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2012 Top Truck Challenge Challengers

Tank Trap 2011
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted April 1, 2012
Contributors: Ken Brubaker
Photographers: Readers

Who will be the chosen one?

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Top Truck Challenge in 2012, we’re doing something never before done at the event and it will undoubtedly make our platinum anniversary one of the most unique, fascinating, and exciting Top Truck competitions to date.

We’ve sent a formal invitation to all of the past Top Truck Challenge Grand Champions to return to Hollister Hills, California, to go head-to-head in our weeklong thrashfest. We’re calling it the Top Truck Champions’ Challenge (TTCC). Past Grand Champions can drive the rig they competed in previously, or they can drive something new. As long as the vehicle meets the build and safety criteria laid out in the rules they’re good to go in this year’s competition. It’s going to be an amazing week as some of the world’s best off-road drivers are reunited at this unprecedented event to do battle in Hollister Hills’ inhospitable conditions.

As if TTCC wasn’t mind-blowing enough, we’ve added yet another twist. Back in the November and December ’11 issues of Four Wheeler, we announced that one lucky Four Wheeler reader would be invited to compete in TTCC. We invited you to fill out the official entry form and send it in for your chance to be voted in by the Four Wheeler readers. Many of you sent in your entry forms and here are the TTCC reader hopefuls. In this collection you’ll see a number of incredible first-time entries as well as some previous competitors that want to return to Hollister to do it all again. Entries came from all over the continental U.S. and even Canada, Alaska, Belgium, and Germany.

So now it’s your turn again. Turn to page 35 and remove the Official Top Truck Champion’s Challenge 2012 ballot, peruse the following collection of incredible rigs, and then vote for the one rig you want to see go head-to-head against past Top Truck Challenge Grand Champions. Please note that only the official ballot found in this issue of Four Wheeler will be accepted. Photocopies and/or faxes will be ignored. Just remove the Official Ballot and clearly write the corresponding entry number of your choice on the ballot and mail it to the supplied address by Saturday, March 31, 2012. You may send in as many official ballots as you wish. The reader you choose will be notified the first week of April and invited to compete in Top Truck’s legendary collection of events consisting of the Tow Test, Frame Twister, Mud Pit, Obstacle Course, Hill Climb, Mini Rubicon, and Tank Trap. So what do you say? Who is the chosen one?

1. Dusty Windust, Fairbanks, Alaska
1997 Dodge Ram 1500

Windust wants to bring his supercharged, small-block-powered, Rockwell-fitted, tube-wrapped Ram to the Lower 48. It’s a fine example of a trail-ready fullsize. But is it ready for the brutal Frame Twister?
Engine: 5.9L Chrysler V-8
Transmission: 46RE, manual valvebody
Transfer case: Atlas II, 3.8:1
Axles, f/r: 2½-ton Rockwell/2½-ton Rockwell
Traction aids, f/r: ARB Air Locker/Ouverson spool
Ratio: 6.72:1
Suspension, f/r: Five-link, 16-in-travel RaceRunner coilovers/leaf spring, shackle flip
Tires: 54-in Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTCs
Special features: ProCharger supercharger, 9,000-lb Warn winch, PSC hydraulic steering, custom bed and doors, exocage
Driver experience: 21 years

2. Eric Kam, Manning, Alberta, Canada
86 Chevy K20

Kam says he personally built this rig over a two year timeframe and along the way he lost his fiancé over it. We’re not sure if he’s kidding about that last part, but he’s obviously all-in with this rig. Will you let him into TTCC?
Engine: 496ci Chevy V-8
Transmission: TH400
Transfer case: NP205
Axles, f/r: 2½-ton Rockwell/2½-ton Rockwell
Traction aids, f/r: Welded/welded
Ratio: 6.72:1
Suspension, f/r: Custom four-link, coilovers/custom four-link, coilovers
Tires: 46-in Interco IROKs
Special features: Electronic fuel injection, 5,000-lb Mile Marker winch, EVO spherical rod ends on the four-link bars, 20-in wheels, approximately 500hp
Driver experience: 10 years

