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The Doughnut Truck: Scott Norbryhn’s 1959 Willys Truck Is 4BT-Swapped With 37s and ORI Struts

The Doughnut Truck

Scott Norbryhn had wheeled the trails around Big Bear, California, with various rigs, including an '88 Toyota pickup and a Jeep Cherokee on 37s, but he wanted something different. His search led him to a warehouse in Long Beach, California, where he was introduced to the '59 Willys Pickup. The previous owner had used it for traveling and outfitted the rig with a camper shell, big-block Chevy 454, TH400 transmission, Dana 27 frontend, Ford 9-inch rearend, coilovers in the back, and non-functioning air conditioning. Scott spent a few soggy weeks in his driveway boxing the truck's frame, installing 63-inch leaf springs and building a crossmember for his new Rubicon Express shocks. After replacing the carburetor and reintroducing the truck to commuter duties, Scott realized the 454 was only good for about 8 mpg, and the death wobble was unbearable. His goal was to have a streetable machine, so the truck went back under the wrench.

"The truck had already survived with a 454, so I felt with a little bit of work I could make the frame stronger and put an old reliable Cummins under the hood." After half a year's worth of research, Scott decided against using a Mercedes five-cylinder diesel and opted to source a 4BT from a Chevy P30 delivery van instead. With some modifications to the frame, a custom-built three-link front suspension, and much more, the truck had already won the approval of Scott's kids. Though his son is always first to hop in for a ride, Scott's 4-year-old daughter lent her interior design expertise to the rearview mirror, hanging a doughnut keychain from it and dubbing his ride "The Doughnut Truck."

We caught up with Scott in the California desert while he shoveled snow from the bed of his truck, as he had recently descended from his home in the higher elevations. His wish list for the truck includes a high-pinion Dana 60 frontend, retubed for a passenger-side drop; an Offroad Design Magnum Box and NP205 transfer case; new turbo and intercooler; double-triangulated four-link rear suspension; and more. Even if his dreams of participating in our sister magazine's (4-Wheel & Off-Road) Ultimate Adventure don't come to fruition, Scott plans on many road trips and more off-roading with The Doughnut Truck.

At a Glance

General

Vehicle: '59 Willys truck

Owner: Scott Norbryhn

Stomping grounds: Running Springs, California

Build time: 5 years

Drivetrain

Engine: 3.9L Cummins 4BT turbodiesel

Transmission: Borg-Warner T-19 four-spd manual

Transfer case(s): Dana 20

Low range ratio: 2.0:1

Crawl ratio: 39.24

Front axle/differential: '79 J-20 Dana 44 w/Ford spindles, hubs, and rotors; 4.88:1 gears/open

Rear axle/differential: '79 Ford Bronco 9-in, chromoly 31-spline axleshafts, 4.88:1 gears/Eaton Detroit Locker

Suspension

Front: Custom three-link w/track bar; 0.250-in, 2.5-in-diameter lower links w/Trail-Gear Creeper Joints; 0.125-in, 2-in-diameter upper w/Johnny Joints; ORI STX 12-in struts

Rear: 63-in 3/4-ton Chevy leaf springs, Rubicon Express twin-tube shocks

Tires/Wheels

Tires: 37x13.50R17 Toyo Open Country

Wheels: 17x9 Pro Comp steel

Miscellaneous

Steering: Chevy Astro Van w/PSC hydro-assist and Jeep WJ pitman arm

Armor: Custom-built rear bumper