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Driveway Beast: Dare to Be Different

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Jakob Bonser from Loveland, Colorado, always wanted to build something of his own—something that would be big, bad and different. When he was 16 years old, he purchased a 1969 Chevrolet K20 ¾-ton pickup and decided to make it into that something special he’d always wanted. Because the family garage was too small to cage the beast, Bonser utilized the space on his driveway to complete the build. Can you imagine building a project in your driveway during the winter in Colorado?

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The frame is the foundation of any well-built truck. Being a welder and mechanic by trade, Bonser strengthened the frame by welding 3/16-inch steel plate to box the frame rails. The stock wheelbase was stretched six inches by relocating the rear suspension pickup points and perches. A 14-bolt GM rear end housing was stuffed with 4.56 gears and factory ¾-ton drum brakes. The housing is anchored by a pair of custom three-link traction bars constructed of 1 5/8-inch-diameter D.O.M. round tubing.

The rear suspension includes air springs, valves, solenoids, compressor and switches that were all taken from a Kenworth semi truck. A pair of Rancho 9000 gas-filled shocks helps dampen the rear suspension through rough terrain. Up front, the Dana 60 front axle housing was loaded with 4.56 gears and equipped with disc brakes for pulling and stopping. A pair of Rancho 9000 gas shocks work with the Superlift 6-inch lift, four-leaf spring packs.

Bonser fabricated the rear three-link traction bars. The driveshaft was equipped with Spicer 1410 U-joints and a driveshaft safety hoop.

Bonser fabricated the rear three-link traction bars. The driveshaft was equipped with Spicer 1410 U-joints and a driveshaft safety hoop.

Under the LMC cowl hood we found a mighty 1995 Dodge 6BT Cummins six-cylinder, 12-valve single-turbo diesel.

Under the LMC cowl hood we found a mighty 1995 Dodge 6BT Cummins six-cylinder, 12-valve single-turbo diesel.

The worn GM steering box internals were replaced with all-new components for quicker steering response. To create both style and traction, a set of Alcoa Super Single polished aluminum wheels (22.5×12) were wrapped with Hankook AMOZ 305/65R-22.5) rubber.

The original Chevrolet 350-cid V-8 small-block powerplant and 350 automatic three-speed transmission were extracted from between the frame rails. Looking for more horsepower and torque, Jacob purchased a 1995 Dodge 6BT Cummins 5.9-liter inline six-cylinder, 12-valve single-turbo diesel. It puts out around 430 horsepower at 2,400 rpm and 850 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,300 rpm. The stock exhaust manifold flows into a 4-inch downpipe and 5-inch Y-pipe that split off into a pair of 6-inch-diameter vertical stacks. The stacks were extended through the bed.

Gear selection is accomplished with a 2003 Dodge NV 5600 six-speed manual transmission and a South Bend dual-disc clutch. The NV5600 is mated to an NP-205 transfer case with a 1.96:1 gear ratio. This cast iron gear drive case is strong and durable enough to live long and prosper behind the diesel. A custom long-neck aluminum shifter allows for easy gear selection.

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A 2003 Dodge NV 5600 six-speed manual transmission and NP205 transfer case engage the front and rear axles to produce greater torque and pulling power. The transmission offers a 5.63:1 first gear and a .073:1 overdrive fifth gear. The T-case is 1:1 or 1.96:1 in low range.

A 2003 Dodge NV 5600 six-speed manual transmission and NP205 transfer case engage the front and rear axles to produce greater torque and pulling power. The transmission offers a 5.63:1 first gear and a .073:1 overdrive fifth gear. The T-case is 1:1 or 1.96:1 in low range.

The K20 ¾-ton frame rails were capped while gusseted Superlift leaf spring shackles and mounts were added for increased strength. A Dana 60 front axle housing with 4.56 gears, steering, Rancho 9000 shocks and HD disc brakes produces the pulling and stopping power.

The K20 ¾-ton frame rails were capped while gusseted Superlift leaf spring shackles and mounts were added for increased strength. A Dana 60 front axle housing with 4.56 gears, steering, Rancho 9000 shocks and HD disc brakes produces the pulling and stopping power.

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The classic 1969 emerald green cab, doors, fenders, grille and LMC 2-inch cowl hood give this driveway creation its unique identity. The front fenders were modified for additional tire clearance. Bonser fabricated both the double-tubed front bumper and diamond-plate rear bumper. The factory bed was removed to make way for Jacob’s custom-made flatbed that includes tapered sides and a removable tailgate.

The classic 1969 emerald green cab, doors, fenders, grille, and LMC 2-inch cowl hood give this driveway creation its unique identity.

The simple factory dash and gauges were upgraded with a set of Auto Meter gauges and a tachometer, while a Grant “Challenger” GT steering wheel caps the factory steering column. An A-pillar gauge pod was installed and filled with Auto Meter gauges. This allows Bonser to keep tabs on the engine’s vital signs without taking his eyes off the road or track. An LMC rubber floor mat makes for easy removal and hose-off when the inevitable mud is tracked into the truck.

The custom 6-inch lift transformed Bonser’s K20 into a bigger than life beast. His home-built double tubular front bumper supports a pair of KC off-road lights.

The custom 6-inch lift transformed Bonser’s K20 into a bigger than life beast. His home-built double tubular front bumper supports a pair of KC off-road lights.

The cab of the classic Chevy was upgraded with modern audio gear. A Sony head unit and amp produce quality tunes that blast from 4-inch Alpine speakers mounted in the door panels and Alpine 6x9s mounted behind the seats.

Lucky Colorado-area diesel enthusiasts might see Bonser’s diesel beast making passes at local ¼-mile drag strips. The truck’s best pass has been an 18.0 E.T. at 78 mph. Not bad for an 8,000-lb beast. DW

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Two 6-inch vertical exhaust stacks exit through the flatbed floor.

Two 6-inch vertical exhaust stacks exit through the flatbed floor.

A pair of heavy-duty Firestone air springs were stripped off a Kenworth semi truck and used on this build. Custom mounting perches were fabricated for the “bags” along with mounting brackets for the three-link traction bars. A pair of Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks were re-shimmed and re-valved for better off-road performance.

A pair of heavy-duty Firestone air springs were stripped off a Kenworth semi truck and used on this build. Custom mounting perches were fabricated for the “bags” along with mounting brackets for the three-link traction bars. A pair of Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks were re-shimmed and re-valved for better off-road performance.

Alcoa Super Single polished aluminum 22.5x12 wheels are consumed in Hankook ANOZ 305/65R-22.5 rubber.

Alcoa Super Single polished aluminum 22.5×12 wheels are consumed in Hankook ANOZ 305/65R-22.5 rubber.

Go on green…

Go on green…

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