As much as we cover newer-model 4x4s in this magazine, we gotta admit we've still got a soft spot for the old codgers. While many of them boast stout components and are generally easier to modify with their carb'ed engines and leaf-spring suspensions, old rigs pose plenty of problems for builders. Those ancient parts often need rebuilding, replacement parts grow scarcer as the years pass, and old iron is also prone to nasty things like pitting and rust. It takes a special dedication to keep a classic rig running, and even more to transform one into a trail-ready 4x4 such as the half dozen examples shown here.
Owner/Hometown: Brandon Yarbrough/Georgia
What it is: 1979 Ford Bronco
The dirt: Brandon submitted his fullsize Bronco for consideration, and it's certainly got altitude to go along with attitude. Once a backyard junkpile, the Ford now sports a "mildly" built 400ci V-8, which is backed by a new C6 and 205 transfer case, which in turn send power to an open Dana 44 and limited-slipped 9-inch rear. Nine inches of suspension lift and 3 inches of body lift save the sheetmetal from the Wrath of Sawzall while still clearing 39.5-inch IROKs on 15x12 Weld Typhoons. Ring-and-pinion gearing remains 3.50:1 for now (yeeesh!).
Oh, and ...: Future plans call for dual 44s stuffed with 5.13:1s.
Owner/Hometown: Les Jones/Lincoln, California
What it is: 1976 Ford F-100
The dirt: The caravan of reader Fords continues with Les' contribution, his "Ford Dog," which might not look like much here, but it's full of trick mods: low-mileage 427ci Galaxie V-8, C4 automatic, custom drivelines with 1350 'joints, D44 front centersection with D60 outers and Warn hubs and shafts, and 9-inch Currie'd rear end, both housing 4.56:1s and ARBs.
Oh, and ...: The mods continue with stainless brake lines, custom steering from a '68 dumptruck, 60/40 bench from an '01 Ranger, "kickass" sound system, and it all rolls around on 35x12.50 rubber and black steel rims.
Owner/Hometown: Robert Olsen/Manvel, Texas
What it is: 1971 Ford Bronco
The dirt: Besides knowing how to photograph a Reader Rig, Robert obviously knows how to build one too. The cammed and 0.030-overbored 302 runs full-length headers, and the NP435 and Dana 20 funnel the power to the 4.11:1-geared, disc-converted 44 front and 9-inch rear, while a custom power-steering conversion keeps everything headed in the right direction. A James Duff 2 1/2-inch suspension lift provides clearance for the BFG M-Ts, and a 23-gallon fuel tank helps ensure Robert won't run outta ponies or petrol, whether it's on the beach or around the homestead.
Oh, and ...: This is his "first buildup," and is one rig we'd love to see in our driveway.
Owner/Hometown: Andrew Way/Humboldt, California
What it is: 1975 International Scout
The dirt: Andrew, a student at Humboldt State in northern Cali, is arguably proud of his Binder. The '75 is still "largely stock" and runs a 345ci V-8 and 727 TF tranny-which, he notes, he's already replaced twice. (Well, it is a Scout, Andrew.) The Dana 44s have just been treated to a springover, courtesy of Anything Scout in San Jose, while leaving room in the 'wells for 33x12.50 BFG Mudders on Rockcrawler rims. The owner-spray-painted IH is shown here wheeling around Samoa Dunes in Humboldt County-ironic, given the scarcity of grass in the picture.
Oh, and ...: Just one favor we'd like to ask, Andrew: With all that straight sheetmetal on your Scout, can you make sure your entire rig is in the viewfinder next time?)
Owner/Hometown: Tom Orgar/Cloverdale, B.C, Canada
What it is: 1969 Chevy pickup
The dirt: To build for mud, you need at least three basic essentials: power, lift, and traction, and Tom's Chevy pickup would certainly seem to fit the bill. The '69 longbox runs the tried-and-true 350 V-8/Muncie granny 465/NP205 drivetrain combo, and a welded, crossover-steered, 35-spline Dana 60 front and Detroit-Locked 14-bolt rear turn 4.88:1 cogs and 44-inch TSL Boggers. A custom four-link front suspension and 8-inch Cherokee rear springs work in tandem with Rancho RS 9000s to provide flex and to dampen the ride in and around the bogs near Tom's home.
Oh, and ...: Canadians say the word "about" funny but we love them anyway.
Owner/Hometown: Andrew Davis/Asheboro, North Carolina
What it is: 1961 International Scout 80
The dirt: Andrew's Scout 80 is an extremely rare rig. Why? First, it's a '61, the first year IH made them. Second, the bodywork is intact and free of rust. And third, it's a half-cab version with a fold-down windshield. This 80 is largely stock, though the ol' 152ci four-cylinder has been ditched for an Edelbrock'd and Holly'fied 350 Chevy, which shares the 'bay with a K&N and an MSD Blaster. From there, it's all trusty old Scout parts-T-90 trans, Spicer 18 'case, and Dana 27 axles, the front sporting Warn premium hubs and both turning 4.27:1 gears. Rolling stock comprises 30x9.50 Sport King A/Ts on 15x8 Pacer Rock Crawler rims.
Oh, and ...: Yes, those Patriot side pipes are indeed the exhaust.