Rob and Bambi Arlaud from Rapid City, South Dakota, like playing in the mud. While some folks feel mud is a tiresome mess and hard on equipment, they see mud as their favorite place to hang out. And don't think that Bambi(yes, her real name) is putting up with her husband's fondness for the sloppy stuff; no, Bambi is one of those special ladies who wholeheartedly enjoys the mud and often tells ol' Rob to get out and let her drive. Over the years they've taken their old Ford truck to many a mud race, but the problem was that their desire to play hard was usually beyond the basic jacked-up suspension under their previous rig. And since Bambi's Powder Puff races were run prior to Rob's class, he usually had to sit out after the truck was broken by his better half. She felt bad for breaking the truck, and he felt bad that his bride didn't have a better ride to wheel in. Something had to be done.
The roof of Rob and Bambi Arlaud's '84 Ranger is a little wrinkled from a rollover the fir
Underhood remains one of the few pieces from Rob and Bambi's old mud truck-the big-block 4
With the engine so far back the cooling system was sent to the back of the bus. The rear b
A Dana 60 up front and Ford Sterling axle out back offer a strong base for this mad machin
A view inside shows the orbital valve for the hydro steering, the full DOM cage, the air c
So what makes this truck so cool? It's built for the mud, but rather than just jacking it
Luckily Rob and Bambi found Jason Paule at Twisted Customs Fabrication. Though known for building rock buggies, the TC crew has dabbled in desert racing and were willing to lend some knowledge to Rob, and Rob was a sponge for the info. The story goes that Rob was going to start with a broken old C-channel truck frame that needed serious beefing, but Jason convinced him to go with an early Bronco frame since it was already boxed. With this new frame they took some desert racing cues and pushed the big-block Ford 460 way back into the frame until it was half way into the cab and down low for better weight distribution. Then Jason gave Rob some pointers on cage and suspension geometry. Now remember that Rob was building this whole thing in his tiny garage behind his house, and every few days Jason would stop by to check on the progress. The story goes that Rob literally built the truck three times because Jason would often advise him to cut out mods or tweak them for better performance or safety. Rob slowly learned that tack-welding in tubing and brackets would save him a lot of time if changes needed to be made, but he never turned down the challenges or advice to make his rig better. Though he burned through countless grinding wheels, he enjoyed the whole project, and now that it's done he's already thinking about the next build.
Engine Ford 460 big-block
Transmission C6 with TCI torque converter
Transfer Case NP205
Front Axle Dana 60, 4.10 gears, Detroit Locker
Rear Axle Sterling 10.5, 4.10 gears, welded spool
Tires & Wheels 38.5x15x16 Super Swamper Boggers on 16x10 Pro Comp Extreme rims
Suspension Four-link front and rear suspension with Fox 211/42-inch coilovers at each corner