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All of a sudden in the lifted truck world, size began to matter. A few years ago, 4 to 6" of lift and 35" tall tires was a big truck. Now 8 to 10" of lift and 38 to 40" tall tires is becoming more common and people wanted to know how to do this safely and legally (which don't always go together!) The purpose of the Sgt. Rock project was not only to show the planning and design work involved in building a big rig, but also to show what is legal, practical, and affordable for the guy wanting to do a project like this.
Of course the first step to any project is finding the right vehicle, and I knew exactly what that vehicle needed to be - a World War II, half-ton, WC Weapons Carrier. Or in more understandable terms, a military 1/2 ton Dodge 4x4 pickup truck. No other 4x4 truck ever made has a more rugged, in-your- face, testosterone inspired look and history than these old army trucks. And the fender openings are big enough for the huge tires that I planned on putting on. The problem was, these trucks were only made one year, 1941. Since this was the forerunner to the Power Wagon, any restorable trucks had already been swooped up by WWII buffs, and everything else had either been robbed of parts or shot full of holes in some field somewhere. So, over the years I kept an eye out for one of these trucks in decent condition.
My search ended abruptly one day when I located a '41 Dodge hidden in some trees about a mile from my parent's house in Belleview, Idaho. The old truck had been sitting abandoned for decades. The original bed was long gone, and a hacked together, hand-built bed sat in its place.
The Dodge cab had been swapped for an almost identical International cab and spliced at the cowl, and an old snowplow was welded to the undercarriage in front. However, the good news was the cab, fenders, hood, grille, etc. were not only rust free, but they were extremely straight, and that was far more than I expected to find! So, a deal was struck and I dragged it home to the shop.
Original Manufacturer Specifications
Produced during '41-'42 under War Department contracts: 79,771 trucks, 38 models
Engine: 6 cyl, in-line, L-head
Wheel Base: 116"
Transmission: 4fwd/1rev, manual