Each and every week we sit down with our trusty envelope openers and sift through the mountains of snail-mail that pile up high on our desks. We see everything from formal invitations to check out new widgets, to official notices from companies who claim they can solve all our problems with a little green pill. We wish life were that simple-if a mystery pill could somehow resolve our issues, we'd probably swallow one each week before we have to sift through the stack of Readers' Rigs we receive. But nothing in life is simple, and sifting through the weekly deluge of Readers' Rigs submissions is no exception. So we labor our fingers, looking carefully at each photo and critiquing every vehicle to determine which ones work best for Four Wheeler. It's probably the least enjoyable task our staff of editors has to endure. Nobody likes to decide which rigs are more worthy of inclusion, so we decided to give a little more back this time, and along with the usual stats and specifications, we'll explain why we picked each rig, in hopes that you the readers will understand what makes a good Readers' Rig.
Ken Desjardins of Meridien, Connecticut is the proud owner of this '87 Chevy K5 Blazer. This photo makes a great Readers' Rigs selection because it shows that Ken has no problem getting technical with his truck while out on the trail. A balanced Chevy TPI small-block V-8 sends power to an SM465 transmission, then on to an NP205 transfer case with a twin-stick conversion. Both driveshafts were built by High Angle Driveline. A stout Dana 60 front axle is equipped with stainless Mile Marker hubs, and the rear 14-bolt axle features a Detroit Locker and disc brakes. Both pumpkins house 4.88:1 gearing, which Ken says works well with the 42-inch Super Swampers. For steering, Ken added a PSC hydraulic-assist ram setup along with an Off Road Designs high-steer crossover steering linkage kit. Additional mods include a York air compressor, custom front and rear bumpers, 9 inches of lift and a set of Bushwacker cut-out-style fender flares.
Alan Cavendish of Tenino, Washington sent in a picture of his '70 Toyota Land Cruiser back in May 2000. Somehow, we've managed to miss it until now. Chances are Alan has made significant changes to the vehicle since he submitted it, but we're sure he'll be happy nonetheless to see the old 'Cruiser get some ink. Under the hood is a stock I-6 connected to a stock three-speed manual transmission. The axles also remain stock, turning 33-inch Goodyear Wranglers. This is an example of a decent action shot. With mud flying and tires turning, this is the type of photo we like to see.
John Howard of Manassas, Virginia picked the right picture of his '02 Tacoma XtraCab 4x4 at the beach for use as a Readers' Rigs submission photo. We love pictures like this that feature unique settings and/or beautiful scenery. John's Toy features a 3-inch suspension lift and a 2-inch body lift. It has 305/70-16 Dunlop Mud Rovers on Mickey Thompson Classic IIs. For performance, John added a K&N FIPK Gen II intake system as well as a Gibson after-cat exhaust.
This '84 Ford Bronco belongs to Kenny Clark of Westmoreland, Tennessee. Kenny says he takes this 351-powered beast out each and every weekend, as long as it's not in need of repair. A trusty set of 33x12.50 BFG Mud-Terrains helps Kenny find traction in the deepest mud holes. Otherwise the truck is stock. Notice how this picture establishes the setting of Kenny's favorite wheeling spot. We like to see what readers do with their trucks; photos like this make it easy.
This '70 Chevy C20 truck belongs to Shawn Mander of Evans, Colorado. It was originally two-wheel drive that has since been converted to four-wheel drive. Though always in some state of revision, the configuration right now looks pretty stout. Under the hood sits a '95 Chevy LT1 complete with headers, a Flowmaster exhaust and a K&N air filter. Next is a Turbo 400 with a shift kit and other internal mods for strength. The transfer case is an NP241 out of a '90 Blazer. For axles, Shawn set up the rear Dana 60 with a Powr-Lok and 4.56:1 gears. The front is an '87 GM 10-bolt 3/4-ton unit with a Truetrac and 4.56:1s. The front springs are 4-inch Pro Comps on custom mounts for 6 inches of lift. The rear springs are '02 F-250 Super-Duty units with a shackle flip kit and a pair of 3-inch blocks. Additionally, the truck features custom bumpers, rock sliders, and 37-inch SSR radials on 16.5/9.75 wheels. This picture is a classic example of what we like to see in a Readers' Rigs photo. It's well lit, in a natural setting, and the truck is clearly visible.