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This is the kind of fabrication that Off Road Unlimited typically cranks out of their Burbank, California, shop. Over 15 inches of rear wheel travel is achieved with this wishbone type setup.

4Wheel & Off-Road Jealousy June, 2005

 

Some guys just make us sick; green with envy, that is. Maurice Rozo is one of those fellas who shows up with all the cool toys and makes us wonder what we're doing wrong. Maurice has been working very hard for more than 10 years to make a name for his 4x4 shop, Off Road Unlimited, and when it was finally time to build his own rigs to head to the dirt in, he and his crew of top-notch techs built the combo you see here. The white '72 Blazer was originally assembled for a customer, but when it came up for sale, Maurice purchased it as a shop trail rig in case he and the guys wanted to go wheeling over the weekend. Plus, it's a great example to show off what the shop could do.
     Then to make towing the big GM that much easier, Maurice and crew built brobably the sickest '05 dualie on the planet. With less than 300 miles on the odo, this black Chevy hauler was torn apart in ORU's Burbank, California, shop, given its signature solid axle swap, and outfitted with just about every aftermarket component that would make it tow, recoer, and cruise better.
     Imagine waking up Saturday morning, cruising to your favorite mud hole in that smooth extra-wide dualie, muddin; till the cows come home behind the wheel of a big-Boggered Blazer, and then cruisin home again is style. Yes, we're jealous. We're sure you are too.
JEALOUSY
TECH SPECS
'72 CHEVY BLAZER '05 CHEVY DUALIE
Engine: 454 big-block, Doug Throley headers, Holly carb, K&N filter, MSD ignition, Flowmaster exhaust Engine: Duramax Diesel with TTS power programmer and exhaust and AFE air-intake system
Transmission: TH400 with Art Carr trans pan and shifter Transmission: Allison with Mag-Hytec trans pan
Transfer Case: NP205 Transfer Case: NV263
Front Axle: Kingpin Dana 60, Teraflex T-locker, 5.13 gears Front Axle: Ball-joint Dana 60, ARB Locker, 4.56 gears
Rear Axle: Corporate 14-bolt, Detroit Locker, 5.13 gears Rear Axle: AAM 11.50, 4.56 gears
Tires & Wheels: TSL boggers 19.5/44-15 on 15x14 Allied wheels with bead locks Tires & Wheels: Pro Comp custom wheels with Pro Comp 37x13.50x17 X-Treme A/T tires.
Suspension: Custom Atlas Springs, Bilstein 5100 shocks Suspension: Custom Atlas springs, ORU Solid-axle swap, sway bar, airbag, and King shocks

Together these GMs have one thing in common: A solid Dana 60 front axle that neither came from the factory with. The '72 Blazer has a kingpin 60 from a Chevy truck, and is running 5.13 gears and aprototype selectable Teraflex T-locker differential. All shafts are 35-spline, and the pinion's been rotated 18 degrees for better driveshaft angles. The '05 dualie has a Super Duty style ball joint 60 with Genuine Gear 4.56 gears and and ARB Air Locker. In addition, both trucks run ORU's crossover steering kit with ram assist, but the dualie also has an ORU solid-axle swap kit, dif covers, a sway bar, and shock hoops with King shocks.

The Blazer is running the tried-and-true Corporate 14-bolt rear axle. this one is from a Chevy van, which makes it 3 inches wider than a pickup rear. This full-floater also spins 5.13 gears and a Detroit Locker, plus has ORU's disc-brake kit on the ends. The big dualie runs the stock AAM 11.50, which is the modern-day 1-ton axle running shafts similar to the 14-bolt, but was left open as there isn't a selectable locker available for it yet. Dual Flowmasters are under the Blazer, while the dualie runs TTS diesel exhaust, a Transfer Flow 56-gallon fuel tank, and a set of ORU traction bars.

Both trucks ride on custom Atlas springs. The Blazer runs about 9 inches of lift in the front with 4 inches more in spring length, while the rears are 11-inch lift springs with a long-travel shackle, all controlled by Bilstein 5100 shocks. the dualie runs about 7 inches of lift, as well as a custom cantilever air-overload system that puts an airbag up under the bed for heavy towing loads and a heavier suspension when needed.

