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When Steve McNicholas, of Mission Viejo, California, got into wheeling a few years back, he had a dream of acquiring a 4x4 that would outperform the typical trail rig. So he contacted Soni Honegger of Tactical Engineering. The two of them devised a plan to build a 4-seat Scorpion MKII, a high-tech rockcrawling marvel that would have room for the whole family. The Scorpion has received major recognition at rockcrawling championships over the past few years and the Scorpion MKI took First place at Four Wheelers Top Truck Challenge in 1998.
Obviously, the major distinction between the MKII and its predecessor is the length of the tube-frame. Soni stretched his original version by 12 inches to accommodate two rear seats. The chassis is constructed of 2-inch-diameter, 0.120-inch-wall DOM tubing, hand-bent by fabricator Soni. A significant amount of diamond-plate covers the MKIIs private parts. The full tubular chassis allows for the Scorpion MKII to have integrated bumpers and mounts for the pintle hitch, as well as for a Warn MIL-6000 military winch.
Power comes from a Chevy 350 crate motor with a GM TBI system feeding the mill and Hooker Super Competition Block Hugger headers and Aero Chamber mufflers expelling the fumes. Electrical mods include a Delco 12-volt, 120-amp alternator and Dual Optima batteries. To ensure successful fording capabilities, Soni designed the MKII with an enclosed air-cleaner system as well as enclosed axle, transmission, and T-case vents. The power from the mill threads through an Art Carrprepped TH700-R4 transmission that is connected to an Atlas II transfer case featuring a 3.8:1 low-range ratio. A Dana 44 Scout frontend houses 4.56:1 gears and a Detroit Locker, while the rear features a stout, 4.56:1-geared Dana 60 with an ARB. Both axles are connected to the T-case with Tom Woods driveshafts. The axles also boast cross-drilled rotors for precision stopping power. All this hardware turns 35-inch Boggers mounted on super-light bead-locked 15x9 M.T.R. carbon-fiber wheels.
The MKII features Sonis Articulation Equalization System (AES), a suspension setup that features 12-inch Firestone airbags filled by a Thomas air compressor. This allows the driver to control the ride height from inside and, with the help of the multi-link suspension design, makes for super-stable articulation. Bilstein heavy-duty gas-filled shocks are mounted at each corner and provide a smooth ride. A Saginaw power-steering setup with a custom tilt-steering column makes it easy for Steve to navigate through the toughest of landscapes.
Inside, the controls for the fully adjustable suspension reside between the seats on a custom stainless-steel dash and console, as do the shifters and VDO gauges. Front and rear Steel Horse bucket seats are equipped with R.J.S. Racing 5-point harnesses to keep driver and passengers safely inside the rig. The RAPCO Desert Tan base paint gives the MKII the appearance of a Desert Storm reconnaissance vehicle, especially when the military exterior lights are switched on.
The Scorpion MKII is just the latest version of an already proven and impressive vehicle. And it was built to handle any off-road situation, yet comfortably carry passengers.