Off-roading has evolved into such a diverse sport since it began. Every enthusiast has their own dreams and aspirations of their ultimate off-road vehicle. Here at OFF-ROAD magazine, every month we have the amazing opportunity to bring these diverse machines to you from around the world.
This '72 Ford F-100 is one of the most unique prerunners we have ever seen. It comes to us from Kingman, Arizona, resident Greg Holman. Many trucks have been through the meticulous hands of Greg over the last 23 years. Throughout his career, Greg has campaigned numerous off-road race vehicles, including Jeeps, trucks, and buggies.
Although he no longer competes in races, Greg remains a well-respected person in the off-road community through his occupation as a custom header fabricator. Greg's craftsmanship can be found on many top vehicles. His clientele includes off-road racing icons such as Rob MacCachren, Dave Ashley, Robby Gordon, and Larry Ragland, just to name a few. Greg has established himself as the industry leader in custom-fabricated exhaust systems. His fully custom '72 Ford is a manifestation of what happens when opportunity meets knowledge.
Greg has owned this truck since 1984. Originally, he bought it to race in Class 8. The knowledge and connections Greg has with his book of clients more than enables him to fabricate any new-model truck he could dream of. However, loyal to his past, Greg went to work on his trusty '72 F-100.
Even though this is a '72 Ford, the only remaining original part is the cab of the truck. The chassis and rollcage were completely redesigned and fabricated using the highest grade 4130 chrome-moly tubing. The new design placed the engine facing backward in the bed of the truck. Using a Casale V-drive, the driveshaft was redirected to the Ford 9-inch rearend. This was a large challenge, however; similar to many natural-born fabricators, he feels that half the fun of owning a vehicle is getting to build it.
The absence of the engine up front left ample room for an elaborate front suspension system. A set of handcrafted, TIG-welded 4130 chrome-moly A-arms was built specifically for this truck. Because of the missing engine, the arms are mounted in the very center of the chassis and are longer than most. This gives the truck a large amount of travel without being much wider than stock width, therefore enabling the truck to get through tight sections of terrain with ease. The custom arms are matched with a pair of Sway-A-Way shocks on each wheel. One position-sensitive shock and one coilover shock produce 20 inches of wheel travel. Custom secondary hydraulic bumpstops were fabricated to add progression as the truck bottoms out. With no bumpsteer and very little camber change through the travel, this frontend was ready to rock.
When fabricating the rear suspension, he encountered a unique puzzle. The engine now took up most of the bed space. He approached this difficulty by designing a three-link cantilever system that fits around the perimeter of the engine. Just like in the front, he used two different Sway-A-Way shocks per wheel, a coilover for ride height, and a position-sensitive shock. The damping on the position-sensitive shock can be adjusted so that there is more or less damping, depending on where the suspension is in its travel. This technology is found on most trophy trucks and is a key ingredient to a smooth-riding off-road truck. The rear suspension now produces 25 inches of wheel travel. A Sway-A-Way antisway bar was added to keep the Ford stable at speed.