4 Wheel & Off Road - - LAND OF THE SUN -

We have al­ways wanted to build a sec­ond-gen ⁄ -ton Dodge 4x4 into a crawler, so when we saw this truck at TDS we had to get a closer look. This crew-cab short­bed would make most folks su­per-happy as a tow rig with its 24-valve 5.9L Cum­mins. A coil spacer and am­ple fender trim­ming up front make room for a set of tro­phy truck take-off 39-inch BFG tires. The fac­tory Dana 60 front has a Lock Right, while the rear Dana 80 spins tires thanks to a tight fac­tory lim­ited slip. Fred, the owner of the truck, plans to build a winch bumper, as he con­tin­ues to build the rig. But as it is, it’s a great place to start, and un­til it’s “done,” there’s plenty of fun for week­end get­aways like Tierra Del Sol’s Desert Sa­fari 2018.

Speak­ing of vin­tage iron, check out this In­ter­na­tional Scout Trav­eler. The truck is pow­ered by a 345ci trac­tor en­gine backed by a TF727 trans­mis­sion. The sus­pen­sion is built to go fast with a trick TTB front axle and a five-lug Dana 60 rear. Have a good long look at that front axle and see if you can fig­ure out what makes that par­tic­u­lar TTB axle very unique (hint: we’re not talk­ing about the cus­tom steer­ing).

We spot­ted two off-road cars at TDS this year…and while not quite the tra­di­tional trar (truck car) that a Ca­maro body on a Blazer chas­sis is, these were still fun to see. We are dig­ging the af­ford­able side-by-side al­ter­na­tive of the mod­i­fied Mazda Mi­ata. That Toy­ota Supra re­minds us of some awe­some Toy­otabased rally cars from the 1980s and 1990s. The Toy­ota wear­ing side-by-side tires looks pretty pris­tine for a dirt car, and ap­par­ently the Mi­ata was out of reg­is­tra­tion. The owner got to have a good long talk with the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and may have won a ticket right in the cen­ter of the Ocotillo Wells Train­ing Cen­ter.

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