Everything You Wanted To Know About Cheap Truck Challenge
But Were Afraid To Ask
Too cheap or not too cheap. That is the question. We build a lot of high-end, no-compromise vehicles on these pages, most famously the flagship vehicle for our annual Ultimate Adventure. And we are unapologetic about that, because it provides the opportunity to showcase the latest technology, innovative fabrication, and clever tech that you can apply to your own wheeling rig with a little creativity. That said, we recognize that you don’t have to spend a small fortune in order to have a good time off-road. To demonstrate this principle, we get together every year for the penny pinchers’ ball we call the Cheap Truck Challenge.
The premise is simple: Spend $2,014 (or less) on a vehicle and another $2,014 (or less) to modify it for trail performance. Along the way there is typically some fuzzy math that would result in an audit from the IRS, but we let it slide. The whole point is to have a good time without going broke. If that means spending less on your vehicle so you have more money to modify it, or selling parts to supplement your budget, then so be it.
This year, Falken Tire sponsored CTC along with Daystar and Voodoo Off-Road, so all of the competitors were equipped with Falken tires, with one vehicle being purchased with Falkens and another spending his entire budget on racing tires. New rubber can put a big dent in your budget, but the increase in ground clearance and traction make tires arguably the best upgrade you can make.
|Top Cheap Truck Upgrades|
|• Taller, more aggressive tires|
|• Suspension lift|
|• Locking differentials (at least one)|
|• Rocker protection|
|• Recovery gear|
|Top Features to Look for in a Cheap Truck|
|• V-8 engine|
|• Healthy transmission (manual if possible)|
|• Lever-shifted transfer case with low range|
|• Solid axles|
|• Simple suspension (coils are good; leaves are even simpler)|
|• Body-on-frame construction (though Jeep Unibody’s work well)|
|• Good aftermarket support|