Under the hoods of these 4x4s are powerplants built for their respective jobs. The Blazer has a mud-chuckin' 650hp 454 big-block that breathes through a K&N filter, a Holley carb, and Doug Thorley headers, all while pushing power into a Turbo 400 automatic and a geardriven NP205 transfer case. The dualie has a Duramax being boosted by a TTS Power Programmer, an AFE air-intake system, and Pro Comp deep-cycle batteries, all of which dumps the torque into the stock Allison transmission and NV263 transfer case with a Pro Comp output shaft running a CV driveshaft.

The Interior on the Blazer is all business and safety. The crew at ORU fabbed up a rollcage, while occupants ride in Beard seats with DJ belts. Auto Meter gauges keep track of vitals, while moving the Art Carr shifter. The dualie is pretty much stock, with comfortable leather seats, a Savv rearview mirror monitor and camera system, Husky floor mats, and Dee Zee carbon-fiber dash accents. To make access to the cab easier on the wife and kids, a set of Amp Research power steps was installed. They drop down when the doors are opened. The steps can be sut off when four-wheeling to protect them should the dualie get near any rocks.

Covering the bed of the '72 is a custom soft top from Can-Back. Rumor has it these will never be offered, but we're sure you Blazer owners will be calling to folks at Can-Back trying to get them to change their minds. The mud truck runs the prerequisite 44-inch Boggers clamped on 15x14 Allied bead locks. In the back of the dualie is a Dee Zee toolbox for all the towing and recovery gear. Inside is a Kilby air compressor for running tools, airing up tires, and running the Air Lockers. Both the front and rear of the dualie carry the new Warn 16.5 winches in Road Armor bumpers. also note the Hanneman Fiberglass fenders that were attached to the original inner fenderwells to protect the engine compartment from mud and slop, while the rear fenders were pushed 3 inches wider to near-illegal width, just to cover the new Pro Comp X-Treme A/Ts on custom Pro Comp Dualie rims.
Full Story  | Posted in Chevy | GM

