Four Wheeler readers love project vehicles. They create the most interest among advertisers and readers, alike. Project vehicles are a great way of giving readers and idea of how different vehicles can be built, what type and brands of products to use, as well as what products work in the real world and which ones don?t. So what happens to project vehicles when we are done, or we no longer have a useful purpose for them. Well, in some cases, such as TraiLex, they go back to the manufacturer to be crushed because they are preproduction vehicles and can?t be legally registered, while dollar vehicles, such as Teal J are owned by the magazine and just never seem to die. And still others, such as Project Fiery Red Head, Bomber and RangeRunner, are owned by members of the staff. So where are your favorite old project vehicles now?
Project Baja Bomber - Robin?s Baja Bomber is currently at our Wilshire office, holding down our new Carson trailer and providing a home for spiders. Robin has had issues with Bomber?s top end in recent month and everything is pulled apart right now in order to address the issues. Once the engine is put back together, the Bomber will continue its role as a Dodge/Cummins product test bed, as well as recapture its duties as a Baja chase truck.
Project Everyday Titan ? After ripping off the Road Armor bumper during a winching exercise (the bumper is okay, but the frame tore), Robin dropped off the project to XXX Traction for a new prerunner bumper and transferred the winch to another project.
Project Fiery Red Head - At this moment our '92 Ford F-150 "Fiery Redhead" is undergoing a significant body restoration to rid it of incessant Midwest rust. The work is being done by Vintage Iron & Design in Monroe, Wisconsin (608/325-5528), where the owner, Erick Wells has assembled a Dream Team of experienced body techs. This team has installed new LMC Truck (lmctruck.com) front fenders, bedsides, tailgate, cab corners and even the core support. There's also a new Stylin' Concepts (stylinconcepts.com) Reflexxions Dominator steel cowl hood. A few days ago, our local Vortex Spray On Liner provider, Jon Wise (815/789-4047), sprayed the inside our newly-restored bed. We've got almost 100 hours of labor into the Redhead so far. Here you can see the cab after it has been sprayed with the Keystone Automotive Industries (keystone-auto.com)-provided acid etch and sandable primer (Keystone provided all of our refinishing supplies, including the paint). Look for the first installment of our body resto in the August issue of Four Wheeler.
Project Frontier - Currently the Project Frontier is winding down and has been mostly returned to stock condition. This is Robin?s daily driver.
Project Mega Titan - After recently trying out a set of 54-inch Interco Boggers for a story, the Mega Titan is in Central California, most likely to make its next appearance at TTC 2007.
Project Range Runner ? RangeRunner spent most of last year in Baja, Death Valley, the Mojave desert, Moab showing that fast and 4x4 can go together, and can still go slow when needed. RangeRunner is currently sitting in my garage with a bad right axle seal and hasn?t been driven since we revalved the Bilstein shocks. With our new JK project and a possible Power Wagon project taking up my time and a baby on the way, perhaps it is time to sell RangeRunner to someone who can enjoy it everyday. Next up for RangeRunner is a detail and a new axle seal. Also needs a little TLC, such as sorting out why the head unit screen in the dash went out and address a notchy shifter. Otherwise it has been an amazingly successful magazine project.
Project Teal J - One of the most prolific projects in Four Wheeler magazine history has been the infamous Teal J. Teal has been through more build-ups than New York City and is currently being torn down. In fact, you?ll never see this Jeep the same way again. After bending the front Dana 44 from Hemi-induced wheel stands, we dropped in a front 60, but realized the wheelbase was just too short for that kind of power. Did we ever tell you how much we loved the Jeep Gladiator concept?