Tube Cars of A Different Breed
The term rockcrawling is used almost universally among wheelers to signify going off-road and driving across boulder-enriched trails. While this hobby has expanded into more of a sport for many, the crawling part of the term, for some, has been left in the dust. We’re not talking about the latest Ultra 4 rock racers or high-speed desert buggies, but rather a new chapter in what has to be one of the biggest mergers of show-and-go we’ve ever seen. The buggies we are referring to belong to a dedicated group of Southern wheelers that have come to define a new chapter in the off-road saga known as rock bouncing.
Rock bouncing is all about high horsepower, big tires, and an unwillingness to release the throttle until something brakes or you reach the top of the mountain. For the past few years, videos of these rock-bouncing buggies spread wildly throughout the Internet. While similar to most custom buggies, each tube machine is a little different from the next. And as the years have progressed, so have the over-the-top rock-bouncing buggies.
One name that has become a staple in the world of rock bouncing is Bryan Cole. Bryan owns Cole Worx, a custom 4x4 shop that specializes in turnkey rock-bouncing machines. His shop has turned out some of the most infamous and powerful buggies to date. Each of his machines receives special attention in the way of a theme, custom glasswork, and his hand-bent frames that look like they’re going fast while sitting still.
To get a closer look at some of the cutting-edge tube machines, we headed to the Cole Worx shop near Franklin, Tennessee. From experimental transfer cases and high-pinion Dana 80s to 800hp engines, Cole Worx is a buggy builder’s paradise. Though upon first glance the polished control arms, chrome engine dressings, and nicknamed buggy themes may lead you to believe that the $50K and higher buggies don’t get dirty, trust us—they do. If you’re anxious to see these buggies in action and you’re hooked to the interweb, check out www.youtube.com/madram11 for some incredible videos of these buggies in action.
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Ricky Berry of Ricky B Photography has documented the rock-bouncing craze for some time now. His work catalogs some of the trickest buggies and high-flying action that’s ever been caught on camera. Check out his work at www.rickybphotography.com.
Cole Worx has been working with SCS Gearbox to create a new style of transfer case that can withstand the extreme power and wheeling demands of the buggies. SCS cases are common under competition monster trucks and 1,000-plus-horsepower mud racers. The initial batch will be a bit more compact than the traditional quick change boxes. They will also delete the option of front digs, a quick shift to a different ratio, or even the ability to shift out of four-wheel drive. Though it may sound extreme, these buggies keep bringing more power to the party, which is quite hard on parts. The good news is that the technology in these high-end buggies often trickles down to your everyday wheeler.