Off-Road Retailer, Unique & Personalized, January/February 2005

The name says it well - Unlimited. In this case, unlimited refers to the mindset of Off Road Unlimited's owner, Maurice Rozo, who set out 15 years ago to create something truly different -- a business dedicated to customer service for a needy and growing contingent of off-road enthusiasts. After having spent a number of years working for George Adler of 4 Wheel Parts Wholesale, and racing with George's son, Greg, Rozo decided to strike out on his own. He started with one shop in Burbank, Calif. and steadily grew his clientele. Eventually, the amount of work that came compared to what his personnel and facility could accommodate reached a bursting point. The wait to have scheduled work done was averaging up to three weeks. Rozo knew it was time to open a second facility to service the new volume of customers.
     But opening a second facility presented a new set of challenges. At the top of the list was finding a suitable location and new qualified service and sales staff. Timing and contacts being critical to success, Rozo contacted his friend, former Dick Cepek Inc. General Manager Mike Duval. Duval had access to serval former Cepek employees from its recently closed 12-store retail network, and went to work assembling the staff, while Rozo negotiated to take over and refurbish the former Cepek Burbank store location.
     In September of 2000, ORU opened its second location. The two operations, ORU-2, which is more dedicated to retail with a large showroom and a series of installation bays, and the original ORU with a smaller showroom, another set of installation bays and parts manufacturing operation, complete the company's holdings today. All of ORU's research and development, along with manufacturing, is conducted onsite at both facilities.
     Beginning with a total of three employees when he opened shop the 30 employees he now manages and two shopes operating at full capacity, Rozo is proud of delivering on his original vision.
     Off-Road Retailer first introduced Off Road Unlimited in our premier issue where we utilized the expertise of the showroom staff for information concerning the sale of reservoir shock systems. ORU sells a wide variety of shocks from all the major manufacturers. Through the sale of these products and knowledge of their customer base, ORU has learned not only how to sell these specialized products, but also how to manufacture ancillary products that complement them to the benefit of his customers and profit line.
     "We really do build and test the products we sell. At this year's SEMA show, we had our Chevy Dually on display," explains Rozo. "It features not only products from a variety of manufacturers, but also serves as our proving ground for many of the products we have under development."
     Case in point the prototype air bag overload system that Rozo used for the rear suspension. He says he positioned the bags in a completely different way and built a cantilever set-up that keeps the bags from inhibiting the travel of the custom soft-ride springs, as is the case with most 'bolt-on' systems. The result, he says is "a very functional suspension that provides a great ride, supremely functional off-road capability, and maintains load-carring features at the touch of a button."
     One of ORU's original success stories is its straight axle kit, which replaces the factory GM independent front suspension (IFS) with a straight axle assembly. Rozo originally was doing all of his straight axle conversions on a custom basis. He had a goal; to provide a truly bolt-on kit that anyone could buy. After a great deal of testing and trial and error, he was able to provide an affordable bolt-on kit that has since opened to a national market and is one of ORU's best sellers. ORU also sells a variety of optional upgrades for the kit. Rozo recently took his Chevy HD Dually, which is equipped with the latest conversion kit, out to Azusa Canyon, Calif. to test the suspension set-up. It worked extremely well and confirmed that ORU had another winner on its hands, Rozo notes.
     "We build these kits because one of the parts most prone to failure during off-road usage is the front IFS suspension," he says. "A front-end with a straight axle is much stonger. We've also developed a steering upgrade package with crossover steering and hydraulic ram assist. Customers are constantly giving us positive feedback regarding the ease of operation with the system installed." To Rozo's knowledge, ORU is the only company offering this kit.
     The ORU product line is constantly evolving. "I'm constantly looking for new products to add to our line," touts Rozo. "We've recently added sevaral items for the Ford Super Duty line of trucks. Our next big push will be in four-link suspension coil over systems for HD [2500 and 3500] GM trucks. I think there is a real need for that kind of product in today's market. It's on the drawing board and I expect we'll have something mid-2005."
     But ORU's success isn't based soley on its signature products as they sell a full array of aftermarket parts and accessories, including wheels and tires, which let them provide a "total package" for customers. Rozo believes that providing unique products and exceptional customer service builds an ever-growing and loyal customer base. This has proved to be true for him as ORU continues to expand its products and offerings. Through ORU's network of qualified dealers across the country, the company has created and impressive business model based on well-tested products that they not only believe in, but also constantly improve.
     Rozo estimates that 75% of ORU's customers are looking for appearance rather than function from the off-road products they purchase. But the remaining 25% are true off-road drivers who mainly use their vehicles in the off-road environment. An important focus of ORU's counter personnel is in accessing its customer's exact needs and wants along with the best way to achieve them. It is critically important that they receive products that will perform as expected and not disappoint them the first time they head for the dirt, Rozo says.
     "We build our off-road parts to deliver -- not to break," states Rozo. "When a customer takes their truck off-road, we want him/her to know that they will be driving (rather than towing) the truck home after a day of playing in the dirt. We have a lot of repeat customers and I believe this is part of the reason why."
     The ORU line is sold through its tow retial stores, various other retailers, mail order and the internet. "I have a dedicated staff who conducts all of our sales, including tracking trends, which dictates where we spend our advertising budget," says Rozo. "We know exactly what works for us, and what doesn't. I'd like to say I'm always right about what we sell, whether it's over the counter or through our mail order advertising, but the ever-changing marketplace often suprises me. Regardless, we do have a great trac record of keeping up with current trends.
     "Most of the customers who come into the store are looking for advice on how to outfit their vehicles," says salesman Glen Yamashiro says. "This is often based on something they have head about or seen in the many enthusiast publications in which ORU regularly appears. Seeing vehicles we've previously built or talking with past customers lets new customers know that we have an excellent sales and service reputation."
     "The magazine exposure we've receieved over the years has certainly helped us build a great reputation. It was part of the key to my success when I first opend my stores, and it keeps growing today," says Rozo, whose yellow '57 Chevy pickup was featured on the cover of an off-road magazine twice. "That type of exposure helped our reputation alon with word of mouth among hardcore enthusiasts that we're fair and build products that can take it," he says.
     The ORU dealer network is, in part, a result of this magazine exposure and word of mouth. According to Rozo, many of his current dealers became familiar with ORU after seeing their products or technical articles in the magazines. Today, ORU has a nationwide network of shops selling its products. "ORU's reputation has blossomed bigger that i ever imagined," Rozo says.
     Part of the beauty is having the manufacturing facility located on the same grounds as the headqauarters, installation bays, and retail store front. Rozo and his staff monitor both facilities and handle product and personnel issues personally. No facet of the operation goes unnoticed.
     Althrough we won't discluse the exact figures, Rozo says Off Road Unlimited's 2004 revenues reached in the "multi-million dollar" range. "We have the right people in place to really make some big strides in 2005," Rozo says. "My staff will be key to making that happen."
     In and industry often "fat" with several different versions of similar products, ORU continues to build unique products with the enthusiast in mind. With innovative product, excellent staffing, and his total immersion into the operation, Rozo seems on the right track to ensuring ORU's future success. Having modeled his business after the 'commitment to excellence' kind of spirt he attributes to his favorite NFL team, the Oakland Raiders, it is clear that Rozo was accurate when he named his company Off Road Unlimited.


