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Ultimate Adventure Trucks - Where Are They Now?

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 1, 2010
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Photographers: 4-Wheel & Off -Road Staff

If you've ever wondered what happens to our old Ultimate Adventure vehicles, we're here to tell you that they never really go away. In one form or another their legacy lives on to wheel another day.

A few of the rigs don't survive; some are dismantled because they were preproduction vehicles and unregisterable for street use or sale. Those that didn't make it into the fleet of retired UA vehicles were stripped of their parts and live on through other projects. The rest of the UA rigs from yesteryear are well-kept pieces of history and trail-tested treasures.

Jeep M38A1, UA01
Then: The Jeep was built for and used on the hardcore trails of the Pacific Northwest and Canada ("Ultimate A1," Aug.-Oct., Dec. '01). The A1 then went on to complete the Utah and Colorado Ultimate Adventure of 2002 (UA02). It was used on many other off-road trips and recently saw mud-tire test duty.

Now: The retired M38A1 is now a driving instruction tool and resides at the western retirement home for old Jeeps: Editor Rick Péwé's backyard.

Ford Super Duty, UA02
Then: This incredible '02 Ford saw action in the Ultimate Adventure of 2002 (riding high on 46-inch-tall Michelin XZL tires) but didn't realize its full potential until 2009 when it was built into the Ultimate Ranch Truck by Offroad Design in Carbondale, Colorado ("The Ultimate Ranch Truck," Aug.-Dec. '09).

Chevy Avalanche, UA03
Then: The UA Chevy Avalanche ("Ultimate Avalanche," Aug.-Dec. '03) was wheeled hard in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The body took a beating, but the Avalanche survived thousands of miles of some of the toughest terrain this country has to offer.

Now: The Avalanche saw its fair share of abuse at the hands of multiple drivers and has since been slightly repaired and sprayed with a coat of flat black paint. It is currently in the hospice care of Tech Editor Fred Williams and may soon be turned into a camping and hunting truck for future adventure.

Toyota Tacoma, UA04
Then: The supercharged 3.4L V-6 '01 Tacoma was built for UA action in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota ("Ultimate Taco," Aug.-Dec. '04). After the Ultimate Adventure the truck could be seen wheelin' around California trails but experienced a couple of rollovers at the Hammer Trails in Johnson Valley.

Now: The Tacoma was a preproduction vehicle (what we call a crusher) and therefore couldn't be registered for ownership. Due to significant damage and its preproduction status, it went back to Toyota for its date with the crusher-after a few good pieces were salvaged.

K10 Chevy Truck, UA05
Then: The $500 '75 K10 truck ("Ultimate K10," Aug.-Nov. '05, Jan. '06), built with 1-ton axles and a Ram Jet 350, sustained some of the worst body damage of any UA vehicle when it made its way through Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. However, the rig did make its way home to Los Angles under its own power.

Now: The worn-out and well-beaten UA Chevy, having lost a few parts to other projects, is now sitting in storage. The truck is waiting for Editor-in-Chief Péwé to bring it back to life and return it to its former glory as a true trail truck.

Toyota FJ, UA06
Then: This '07 FJ was named the Ninja Turtle and wheeled extremely well through southern Idaho and northern Nevada on UA06. The Turtle was transformed from an IFS mild-trail vehicle to an all-out trail machine ("Ultimate FJ," July-Dec. '06).

Now: After the UA the FJ was taken to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari and on a number of trail runs. This Toyota, like the FJ, was also a preproduction vehicle. Just before it went back to Toyota, Fred Williams took it to compete in Four Wheeler magazine's Top Truck Challenge. Afterward it was stripped and thrown in the crusher.

Jeep Wrangler JK, UA07
Then: Better known as the Rubi Wagon, the UAJK was one of the most ambitious of our builds ("UAJK," Aug. '07-Jan. '08). The Jeep was fitted with a Cummins 24-valve common-rail diesel engine and was both unique and one of the most capable vehicles in the Texas Ultimate Adventure.

Now: The Rubi Wagon has been on tons of off-road adventures since 2007, like Moab and the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari around the Salton Sea, California. The UAJK is currently under the care of Fred Williams, who has aspirations of driving the Jeep from Alaska to Florida (remember, there's no top or heater in this big Jeep) for a truly ultimate four-wheel adventure.

Chevy Z71, UA08
Then: After making it through the UA08 the '00 GMC Sierra 1500 ("The Ultimate Z71," Aug.-Dec. '08), continued to get thoroughly used and wheeled. Now the beaten adventure rig is a daily driver and a weekend trail romper.

Now: Feature Editor Ali Mansour's home garage now keeps the truck warm at night. The truck no longer has the vinyl wrap and looks more like a sleeper than ever before. Though there is still a bit of wind noise and whistle from the body damage, the Z71 is still running strong.

Ford Super Duty, UA09
Now: As mentioned earlier, seven years after this Ford first saw action on the Ultimate Adventure it was built into the Ultimate Ranch Truck ("The Ultimate Ranch Truck," Aug.-Dec. '09) and went on another UA. The extremely modified '02 Super Duty, which also goes by the nickname Whopper, drove over 7,000 miles to complete the Ultimate Adventure in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

The Ultimate Ranch Truck wheeled Holy Cross Trail in Colorado one month after the UA. Next it will see Moab this coming April. The Whopper is now safely stored at the new Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road headquarters.

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