Featured Zookwith Bill Johnston

Simply Insane

Our readers here at iZook come from a wide range of personalities, and they fall into (basically) four groups.

  • The Original Suzuki purists
  • The Mild Stocker Drivers
  • The Aggressive Trail Animals
  • and the Simply Insane

This article is about a vehicle built by someone you would expect in the fourth category. I mean, who in their right mind would try to put a Zook on a set of 49" IROKs? But Tim Terry is actually a man who talks intelligently about his creation and how he built it.

When I got to the 2005 Chile Challenge (Las Cruces, New Mexico), I saw this beast on the trailer and stood there staring in awe. I have seen plenty of tube buggies built to run these trails, but none of them retained enough of the original body to make the make and model recognizable. This was the exception.

Tim chopped off the front clip at the firewall, then chopped the rear right behind the seats and tubed it. The cab still rides on the original frame rails. I also noticed that in other 'monster builds' that used such a large tire size, the vehicle was too tall to really take it seriously on the trail. Tim kept the overall height at a realistic level, which kept the center of gravity very low.

Tim has also incorporated 'stinger' style bars in front and back to avoid most endo situations. He has also gone a bit extreme with the axle upgrades...  Instead of going with Toyota or Dana axles, he went straight to Unimog portal front axles (steerable front and rear). The lockers in this rig are set up with air actuators (not ARB) to simplify the linkage.  The tube front and rear clips are built with .120 wall tubing while the four link bars are done with .250 wall. Plans are in the works to strengthen the links even more as the need arises. Tim has also used motorcycle turn signals up front to give the lights high visibility while simplifying the mounting position. There are winches up front and out back in case he needs to help someone out of a jam. The front winch is a Warn 8274 while the rear has a Warn 9500. Click on the picture to the right and you will notice that this rock crawler is registered (read street legal) as a Texas Farm Truck... For all the changes made on the outside of this rig the inside of the vehicle still retains most of the original look. The first upgrade done to the rig happened here - the stock radio was upgraded to a Sony head unit for playing his favorite CDs out on the trail. The seats have been replaced with something stronger (Corbeau) and the stock dash has been refitted with a new set of guages. The shifter has been replaced with a B&M cabled model to control the automatic transmission. The transfer case shifters (dual levers) look a little different, but that's because they come up through the floor from an Atlas transfer case. Right under the Texas Terrorist Hunting License (click through the picture on the right) is his 15 gallon aluminum fuel cell and the Optima Yellow Top that powers the electricals. How does he get those monster meats to turn you say? He dropped in the 350ci SBC from a Corvette along with the master cylinder for the needed stopping power.

Tim says his build time was somewhere between 4-6 months. Not bad for such a short build time. Eh? If you see him wheeling around his home in Gainesville, Texas - give him a wave and a smile.

Built By:

Tim Terrytnttim@ntin.netGainesville, Texas

07/24/10 08:20



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