Not everyone at OFF-ROAD liked the Sport Trac, but Contributing Editor Kevin Blumer dug it. "Yeah, the 'Wonder Woman' paint job was easy to poke fun at, and the thing had no shortage of mechanical issues, but it was a perfect size for an all-around vehicle," Kevin states. Four seats and long-travel 4WD were a primo combination and the truck served the magazine and its staff well over the years since it was taken on as a project almost a decade ago.
In 2009 it was decided that the truck was no longer needed as part of our fleet and was sold. We kept the lasso, though.
We finally acquired ourselves an S-10 to build after countless emails and letters asking tech questions about them. We would have opted for the truck, but we were happy to take the Jimmy at the price we got it for.
Recently, we did run a story introducing the little S-10, but you might have missed it if you're not an avid S-10 enthusiast as it wasn't too exciting. We basically had to get some things running and in working order before we started moving it from shop to shop to be built. We'll have more S-10 stories to show you in a few months.
This little Polaris RZR was about the absolute most fun that you could fit into the back of a truck bed. We in no way want to encourage you to copy us (so please don't) but we could have stacked cars up and jumped over them with some of the stunts we pulled in this little RZR. It did have a few months of downtime though after playing chicken with a giant boulder at about 40 mph. Guess which one won? Unfortunately, our little RZR was on a year-long loan from Polaris and they've since taken it back. Yes, we miss our little-bed toy.
The Wasabi Project
After wanting to address a little more of the compact prerunner truck market, we set out looking for an S-10 and an older pre-Tacoma Toyota truck. An early '90s Toyota truck still seems like one of the most sensible buys in the compact-truck market because it gets better fuel economy than most currently-produced trucks. Plus, we could pick one up for a couple grand.
Over the course of its build, we stuck fiberglass in the front along with 32-inch BFGs and a Chaos long-travel kit. By the time you read this, it will be back from Arizona, where it's currently getting an LC Engineering four-banger built for it. Wasabi so hot that it's on fire!
The $400 All-Purpose XJ
This one hasn't seen a single magazine page yet, but we are already almost done with our $400 Cherokee project (well, it'll be worth more than $400 once we're done with it). Bought with a bad head and an already-conceived plan, we went to work immediately building this XJ before ever writing a single story so we could do some thorough testing before it gets some ink in the mag. Wait for it.
'04 Dodge 2500
When a good friend bought a 2004 Dodge 2500 4x4 and we couldn't (still can't) afford to get a bitchin' diesel truck to turn into the ultimate chase/haul/tow vehicle, this blue 2500 Dodge started getting built into what may be one of the most badass daily-driven diesels out there. It doesn't look too gnarly at a glance and only puts out about 800 to 1,000 lb-ft of torque (depending on the tune), but our diesel Dodge is getting 20 mpg on 37-inch Toyo tires and can tow more than most other diesels, thanks to beefed up rear end and a six-speed manual transmission outfitted with an ATS clutch and manual tranny cooling system. We're gonna try to pull a house down with it soon.
Kevin Blumer has had his 4Runner for a little over a year now, and he loves it. Since most of us are rolling fullsize at this magazine, we're glad Blumer picked up this midsize sport ute, adorned with a Total Chaos long-travel kit and some front fiberglass. It's still pretty new, but we'll see what mods we can talk Blumer into a little later down the road once it has a few more dings in it. It's only a matter of time.
1st Gen Tacoma Project
Our first-generation Tacoma project was a lot of fun and was really easy to build. The availability of aftermarket parts made this project a bolt-on special that was easy to take to the next level with long-travel suspension, fiberglass, and bumpers. But as many of you probably saw in the two-page spread in November 2009's issue, our Toyota Tacoma project is no longer with us. Two barrel rolls late at night decommissioned this truck forever, as the cab ripped completely off of the frame. Luckily all the passengers survived, and none with life-threatening injuries. R.I.P, little Tacoma.