ORU's larger showroom is more elaborate and serves a high volume of walk-in clientele. A full complement of work bays and trained mechanics are also available for immediate product installation.

Off Road Unlimited President Maurice Rozo in front of his Chevy Dually, which was displayed at the SEMA Show 2004

Displays in ORU's major showroom are key to making the sale. The showroom is clean and all products are neatly displayed.

Straight axle front-end conversion is a signature product changeover for ORU. This conversion was completed on a full-size Ford Econoline van.

ORU recently developed a new extended fender treatment for GM Dually trucks. These fenders were created originally for ORU's SEMA Show exhibit trucks.

The largest shock sold is Bilstein with other high performance shocks available upon request.

ORU's original showroom in Burbank displays the highest volume components. Counter personnel are trained in real life off-road preparation to better service ORU customers.

High profit, high volume products are reservoir shock systems.

Main offices for Off Road Unlimited staff, including its Internet division and Rozo's office, are housed above the original showroom location.
Full Story  | Posted in Chevy | Ford | GM

Off-Road, Straight to the Top-February, 2003

LET'S FACE IT. THERE'S JUST SOMETHING ABOUT A STRAIGHT AXLE TRUCK THAT REALLY GETSTHE BLOOD FLOWING. THAT FEELING IS EXACTLY WHAT EVOKED OFF-ROAD UNLIMITED'S MAURICE ROZO TO CREATE A GM IFS-TO-STRAIGHT-AXLE CONVERSION KIT FOR THE '01 CHEVROLET/GMC SUBURBAN. DEVELOPING A SOLID-AXLE CONVERSION KIT FOR THE NEW GM TRUCKS WAS SOMETHING THE ORU CREW WAS FIMILIAR WITH, AS THE COMPANY ALSO OFFERS A CONVERSION KIT FOR THE PREVIOUS GENERATION '88-'98 CHEVROLET/GMC TRUCKS.
     To showcase its conversion kit for the new generation Silverado, Maurice and company obtained an '01 3/4 4wd Chevrolet Suburban. Bulletproof and reliable, the Chevy was intended to serve as both a tow vehicle for Off Road Unlimited's one-of-a-kind '01 Chevrolet Suburban prerunner and as a support vehicle for the crew. Once the factory independent front suspension was removed, the frame was cleaned and prepped for surgery. Because the straight axle conversion kit was designed to accommodate varying amounts of leaf-spring lift, Maurice's crew went with an 8-inch lift. With the new mounting brackets and hangers attached to the strengthened frame, a freshened Dana 60 front axle, complete with 4.88 Drive Train Direct gears and an ARB Air Locker, was slipped under the Suburban and hung on the custom fabricated 8-inch lifted National Spring spring packs. The front axle stubs were upgraded from the usual 31-spline units to stronger 35-spline units. To decrease the front drive shaft angle, the diff housing was rotated.
     Speaking of the front driveshaft, High Angle Drive Train of Paradise, California, replaced the factory shaft with a long-travel conversion unit with equal-length compression connections and a 1350 1-ton CV joint. Once installed, the 10-spline, heat-treated shaft offers a full 6 inches of extension and compression, which keeps the driveshaft from bottoming out and breaking the transfer case adaptors. The speed-balanced driveshaft is matted to a Pro-Comp transfer case output shaft, which is attached to an NP263 transfer case from an '01 HD-Series Chevrolet truck. The original Transfer case was replaced bacause it had GM's Autotrac feature that allows the front driveshaft to engage automatically, thereby causing excessive wear and tear on the drivetrain components.