3.Aaron Hair, Spanish Fork, Utah
2011 Custom Buggy

Hair has entered TTC previously, but since then he has built this custom four-seat buggy from scratch. It has big-block power, Rockwell axles, and four-wheel steering. Will you let him steer it to California?
Engine: 455ci Buick V-8
Transmission: TH400
Transfer case: NP203/205 doubler
Axles, f/r: 2½-ton Rockwell/2½-ton Rockwell
Traction aids, f/r: Ouverson locker/Ouverson locker
Ratio: 6.72:1
Suspension, f/r: Three-link, track bar, 16-in-travel Radflo coilovers, Radflo hydraulic bumpstops/four-link, Radflo coilovers, Radflo hydraulic bumpstops
Tires: 52-in tractor tires
Special features: Quadrajet carburetor, Ouverson axleshafts, 9,500-lb Bulldog winch
Driver experience: 13 years

4. Tony Hudson, Bonifay, Florida
1982 Toyota SR5

Hudson says his Toyota has been “jumped, floated, smashed and fixed, stuck, and broke many times.” Sounds like he has already been to Top Truck.
Engine: 22R Toyota I-4
Transmission: 340AL
Transfer case: Marlin Crawler, 4.7:1
Axles, f/r: Dana 60/Dana 60
Traction aids, f/r: Spool/spool
Ratio: 7.17:1
Suspension, f/r: Leaf/leaf
Tires: 54-in Interco Super Swamper TSL Boggers
Special features: Supercharger, High Angle Driveline driveshafts, 35-spline Moser axleshafts, rollcage, five-point safety harnesses, 8,000-lb winch
Driver experience: 20 years

5. Draken Off Road, Garrettsville, New York
1985 Jeep Cherokee

About the only XJ parts left on this machine is some of the bodywork. The rig sports muscle, flex, and grunt, which is exactly what it would need in the Tank Trap.
Engine: 350ci Chevy V-8
Transmission: TH400
Transfer case: NP203/Dana 300 doubler
Axles, f/r: Dana 44/GM 14-bolt
Traction aids, f/r: Detroit Locker/welded
Ratio: 5.38:1
Suspension, f/r: Draken Off Road four-link/Draken Off Road four-link
Tires: 39.5-in Pitbulls
Special features: Throttle body injection, front and rear Superwinch winches
Driver experience: 25 years

6. Barney Hoover, Terrell, Texas
1982 Jeep CJ-7
Hoover’s AMC-powered CJ is a classic example of a trail-ready machine. If you vote him in he says the rig will get 18-inch-travel ORI struts, a new rollcage, and larger tires.
Engine: 360ci AMC V-8
Transmission: TH350
Transfer case: NP203/Dana 300 doubler
Axles, f/r: 2½-ton Rockwell/2½-ton Rockwell
Traction aids, f/r: Ouverson locker/Ouverson locker
Ratio: 6.72:1
Suspension, f/r: Wishbone, coilovers/wishbone, coilovers
Tires: 44-in Interco Super Swamper TSLs
Special features: Howell fuel injection, Mean Green alternator, PSC hydraulic steering, RCI fuel cell, Magnaflow exhaust, Art Carr shifter, Bart beadlock wheels, Warn M8274-50 winch, Auto Meter gauges, Tuffy security box, GenRight rear armor
Driver experience: 13 years

7. Ron George, Osceola, Iowa
1973 Ford Bronco

No stranger to Top Truck, George competed in 2007 and earned a respectable Third Place finish. He’s back with a new front axle and transmission among other things and he wants to line his Bronco up against the Grand Champions.
Engine: 420ci Ford V-8
Transmission: C6
Transfer case: BorgWarner 13-45
Axles, f/r: Dana 70/Dana 70
Traction aids, f/r: Detroit Locker/welded
Ratio: 5.86:1
Suspension, f/r: One-link, coil/one-link, coil
Tires: 49-in tractor tires
Special features: Propane injection, rear-mounted radiator, hydraulic steering, rear disc brakes, 24-in beadlock
wheels, plastic bucket seats, 9,000-lb Superwinch winch
Driver experience: 25 years

8. Tyler Humphries, Hinton, Alberta, Canada
1987 Chevy S-10

Humphries says his rig is all owner-fabbed on a budget. He says he’ll add a Detroit Locker to the front axle if chosen and he’ll be ready at “go-time.”
Engine: 350ci Chevy V-8
Transmission: TH400
Transfer case: NP205, divorced
Axles, f/r: Dana 60/GM 14-bolt
Traction aids, f/r: Open/welded
Ratio: 4.10:1
Suspension, f/r: 52-in leaf springs, Rancho shocks, custom spring hangers/63-in leaf springs, Pro Comp shocks, custom spring hangers Tires: 49-inch Interco Iroks
Special features: Quadrajet carburetor, front and rear Warn 8274 winches
Driver experience: “Since birth”

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