On a recent trip to Redneck Yacht Club in Punta Gorda, Florida, we couldn’t help but stare at an insane Chevy 454 (model) truck in the pits. The owner was tearing through mud holes while blowing huge plumes of black smoke. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense at first, but once we met the driver of this killer rig, we understood the method to his madness. Ronnie Brock out of Seabring, Florida, transplanted a 12-valve Cummins motor into his ’98 Chevy 454 truck. Some people would say that he was crazy to ruin a rare Chevy like this, but we say it’s just another cool custom mud truck. This engine is loaded with power, so throwing it in a light truck, installing 2½-ton axles, and adding coilover shocks make the rig an extremely fun ride.
After a few beers and a long discussion about why his Cummins has great off-road performance, Ronnie and I made our way over to the Mud Life buggy since it’s fitted with the same diesel engine. He immediately noticed a few problems like the intake height and radiator location, plus a few other issues that could easily be solved. These diesel motors are detuned and very restricted from the factory—since we only use it for off-road use, Ronnie told us he could perform a few tricks that would give our 12-valve wide-open performance. So a date was set and some space was cleared at Slo No Mo Fabrication in Seabring, Florida, for a few simple modifications that should give our diesel buggy around 350 hp, which is plenty for what we do.
After the team at Slo No Mo did their thing, we loaded up the buggy and dragged it over to Bighead Aluminum in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, for some new railing that will look really cool and make it safer up front. Other changes we are making will be repositioning the driver’s seat, pedals, and dashboard to the center of the deck as well as adding a pair of forward-facing seats just behind the driver. The plan is to unveil an all-new look on our one-of-a-kind mud buggy, so stay tuned for updates.