     As part of the conversion, the factory steering system was altered for the better, thanks to the addition of Off Road Unlimited's ram-assisted crossover steering system. Added control in the corners comes via the replacement of the factory antisway bars for solid Off Road Unlimited units that were installed on both the front and rear axles of the suburban. Complementing the newly installed straight axle are Off Road Unlimited's dual front shock hoops, which hold a pair of polished 2.5-inch diameter King Racing shocks with remote reservoirs that damp 12 inches of travel at each wheel. The Finishing touch was the polished Off Road Unlimited front differential cover that went over the inner workings of the Dana 60.
     While the rear suspension did not require a conversion package, a few additional items were installed to bring it up to par with the frontend setup. For starters, the factory leaf packs were replaced with 8-inch lifted National spring units. Keeping in mind that the Suburban would be used Primarily for heavy-duty towing purposes to, from, and across the blistering hot desert, a pair of Firestone airbags was sandwiched between the frame and leaf springs with custom-favricated Off Road Unlimited mounting brackets. When the 'bags are aired up and the single 2.5-inch diameter King Racing shocks with remote reservoirs are damping the ride, it is as smooth as silk. The OEM 14-bolt axle with 4.88 gears was treated to a Detroit Locker and chrome-plated Off Road Unlimited Differential cover similar to the unit at the front of the vehicle. The final touch was the replacement of the factory driveshaft with a 1-ton 1350 CV-jointed unit.
     Power to the Suburban is delivered via a 345hp 8100 Vortec V-8 engine that has been decked out with a Hypertech Performance Chip that's good for 25 additional horsepower. A 3-inch stainless steel Borla exhaust system and a Granatelli mass airflow sensor adds yet another 10 horses. A K&N Filtercharger System purifies all incoming air for the most effective performance.
     The landing pads for this monster are 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Radial Mud-Terrains mounted onto 17x10-inch Weld Racing Typhoon wheels. Entering the vehicle is made easier via four Kodiak electric steps. Completing the overall exterior apperance of the Suburban is a pair of 8112 PIAA lamps mounted atop a custom fabricated Off Road Unlimited light bar located just in front of a Street Scene aluminum grille insert.
     The interior has been left relatively stock for now, but Murice does plan on installing custom seats and a custom andio/video system for additional creature comforts during those long tows home from a day of prerunning. To reduce heat build up within the cockpit, the windows were tinted.
     Living up to its name, the Off Road Unlimited team has proven by the form, fit, and function of this suburban that there are no limits to how far true off-road enthusiasts will go in order to produce a vehicle that is capable of meeting -- and often exceeding -- their expectations, both on and off the trails. For those of you still wondering what it takes to go straight to the top, might we suggest a Dana 60 and an Off Road Unlimited conversion kit? Just a thought.

   
S  P  E  C  I  F  I  C  A   T  I  O  N  S
Owner/hometown : Maurice Rozo, Off Road Unlimited/Burbank, California
Vehicle : '01 Chevrolet 3/4-ton 4WD Suburban
Suspension : Off Road Unlimited IFS-to-straight-axle conversion kit; 8-inch national spring leaf spring suspension; Firestone airbags (rear); Off Road Unlimited Double Shock Hoops (front)
Transfer case : New Process 263
Tires : 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains
Wheels : 17x10-inch Weld Racing Typhoons
Shocks : 2.5-inch King Racing shocks (front & rear) with remote reservoirs
Engine : Vortec 8.1 Liter V-8
Other modifications : Off Road Unlimited steering system; Borla exhaust; K&N filter; Street Scene grille; Off Road Unlimited antisway bars; ARB Air Locker; Drive Train Direct 4.88 gears (front); OE 4.88 gears (rear); Custom driveshafts from High Angle Drive Shaft (front & rear); Kodiak steps; PIAA lights; Hypertech performance chip; Granatelli mass air fow sensor; Pro-Comp transfer case output shaft
Full Story  | Posted in Chevy

