It's often a challenge to build a shiny new truck where everything comes apart quick and easy. It can be a total migraine to build a 20-plus-year-old truck that's rusted into a ball. With that said, the following 13 rigs honor those folks who have battled rust and hard-to-find parts to keep the classics on the trail.
Classic ride: 1979 Toyota FJ40
Proud Owner/hometown: Al Miller/Camas, Washington
Juicy details: This excellent example of a classic FJ has a 3-inch lift in the back to level it out, Rancho RS 9000 shocks, an Auburn limited-slip in the rear axle, a header on the 2F engine, Chevy power steering, and a steering correction kit. Inside, there's a Pioneer six-disc remote CD player and an AM/FM cassette player with four Pioneer football-type speakers attached to the rollcage. Outside, the rig has a very well done, homemade brushguard, a Warn 9,000-pound winch, and some extra braces on the ends of the front bumper for a "little extra protection." The Toy rolls on 33x10.50 BFG A-Ts on American Racing 15x8 wheels.
Super cool: It has air conditioning so Al doesn't have to eat dust, sweat, or battle bugs on those summer trail adventures.
Classic ride: 1979 Ford F-250
Proud Owner/hometown: Nick Szczerba/Sutersville, Pennsylvania
Juicy details: The 351ci engine has been rebuilt and fitted with a performance camshaft and dual exhaust. The transmission is a four-speed manual. Up front there's a Dana 44 axle, and in the rear there's a fat Dana 60. Gearing is 4.10:1. A 4-inch suspension lift and a 3-inch body lift allow fitment of 35x12.50 BFG A-T tires on 16.5x9.75 Eagle 589 wheels. On the outside of the rig, there's a Ramsey 8,000-pound winch bolted to a custom front bumper, five KC Daylighters, and a Hi-Lift jack.
Super cool: Nick is only 17 years old, and did all the work on the truck himself. He says it's the biggest truck in the student parking lot at his high school.
Classic ride: 1985 Ford Ranger
Proud Owner/hometown: Joe Waskewicz/Seymour, Connecticut
Juicy details: This heavily modified rig sports a 302ci GT-40 crate engine, a built C4, a twin-sticked Dana 20, a Dana 44 front axle (with Moser axleshafts and a Detroit Locker), and a Ford 9-inch rear axle (with spool). The Ranger also boasts a custom five-link front suspension with 24-inch coils and Rancho RS 9000 shocks, and a rear 6-inch-lift leaf-spring suspension with 6-inch blocks, Teraflex Revolver shackles, and RS 9000s. On the outside there's a Superwinch 9,500-pound winch and homemade bumpers. The rig rolls on 39.5-inch Boggers mounted on 15x14 steel wheels.
Super cool: Hydraulic-steering assist ensures that Joe can point the big Boggers wherever he wants.
Classic ride: 1976 Jeep CJ-5
Proud owner/hometown: Jerry Hancock/Novato, California
Juicy details: Jerry did all the work on this rig himself, and he injected the 30-year-old rig (no pun intended) with lots of new tech. Gone is the carbureted 258ci I-6 engine, replaced with an SFI multiport 3.4L Chevy V-6. He also added power steering and a 4-inch suspension lift. Inside the rig, there's a pair of new bucket seats with Simpson 3-inch racing seatbelts, a custom steering wheel, and a custom padded rollcage and center console. Outside, the rig has four roof-mounted KC lights, an 8,000-pound Warn winch and 2-inch-diameter ridged steel nerf bars.
Super cool: The rear of the CJ features several securely mounted diamond-plated storage bins for safe, secure storage of trail necessities. There's also a pair of diamond-plated speaker boxes.
Classic ride: 1984 Dodge Ram 1500
Proud owner/hometown: Marcus Truskey/Beaufort, North Carolina
Juicy details: Marcus says that this rig is his "money pit" as well as "true love." It has a 318ci engine, a TorqueFlite 727, an NP208 transfer case, a Tru-Trac'd 9.25-inch rear axle, and a Dana 44 front axle. It rolls on 35x12.50 Mud King tires that fit courtesy of a 2-inch body lift and a Rough Country 4-inch suspension lift. Other goodies and upgrades include onboard air, two five-gallon fuel cans, Hella lights, three toolboxes, and Bushwacker flares.
Super cool: After removing the doors, Marcus took a Sawzall to the roof and parts of the cab. He had a custom rollcage built and then adapted a CJ-7 bikini top to fit.