Locker and 4.88 gears and slung it under his Bronco using a three-link and Panhard suspension (two driver-side links and one passenger-side link). You'll also notice that the tie rod runs behind the axle using WFO steering arms, protecting the tie rod from most rock damage. Chris used a hydraulic-assist steering ram to help push his 39.5-inch Irok tires (mounted on 16-inch USA 6x6 wheels). Two tubular crossmembers help protect his NP203/205 transfer-case setup, which was achieved using Off Road Design's doubler kit.
Vehicle: '90 Ford Bronco
Owner: Chris Bishop
Engine: Ford 302ci V-8
Transmission: NP435 manual
Transfer Case: NP203/NP205 with ORD Doubler
Front Axle: '86 F-350 Dana 60 high-pinion, Ox Locker, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: '83 Chevy 1-ton 14-bolt, spool, 4.88 gears, with Sky's Extreme disc-brake brackets
Suspension: Three-link front with 16-inch Fox 2.5 coilovers, Deaver 6-inch-lift leaf springs rear with 14-inch Fox 2.0 shocks
Tires& Wheels: 39.5-inch Interco Iroks on 16-inch USA 6x6 bead-lock wheels