In order to weld the rear diagonal and horizontal bars completely, Moore leaned the main hoop forward and tipped the halo hoop through where the windshield would have been to get to the backside of the joints. These 360-degree welds add strength and impress other fabricators who wonder if Fabworx cut the roof off the truck to do it.
In a serious rollover the cage could still punch through the floor of the cab, so a seat cage was built to mount our new Mastercraft Rubicon seats to. Now both occupants will be surrounded by the cage structure - even if the entire cab were to be ripped off the frame. The seat cage is also much better at coping with the weight of two 200-pound guys bouncing around on the trail than the sheetmetal floor ever was. If you're considering building your own seat cage (or even just new seat mounts), make sure you verify the seating position before you burn in the final welds.
While the cage was going in, we were hard at work on the truck's wiring and brake lines. Larry "Yodaman" Kitahara runs a shop in Santa Rosa specializing in Toyota 4x4s. He could tell we were in serious need of some help, so he volunteered his nights and a couple weekends to the cause. Next to rebuilding Toyota engines, Kitahara's specialty is electrical problems. Who better to blend our truck's original wiring with the new Ramjet harness? Thanks again, Larry!
Time was of the essence, so rather than try and rework the original 1975 stepside bed, we scored this 1985 version from one of Bryan McCully's buddies. KC Customs unbolted the fenders and tore out the rotted wooden floor so Brad Atkins of American Bead Blasting could strip the old paint and scale off of it. The rear fenders also needed to be reworked for tire clearance and departure angle. De La Montanya masked off the trick new bodyline and used his Hobart plasma cutter to carve it out without warping the entire piece. Then he pounded in a new 3/4-inch flange to give the piece some strength and prevent it from flexing.
With the fenders, bed, and hood on deck for the paint booth, KC Customs moved onto the cab - which would end up being the only part of the original body we reused! The rockers were cut off at the doorsill so they could be replaced with 2x4-inch, 1/4-inch-wall rectangular tubing that will act as our rock sliders.
KC Customs opted to get a set of reproduction doors for our truck locally ($100 each), because the originals had 15 pounds of Bondo in each of them and they still needed work. De La Montanya is laughing because even with a new set of GM door hinges (the old ones were beyond repair), the fit of the reproduction panels is horrendous and will need a lot of shimming to make the body lines match up.
The nicest piece of sheetmetal on the truck is the Reflexxion cowl induction hood. This all-steel hood is built to OEM-quality standards and is the only brand KC Customs uses because the craftsmanship is so good. Tom Burke is scuffing up the DuPont Imron 6000 paint De La Montanya laid down two days ago so that Bryan Kinney can lay out some of his famous flames and give our truck some personality.