No, this Atlas II didn't magically appear under the truck today. It was the result of three months of hard work by our friends at Advance Adapters. When we approached them originally to see if they had anything that would work under our Titan, they had no adapters in the works, and none planned for the near future. But after several weeks of R&D, Advance had produced one for us -- it's one of only nine Titan Atlas II adapters in existence. So, yes, you can blame us for the newest Atlas II application.
8:00 a.m.: With our new transfer case mounted in place, Toby's righthand man, Nick, started the tedious process of removing all unnecessary crossmembers and body mounts from the frame. The task for the day was frame beef, cool-guy style. The idea pretty much came to Toby when he realized the frame width wasn't fat enough to work with the enormous Evolution Machine Shop rod ends we picked for the project. We needed another 1/2 inch of frame width in order to make things fit right. So out came the cold-rolled steel plate, and by the time Domino's arrived with dinner, our Titan's frame was fitted with enough steel to make an armored-car driver jealous.
12:05 p.m.: This is how the stock Titan frame looked once all the body mounts and paint were removed. Next, the cab was solid-mounted to the frame with custom-fabricated body mounts. By replacing the OE body mounts with stronger fabricated units, the interior rollcage we planned to build later would be easy to tie directly into the frame in a sanitary manner.
3:10 pm: This picture shows just how much detail went into plating the frame. Each of those holes had to be drilled with a 3-inch hole saw on a drill press. Despite the cool-looking texture the holes added to the inner framerails, they had to be covered up by two additional layers of steel plating. Why go through all the trouble? The holes provided additional weld surface, ensuring that the plates were solidly attached to the frame. This is a trick that Trophy Truck builders use to guarantee structural rigidity where it counts most.
10:25 p.m.: Much of Night 2 was spent building the rear suspension upper-link arm mounts and attaching them to the frame. Here, you can see Nick cleaning up an area in preparation for finish welding. Check out the trick tubular rear body mount substructure visible in the background. The rear four-link setup uses links and rod ends identical to the front, except that the rear is composed of four equal-length links instead of three. Triangulated, with appropriately spaced mounts, this setup was designed to flex exceptionally well without binding.