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.
Classic Ride: '85 Chevy S-10 Blazer
Proud owner/hometown: Brandon Roberts/Claremore, Oklahoma
The dirt: A 2-inch Superlift suspension and a 3-inch Performance Accessories body lift help make room for a set of 31-inch TrXus MT tires mounted on 15x8 Progressive aluminum wheels. Dressing up the exterior is a Grizzly brushguard. A K&N air filter helps the stock 2.8L V-6 breathe a bit easier.
Oh, and...: It sure doesn't look like a 22-year-old rig.
Classic Ride: '79 Ford F-350 Stepside
Proud owner/hometown: Dana Bishop/Stockton Springs, Maine
The dirt: This truck belonged to Bishop's dad. Bishop built the truck in honor of him after he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. The F-350's long list of mods includes a 466ci V-8 that makes 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque; a C6 transmission with shift kit and 3,000 rpm stall; a Dana 60 front axle with Detroit Locker; a Dana 60 rear axle with Detroit Locker and Moser 35-spline axleshafts; 4.88:1 gears; 44x19.5-16.5 Boggers; 9-inch Superlift suspension lift; and a 4-inch body lift.
Oh, and...: The little girl pictured with the truck is Bishop's niece, and she insists the truck is actually hers, not Bishop's.
Classic Ride: '72 Ford F-100
Proud owner/hometown: Jeremy White/Santa Rosa, California
The dirt: This great-looking truck has a 390ci engine with an aftermarket camshaft, an Edelbrock intake manifold and 650cfm carburetor, and dual Flowmaster exhaust; a four-speed manual transmission with granny-low; an NP205 transfer case; a Dana 44 high-pinion front axle with welded diff gears; a Ford 9-inch rear with limited-slip diff; 4.10:1 gears; a 6-inch suspension lift with Pro Comp ES9000 shocks; a 3-inch body lift; 38x14.50 Toyo Mud-Terrain tires; 15x10 Black Rock Crawler wheels; and custom bumpers with forward- and rear-facing Hella lights.
Oh, and...: White is only 16 years old, and he did all of the work on his truck himself-with some help from his dad.
Classic Ride: '79-'84 Toyota pickup
Proud owner/hometown: Lou Parker/Wittenborg, Nova Scotia, Canada
The dirt: Parker's Toy is a conglomeration of six model years of Toyota pickup. It sports a 22R four-cylinder engine with header; power steering; a 2-inch suspension lift with modified Revolver shackles; a rear spool; 4.37:1 gears; 35-inch Boggers; rear, a box-mounted radiator, gas tank, and battery; a custom rollcage and tube doors; a Magnum 9,000 winch; and a rear pintle hook.
Oh, and...: This Canadian says he loves leaving his house and being able to wheel for miles and miles without his tires ever touching pavement.
Classic Rides: '80 Chevy K30 and '84 Chevy military-spec K30 rock buggy
Proud owner/hometown: Ty Freed/Bruceville, Indiana
The dirt: The tow rig features an intercooled 5.9L Cummins diesel engine with 4-inch-diameter exhaust and a modified injection pump and turbine housing; a 47RE automatic transmission with Mag-Hytec pan; an NP205 transfer case; a Dana 60 front axle with Mag-Hytec cover; a Corporate 14-bolt rear axle with Detroit Locker, a Mag-Hytec cover and TMF disc brakes; a 4-inch suspension lift with dual shocks and custom TMF rear leaf packs; 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires; Alcoa aluminum wheels; a TMF front bumper with Warn 8274 winch; and an aluminum flatbed. The rock buggy features a 6.2L diesel engine; a TH400 transmission; an NP203/205 ORD Doubler with triple-stick shifters; a Dana 60 front axle with a Detroit Truetrac; a 14-bolt rear axle with Detroit Locker and disc brakes; 4.56:1 gears; 6-inch Superlift suspension lift with ORD rear shackle flip and greasable front swing shackles; ORD crossover steering; 38.5-inch cut Boggers; "cheap" factory steel wheels; and a bobbed rear frame with the rear axle relocated forward 18 inches.
Oh, and...: Freed is an Automotive Technology Program Coordinator at an Indiana University.
Classic Ride: '75 Ford Bronco
Proud owner/hometown: Sean Gaudette/Sterling, Massachusetts
The dirt: Power comes from a fuel-injected 399ci stroked Windsor V-8 putting out 376 hp and 498 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. All that power is routed through a beefy drivetrain that includes a 4L60E transmission; a Dana 20 transfer case; a custom high-pinion Dana 44 front axle with a Detroit Locker, a Performance Unlimited tie rod, track bar, and pitman arm, a Chevy disc-brake conversion, and Warn hubs; a Ford 9-inch rear axle with spool and Warn 31-spline full-float axleshafts. The front suspension system consists of B.C. Broncos 4.5-inch single-rate coil springs and offset radius-arm bushings, Twister radius arms, James Duff Stage 2 shock mounts, Johnny Joint lower shock mounts, and dual Rancho 9012 shocks. The rear suspension features BC Bronco's 4.5-inch leaf springs with 6.5-degree shims and James Duff shocks and Stage 2 shock mounts. This lift combines with 4.88:1 gears to make running 35-inch Super Swamper SSRs on 15x10 Mickey Thompson Challenger wheels plausible. Other mods include a 22-gallon fuel tank; Wild Horses twin-stick transfer-case shifter; Kayline soft top and doors; door inserts; Tuffy rear box; Corry Kittle Rock Ski's and bumpers; and a Warn XDI 9,000 winch.
Oh, and...: By now, Gaudette has probably upgraded to the planned Dana 60s and hydraulic-assist steering.
Classic Ride: '88 Chevy Blazer
Proud owner/hometown: David Walls/Mesa, Arizona
The dirt: Walls has found that simplicity is the right recipe for exploring the Arizona backcountry. His K5 Blazer sports a 350ci V-8 engine with a TBI spacer, a K&N air filter, and an after-cat exhaust; a 700R4 transmission; an NP208 transfer case; 10-bolt axles with rear diff guard; Rancho RSX shocks; 31x10.5 BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires; and a grilleguard with a pair of KC lights.
Oh, and...: Walls says that the Blazer has taken him everywhere he wants to go, and he wouldn't change a thing.