Off-Road, Old Iron Special, February 1992

Maurice says it stops people dead in their tracks. A "thumbs up" is not very unusual either. As a matter of fact, the Southern California kid's bright yellow 1957 Chevy not only gets a stare from your average truck fan, but it appeals to almost all segments of the population. It is just cool-looking ride!
     The whole idea was started in the shop by the name of Off-Road Unlimited in Burbank, California. Maurice Rozo, the shop's owner, had happen to stumble upon a beat up '57 body that just begged him for a new chassis and some TLC. So Maurice, being the gentleman that he is, found a 1976 Chevy 3/4-ton 4x4 frame that was then shortened to mate underneath the truck using custom fabricated body mounts and Energy Suspension's body mounts and Energy Suspension urethane bushings.
     Next, a Chevrolet LS-6 454 block fitted with a custom ground head by 4X Specialties (Van Nuys, California) went in along with the cam that has .566 inches of llift and 290 degrees of duration. A Holly 750cfm double pumper with off road floats and a K&N air filter add the fuel to the motor and a Doug Thorley Tri-Y header system lets the exhaust out into the Flowmaster three chamber dual-exhaust out into the Flowmaster three chamber dual-exhaust system installed by Enoch Muffler (Burbank, California). Young's Radiator (San Fernando, California) built a custom five core radiator to keep things cool.
     The stock fuel tank in the '57 held only 17 gallons of gasoline, so a 30-gallon fuel cell built by Custom Gas Tanks (San Dimas, Calfornia) was built and installed, giving Maurice the cruising range he needs.
     John Kilgore, a TH400/TH475 transmission specialist from Burbank, California, then customized the '57 TH400 tranny using a 21-percent lower-than-stock first gear, six-percent lower second and a standard 1:1 third coupled with a 2500rpm stall converter. A NP205 transfer case built by Trans Action (Burbank, California) delivers the power to the custom driveshafts built by General Driveshaft (Montrose, California)
     For axles, Maurice chose the Chevy one-ton units using a Dana 60 with a Powerlock in front and a Corporate fourteen bolt with a Detroit Locker in the rear end and 4.88:1 gears in both the front and rear of the truck. This means for some hard acceleration in the mud or on the hard stuff! Disc brakes on all four corners assures the 5500-pound truck will come to a stop when necessary.
     National Springs built the leafs and 24 Doetsch Tech MV-12 racing shocks (six at each wheel), provided by Four Wheel Parts Wholeaslers (Gardena, California), were installed to control the springs and two MV-12s were bolted on and used as stering stabilizers.
     Maurice chose 40-inch Ground Hawg Tires mounted on 12x46.5-inch aluminum Weld "Super Single" rims to fill out the '57's large wheelwells. The interior features a stock '57 bench seat and an original '57 headliner. The dash retains the stock factory look as well. A steering column from a late-model Chevy Silverado 4-speed truck was shortened six inches and connected to a Tommy Lee steering box. At the end of the column, various Auto Meter gauges were connected to help monitor the beast's vital functions. Filler lap belts and shoulder harnesses were then installed to keep everyone safe when the going gets fun.
     To crank up the tunes, Maurice flips the switches of a USA-04 40-watt AM/FM cassette player with CD input built and installed by Keith Daves of Custom Autosound (Northridge, California).
     At this point, the truck was mechanically sound and the body was once again removed and taked to Mike Hurst (Burbank, California) for the final body prep and paint work. Mike gave the '57 his magical touch, smoothing out any remaining dings and then applied five coats of Chrome Yellow acrylic urethane paint. helping give the truck its unique personality.
     Since its completion six months ago, Maurice's bright yellow '57 has won him three first place trophies in the first three shows he entered. (Might we add, they were all tough shows with some stiff competition). Maurice also like to drive (not trailer) his truck to the competition. Heck, with extremely little effort, we even managed to talk him into getting his animal muddy for you readers. That fun-filled day also managed to get him on the cover of his favorite magazine. Not bad for a once-upon-a-time old beater!


Six MV-12 Doetsch Tech Maximum Velocity Racing Shocks per wheel were mounted to custom-fabricated shock mounts using Energy Suspension's urethane bushings.

The '57's interior retains the stock look with the exception of the various guages and "functional" performance items added.

