In the beginning...

First, the history. I've always been fascinated with goin' faster.. from watching the guy that rented the garage across the street (when I was much younger) wrench on his black '69 Z/28 race car.. to watching dirt oval trackers when I lived in California .. the stock car races here in Helena.. pushing my own '76 Chevy Luv to unthinkable reaches...And then.. I find out the Montana 4x4 Association has a racing circuit.. I narrowly talked myself out of going to the Bozeman Mountainees' Mud Bug in July (I had a company picnic with free food I needed to attend.. and they said I'd have to clean my Scout out to race)..

I then drove to Colorado for the 1998 Rocky Mountain IH Rendezvous (link'll come as soon as I'm done writing up the report).. at RMIHR, I met John and Pansy Comer face to face.. along with Gryphin, Banshee, and Troll. *drool*

Turns out there was... racing at RMIHR.. I unloaded everything from my '77 Scout II, locked the hubs, and drove into the arena.. and promptly lost. Repeatedly. I won one race when the other driver lost the steering wheel. My 196-4cyl, close ratio 4spd, 4.09 gears, 33s, and front locker did not make a good racing combination.. but it was a start.. and then to hear the Comer's Gryphin and Banshee roar around the track... shiver..

To say I liked it would be an understatement.

I motored on to the '98 NorthWest Binder Roundup. What should they have? A Tractor Pull! Well.. of course I had 'em hitch my Scout up! That little 196 really pulled well.. 160 some feet.. with the rear end hunkered way down, and as I reached the end of my pull, the clutch start slipping and the 196 nearly stalled... yet again, my infection grew.

You'd think I would learn and STOP before it was too late... no way!

I came home from vacation.. two weeks before the Bozeman Mountaineers' RALLY. A friend of mine asked, "Hey, you wanna race my Scout at the rally?"... *gulp*.. you bet!

I drove down to Bozeman on a Tuesday after work to help repair the broken clutch pivot assembly and then drove home at midnight to catch some sleep.. Friday afternoon I was motoring for Bozeman for the first night of racing.. not only were the Mountaineers having their dirt-drags and obstacle-course racing, but the Monster Trucks were in town.. with Tuff Truck racing.. and a *purse* to be won!

Erik's Scout is just a stock '77. It sports a 304V8, wide T19, 3.54 gears in the axles, 31" tires, some trimming.. along with no doors, no top, no windshield, no tailgate, and a full cage and two bucket seats.. oh yeah, the radio works too.. Nothing super special.. but the 304 ends in two short exhausts with dual glasspacks.. even if that 304 wasn't the fastest and strongest motor... the exhaust alone was enough to get a man's blood running!

That first night I drove his Scout in the Tuff Truck. When Erik drove, I rode shotgun.. when I drove, we didn't have time to adjust the passenger belts for Erik.. so I went around the course 6 times that night.. my back and neck too the abuse.. landings in a stock Scout II hurt.. but I managed to make some ~30 second passes, and Erik did good enough to take 3rd place.. and won $100.

I was tired, very muddy, wet, and stiff.. but I had a blast!

The next day we had the dirt drags.. I came in 2nd place! In a field of 2... ;-)

We didn't TuffTruck that night.. but Sunday was the obstacle course.. Erik and I both took a turn around the track and made a respectable showing.

I went home.. with big grins on my face, and a new mission... to build a racer! It helped that two friends offered me free Scouts while I was there.. Blair Hawse said I could have his old racer.. he was moving to a Bronco with coils, and he'd damaged the motor on his last race, and the trans needed overhauled and... but I could have what was left of it. "Senior" Bob Bradley offered me another Scout.. a camoflauged and wrecked Scout II without a drivetrain..

An entire weekend of hauling and dragging and lifting and pushing and $60 of gas into my friend Mike Kelly's Bronco (for flatbed towing purposes).. and I was the proud owner of two new Scout IIs... that were going to become MY racer.


The Blue Scout II is a '77. It came to me with just the remnants of a body attached to it. The 345V8 needs rebuilt.. the 4bbl needs rebuilt.. the 727 needs rebuilt.. the radiator was shot, a Travelall Dana 44 was dangling under the rear end.. but it had a full cage, a power steering box and column, pedals, and other things..

The Camo Scout II is a '78. It had been in an accident involving a tree that nicely removed the front windshield frame without damaging the top or cowl.. though the rest of the body sports dings n' dents and it lacks a hood and has no drivetrain components. The good news is the body is solid. It also came with an exhaust system, some exhaust manifolds, bench seats, heater assembly (less core), some 7mm Remington bullets.. lots of junk n' garbage.. shot radiator (drat).. but a good, solid foundation to start my race car from.


My plan...

Phase 1


  • Dismantle the blue ex-racer.

    • This involves - remove 345 and set aside, remove 727 for rebuild, remove Dana 20. Remove gas pedal, steering column, power steering box, shocks, springs, gas pedal, brake pedal, roll cage, springs, rear Travelall Dana 44, and anything else worth keeping.

    • DONE! (1/99)

  • Rebuild the 727 - in progress

  • Flip the spring center pins - Done

  • Grind remaining weld from springs (someone tried to weld the axle to the springs!)

  • Bolt springs into racer and axle to springs - in progress

  • Drag new (Camo) racer to the front of the garage now that it has wheels

  • Remove top and unnecessary interior pieces, tailgate.

  • Remove rear Dana 44 - install 4.88 gears.

  • Clean up and re-install rear axle "properly"

  • Weld shock mounts to rear axle

  • Locate front axle (current find is a Chevy 3/4T Dana 44)

  • Install 4.88s in front axle (Tracklok if I find one)

  • Install Scout II knuckles, hubs, rotors on the Chevy axle

  • Install axle under front using stock springs (remove a leaf to keep ride height down) in a spring-over

  • Install stock drag link - try it. If it's too short, get a Gryphin drag link

  • Install full rollcage.

  • Install racing bucket seat

  • Tub rear wheel wells

  • Remove front sheet metal from the firewall forward

  • Install 304, rebuilt 727, and Dana 20

  • Install tilt-front-clip from old racer - add inner fenders and some strength to it

  • Install drive-shafts

  • Install steering column, steering box, p/s pump

  • Fabricate radiator support and install radiator

  • START IT! Muahahahahaha!!!

  • Weld shock mounts on front axle, locate some shocks... modify shock towers for triple shocks up front

  • Run new brake lines all around :-(

  • Install brake booster & m/c

  • Install gas pedal

  • Install Transmission cover and shifter

Then there's a little more... supports across the bed walls to keep the bed from flexing.. add the 5pt harnesses.. fire extinguisher.. add in all of the factory lights and wire them up... followed by... GET LICENSE PLATES AND TAGS. Yep.. this rig will be street legal when I'm done! heh.


Basically, when I'm done, I'll have a spring-over Scout II, no top/doors/tailgate/windshield. It'll have a full cage. Full width axles.. Chevy 3/4T '44 front, Travelall 1/2T '44 rear, 4.88 gears. Triple shock front, double shock rear. Maybe driveline loops.

This should be fun!

PLEASE send me your input!