In the fast-paced world of automotive journalism it's easy to become wrapped up heavily in one project and then no sooner than it's complete move onto the next. Over the past few years we've been fortunate enough to build some incredible vehicles alongside some of the country's most talented fabricators. As editors for 4-Wheel & Off- Road we often get asked, "What do you do with all of those old projects rigs once they disappear from the magazine?"
While the answer varies greatly from rig to editor, we can update you on few from recent years, namely the Danger Ranger, Project Super Cross, and Heavy Metal Mudder. Since new readers might not know of these projects, we thought we would recap the past and present of the three rides. For a complete collection of the all of the project rig builds and web-exclusive extras, visit us at 4wheeloffroad.com.
Built in spring 2007 to attend that year's Ultimate Adventure, the '97 Ford Ranger was built on a budget and fast. With mostly off-the-shelf parts that were designed for other vehicles, the Ranger proved its own on the UA, surviving the trip with only minor issues.
After two years of wheeling and great luck on the trail the Ranger took a nice tumble in the mountains of North Carolina. While most of the damage was to the body, the roll sidelined the Little Ranger That Could. Currently the Ranger resides in North Carolina, but has been slightly pillaged in the parts department. Since the truck remains mechanically sound it's mostly used to transport stuff around. As of now the Ranger's future is unknown, but for a low-budget build, it has worked out better than we ever could have imagined. ISSUES: Nov. '07-Jan. '08.
Project Super Cross
Part expedition vehicle, part tow rig monster, the '00 F-250 has been one of the most reliable and long-lasting trucks we've owned. After a few cross-country drives, an epic Moab adventure, and a handful of wheeling weekends the truck was sent to live back east. Currently the Quad Cab Super Duty is used as a daily driver and occasional tow rig. With tread blocks still hanging on the SSRs and the 7.3L diesel engine running strong, we plan to keep using the 3/4-ton wheeler for all that it was intended. ISSUES: July-Oct. '08.
Heavy Metal Mudder
Probably one of our most outrageous projects to date, the Heavy Metal Mudder was a combination of a wild idea and a lot of careful planning. Stage I of the build fitted the basically stock '99 Dodge Durango with a custom multilink suspension system and a massive set of 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axles. After living with just the Rockwells and stock powertrain for about a year we moved onto Stage II of the build, which fitted the mighty Mopar with an 8.3L engine from a Dodge Viper. This 540 horse heart transplant was no easy task, but turned the Durango into an extremely powerful and very unique rig. Currently the Durango is being tuned and tweaked alongside a few other high horsepower machines. Though it may not be the most practical Mopar in the fleet, it is definitely one of the most fun. ISSUES: Phase I, Apr.-Aug. '09; Phase II, Sept. '09-June '10.