Oregon Suzuki LJ80, Plus Bonus '66 Ford F-100

PaulN continues to send in photos of interesting machinery he's found in Eugene, Oregon, and today we're going to look at a "Suzuki Jeep," otherwise known as a Suzuki LJ. I've never seen one of these in my life, but apparently some were sold in North America back in the day. Make the jump to read Paul's description and check out his indestructible '66 Ford truck.

I saw it twice in as many days; the second time I went and got my camera. Looks like a former Air Force truck (Dept. of Defense sticker 1979), maybe from a base in the Pacific somewhere. With those big 16" wheels and tires, it looks just like a cute little toy. I want it.

Paul has also sent in some nice shots of his personal '66 Ford pickup:

I washed the old Ford for the first time in five years (with a pot-scrubber), and thought I'd send you some pics. I bought this cast-iron beast 21 years ago for $500 to haul stuff to the dump, and that's where it spent this morning. My approach all these years has been to do the very least amount necessary to keep it running, and it still runs like a champ. It has the original 240 CID six that churns out 129 net hp at 3900 rpm. When the three-speed started popping out of gear, I replaced it with a Warner T-85 3-speed with overdrive. The Hurst floor shifter was already there when I bought it.

The Overdrive is set up to engage manually, allows clutch-less shifts, and yields 5 nicely-spaced gears (1 high and 2 low are too close together). Cruising at 65, the engine turns 1800 rpm. It happily rolls down the highway at eighty, if you don't mind the quarter-turn play in the manual steering and the pathetic little un-assisted drum brakes. Easy driving yields up to 20 mpg.

I use the truck exclusively to haul heavy loads. The "half-tonner" F-100 is rated to carry 1200 lbs. I consistently overload it. At the quarry, I once weighed out with a 3500 lb load, which happens to be what the tuck weighs empty. It was riding on all the axle bumper-stops, a terrific low-rider imitation. I've pulled Bobcat excavators on dual axle trailers (7,000 lbs total), but I have to be careful to pick a route where I won't have to stop on an incline, otherwise the lack of a granny low gear means a smoking clutch.

Any thoughts of a newer truck are erased when I see how high their beds are, literally twice as high as mine. But then it seems pick-ups only haul trailers now days with loads in them. I plan to keep working the Ford indefinitely, to see which one of us gives up first. If anyone is still interested, my write-up is here.