Here's to you 'wheelers who turn up your nose at new truck smell. Here's to you folks who scoff at any rig that hasn't been paid off longer than your current age. These are the "old hands" of the 'wheeling world. If they could talk they'd tell of backcountry explored and kids hauled to school during blinding snowstorms. They're still on duty, thanks to a hardy lot of 'wheelers who have the patience and the skills to keep 'em running.
Classic Ride: '86 Ford F-150 Flareside
Proud owner/hometown: Corey Thorpe/Oxford, Connecticut
The dirt: Thorpe has been quite busy. Since he purchased his truck he has swapped in a 5.0L H.O. V-8 engine and four-speed transmission; a BDS 2-inch suspension lift up front; stiffer extended cab leaf springs in the rear; BDS shocks all the way around; all new brake components and lines; 15x10 American Racing Baja wheels; 33x12.50 Mastercraft Courser A/Ts; and a new interior with Pioneer sound system. In addition, he installed a new solid-white-oak bed floor with stainless steel strips and hardware and he and his father applied the custom paint job consisting of Mercedes Black and John Deere Green.
Oh, and...: Thorpe is only 17 years old, and this is his first truck.
Classic Ride: '72 Ford Bronco
Proud owner/hometown: Larry Holloway/Dublin, California
The dirt: This trail-ready steed is powered by a 302ci engine that has been bored 0.030 over and fitted with an Edelbrock camshaft and Performer heads, a Howell/GM throttle-body fuel-injection system, a DUI/GM distributor, a Flowmaster dual exhaust, and a Be-Cool radiator. Power is transferred to the axles via an NV4500 transmission with a Centerforce clutch and a Dana 20 transfer case. The front axle is a Dana 44 with ARB Air Locker, Warn axleshafts, CTM U-joints, and James Duff disc brakes. The rear axle is a reverse-cut Currie 9-inch with Detroit Locker and Warn full-float axleshafts. Gearing is 4.56:1. A Wild Horses 5.5-inch suspension lift with extended radius arms and dual front shocks and a 3-inch body lift help make room for a set of 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain tires on Centerline wheels.
Oh, and...: That's Holloway's daughter Katie waving from the passenger seat.
Classic Ride: '85 Chevy 1/2-ton pickup
Proud owner/hometown: Matt Hammond/Nucla, Colorado
The dirt: This Moab-prowling rig features a pair of axles from a 31/44-ton Chevy truck, and they're geared at 4.56:1. The body sits on a 3-inch lift and the truck rolls on 35-inch BFG All-Terrains. Hammond replaced the factory throttle body on the 350ci engine with a carburetor and fabbed up a custom transfer-case crossmember to improve ground clearance. New bumpers should be on by the time you read this.
Oh, and...: The paint job cost $30 and came from spray cans.
Classic Ride: '84 Chevy K5 Blazer
Proud owner/hometown: Ryan Morris/Denver, Colorado
The dirt: This tall Blazer gets its height from 12-inch-lift Superlift leaf springs and a 3-inch body lift. It's powered by a 350ci engine that features a K&N air filter and Flowmaster exhaust system. The powerplant sends power to a four-speed manual trans with granny low gear. Torque is split to the open front Dana 44 axle and the disc-braked and posi'd rear Dana 60 axle via an NP208 transfer case. Both axles sport 4.56:1 gears to offset the 38x15.5 Swamper TSL's mounted on 15x12 Eagle 589 wheels. Inside, there's a competition-quality audio system. Outside, the Blazer has Bushwacker fender flares and Smittybilt bumpers.
Oh, and...: Like Thorpe, Morris is only 17 years old, and he did most of the work himself with a little help from his dad.
Classic Ride: '49 Willys Overland Pickup
Proud owner/hometown: Robert and Linda Wittenback Jr./London, Kentucky
The dirt: This old four-wheel-drive Willys is so cool, it's almost painful. The Luzon Red rig features an L-134 flathead four-cylinder Go Devil engine; three-speed transmission; two-speed transfer case with front differential disengage; and 16x6.5 Super Traction tires.
Oh, and...: It has recently undergone a complete frame-off restoration.
Classic Ride: '78 Ford F-250
Proud owner/hometown: Pepper Craft/Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin
The dirt: Craft did a complete frame-off restoration on this rig. It features a 400ci V-8; a modified automatic transmission; a 9-inch rear axle with spool; a front Detroit Locker; 5.83:1 gears; a 6-inch Rancho suspension lift; a 2-inch body lift; and 42-inch TSLs. Custom paint and the mandatory Midwest windshield visor round out the mods.
Oh, and...: Craft points out that his F-truck is not for sale.