A trace of the diamond-plated bed shows riding above a custom designed suspension system. If you have any questions about this hot '57 that haven't been covered in this article, you can give Maurice a call at Off-Road Unlimited at 818-563-DIRT. Maurice specializes in custom fabrication of 4x4 trucks, and is in his shop Monday through Friday from 8AM-5PM. Be sure and tell him who sent you!
Full Story  | Posted in Chevy

Off-Road, Dr. Roost, February 1996

Some of you may remember the bright yellow imron paint on the wild-looking '57 Chevy. We featured it on the cover of our "Old Iron" issue back in February of 1992. For the record, yes, that is the same bright yellow paint from last time, but that's where the similarities stop. Since that photo shoot, Maurice Rozo, owner of Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California, has torn the '57 Chevy down to the frame and refabricated it into one of the baddest and most functional old iron truck you will ever lay eyes on. Nothing on this truck is wimpy. From the motor to the axles, it is all the real thing.
     Maurice started the rebuild by removing everything from the "old" truck. It was down to the frame for a gound-up rebuild. Off Road Unlimited acquired and strengthened a chassis from a '76 Chevy pickup to fit the '57 body, new 700 HP blown motor, and trick suspension system.
     Speaking of horsepower, Maurice had Burbank Speed build a 454cid L-S6 Chevy bored .030 over and fitted with 7.5:1 Ross Racing (Hawthorne, CA) pistons, Crane roller rockers, two 750 cfm Holley double-pumpers, a K&N air cleaner, custom headers, Flowmaster mufflers, and MSD ignition system, a Griffin radiator, a Mallory fuel pump, Earl's fittings and braided lines, a BDS blower cam, and a 6-71 BDS supercharger to top it off! Two trick Optima spiral-wound gel-type batteries were then installed to light the fire-breathing beast upon command.
     The motor was first tuned by Bob Lambect Enterprises (Chatsworth, CA) on his engine dyno and then the final tuning in the truck was done at Hi Tech Marine (Simi Valley, CA). The big-block produced 706 horsepower on the engine dyno with the combo!
     John Kilgore of John Kilgore Transmission (Burbank, CA) then modified the Turbo 400 tranny with a 3500rpm stall converter made by Continental Torque Converters (Inglewood, CA). An Earl's cooler was then installed to keep the combo cool--mandatory in the situation. An Art Carr shifter clicks the tranny trhough the gears and delivers the power to an NP205 transfer case and into custom driveshafts made by General Driveshaft (Monrovia, CA). Up front, you will find a Dana 60 axle equpped with a Power-Lok diff and 4.88:1 gears. Maurice chose a 14-bolt Corporate full-floating rear axle equipped with 4.88:1 gears and a Detroit Locker diff to deliver the power. John Boubel of Off Road Unlimited trussed the rear housing with chromoly tubing for strength.
     Then it was on to the suspension. Boubel got together with National Spring (Santee, CA) to build a set of leaf springs for the wishbone-type suspension system that he was going to fabricate. The '57 body site on a 1976 Chevy pickup chassis and all existing spring perches were used, but the rear spring hangers had to be lengthened six inches to accommodate the 15 inches of rear suspension travel! The truck boasts nearly twn inches of travel in the front as well. Two Pro Comp shocks are mounted at each corner to keep the movement under control.
     Up front, a very thick hydraulic ram-assist unit built by Lee Manufacturing (Sun Valley, CA) give the driver a smooth, consistent feel to the wheel, no matter what the big 39.5-inch TSL Super Swamper Boggers and Weld Racing rims are traversing through.
     In the interior, you will find Auto Meter gauges, a LeCarra steering wheel mounted on a steering column out of an '89 Chevy, the MSD unit mounted under the dash (for protecftion from the elements), and a Simpson safety harness system to keep the occupants safe.
     As you can see Maurice has indeed constructed an awesome old-iron machine. It is good looking, functional, and a true reflection of the king of craftsmanship and work that he and his shop perform.
     For further information about Maurice, his '57, and why we call him Dr. Roost, contact Off Road Unlimited at 818-563-DIRT.


This is the kind of fabrication that Off Road Unlimited typically cranks out of their Burbank, California, shop. Over 15 inches of rear wheel travel is achieved with this wishbone type setup.

Up front, a trick hydraulic ram-assist power steering unit built by Lee Manufacturing gives the driver a smooth, consistent feel at the wheel and helps tame the big 39.5-inch Super Swamper Boggers on Weld rims.
Full Story  | Posted in Chevy

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