Although we know it's called Easter Jeep Safari, what we really love seeing on the rocks in Moab are big fullsize trucks. The Jeeps and smaller 4x4s and buggies do a great job of creeping around on the rocks, but there's something about watching some huge, lumbering beast trying to crawl around on slickrock that just really gets us excited. We were running through Pritchett Canyon hoping to see some fullsize action when we caught up to Scott Strikwerda in his '84 Dodge crew cab, along with two other fullsize Dodges. We were in Dodge Heaven! And after watching Scott on the rocks with a four-door truck that seats six, we think a tight turning radius might be overrated.
Scott's build is a bit different than most, and that can probably be attributed to the fact that Scott started this build when he was a Southern Californian, before escaping to Alpine, Utah, in search of less crowded pastures. The prerunner theme definitely rings through the look, but after moving to red rock country, Scott modified his build to incorporate a dual sport theme that can still blast down the sandy washes, but also crawl through the tight and tall boulders and rock trails that Utah has to offer. Best of all, Scott has still retained enough seats for six people so the whole family can wheel together.
An AGR steering box and hydraulic assist ram help Scott turn those 40-inch MTRs, whether it's at 60 mph in the desert or 6 mph in the rocks. The AGR equipment has been mated to a custom crossover steering system to help reduce bumpsteer during suspension travel. The steering system attaches via standard tie-rod ends to a Dodge low-pinion Dana 60 axle that Scott turned the knuckles on to correct the caster. The axle is stuffed with a Detroit Locker inside a 5.13 ratio ring gear that spins 30-spline stock axles. Outer Limits Motorsports took care of that front bumper fitted with a Warn winch (that didn't have any cable on it during the shoot-Scott must be very sure of his truck's ability).
Though we like the Mopar 360ci engine, this one has a lot of pounds to push around. Scott is waiting for the 360 to die before he yanks it out for a 440 that will find its way into the engine bay soon. But with the gearing packed behind that small-block, the 360 is more than enough to get around with. A four-speed manual tranny takes the small-block's torque and directs power to an Atlas 4.3:1 low-range transfer case that spins two Six States driveshafts.
Up front, Scott added 6-inch Skyjacker Softride leaves with some Boomerang shackles. Pretty standard, and a good combo for his frontend. But in the rear, Scott wanted to revamp Dodge's original plans and make his own leaf-spring setup. The shackle hanger has been flipped for a compression shackle, while the front hanger has been moved forward to accommodate 63-inch-long Pro Comp leaves. Since Dodge used blocks from the factory, Scott decided it'd be OK to get a shorter one and add it in so he could use even flatter leaves in the rear. He angled his shocks inward to gain the maximum amount of travel he could from his Rancho 9000 shocks. That rear Dodge Dana 60 is built the same as the front, with 5.13 gears, a Detroit Locker, and 30-spline axleshafts.
The length and uniqueness of the body was what really caught our attention in Moab and provoked us to shoot Scott's truck. Scott is a Southern California escapee in Utah. He started building his Dodge for the common theme of prerunning in the desert, but in the process moved to Utah where he settled with his family. Those old-school Walker Evans Racing white fiberglass fenders had been sitting in Scott's garage for years, and he had finally added them just days before Moab, hence the lack of paint on them. For some reason, we kind of like the way they stand out in white, and it almost adds to the curvy lines the fiberglass brings to the old boxy body. The rear fiberglass attaches to a rear cage fabbed by Outer Limits Motorsports in Salt Lake City. The entire factory bed was ditched, but basic rails were formed out of tube, and a storage box was mounted in back of the cab for equipment storage.
Engine: 360ci V-8
Transmission: Four-speed manual
Transfer Case: Atlas 4.3:1 low range
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50-17 Goodyear MTRs on 17-inch Weld Racing wheels with Champion bead locks
Suspension: 6-inch Skyjacker front leaves, 63-inch Pro Comp rear leaves
Front Axle: Dana 60 with Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Dana 60 with Detroit Locker