Cheap Truck Challenge 2016
Good Times on a Nickle & Dime
Now is the best time ever to build a cheap truck. In years past you needed flashy paint to be cool, then it took a wacky suspension to be cool and eventually full-blown race truck technology, but not anymore. Ugly is in, and it’s easy to be ugly on a budget. Cheap tricks are cool, and cheap trucks are the coolest. Just scan any social media or trail ride and you will find lots of people with nice new Jeeps all standing around the guy with a ratty old beater and checking it out.
Heck, our web show Roadkill epitomizes the low-buck beater patina look for muscle cars and cheap trucks and their influence is snowballing. Lots of people are excited about cheap beater-looking vehicles packed full of high-dollar parts to give them that ratty look but with good parts hidden underneath. Everyone on staff here has built something like this once or twice. So it’s prime time to build a cool low-buck truck. You’ll actually be in the “in crowd” (as if that matters—it doesn’t really).
Of course, building on a budget isn’t just cool, it’s practical. Most of us don’t have the endless checkbook budget from starting our own dot-com biz. We need to make do on a nickel and dime. That is why we here at 4-Wheel & Off-Road do our annual Cheap Truck Challenge. We want to show how to have fun and build a 4x4 that isn’t a total wallet puncher but still works respectable on the trail.
This year we changed it up again with just two teams, two trucks, but two guys per team to help get the work done. The contenders were the Dirtheads with a Jeep Liberty (purchase price $2,000) and the Dust Dawgs with a K5 Blazer (purchase price $1,300). Both teams had budgets of $2,016 to buy a truck and $2,016 to fix it up. These are amounts that we consider could be earned by the average kid hustling one summer flipping burgers, mowing lawns, chopping firewood, or starting his own dot-com biz.