July 16, 2014
Meet “Rockzilla,” The 4×4 For A New Age
In the movie theater, you have Godzilla. On TV, you have Bridezilla. Now, in your driveway, you can have Rockzilla.
Although it started out as a Ford Excursion, it’s not your average, every day, run-of-the mill 4×4. Produced by a company called JD3 from Tucson, Arizona, it has become a mighty beast that will swallow up terrain and spit it out the exhaust.
The power is supplied by a 6.8-L V-10 with a stock transmission, transfer case, and axles from a donated Ford Excursion. The engine pushes out 310 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. The tires are 54-inch Michelins and the body is a hand-welded exoskeleton. It has four LED off-road lights for the front and two taillights on the back.
It may look like a one of a kind vehicle, but JD3 has built over 75 of them, all customized to the buyer’s liking. Rockzilla takes about four months to build, but you can get one now from eBay at a price of $72,000. It is complete and ready to roll, as in roll over anything in its path.
The one currently for sale on eBay is a two-seater with an open cab. However, JD3 will customize one to your specifications. If you want a four-seat model, they will build it. They will even add armor plating, or whatever else your heart desires.
The tires are mounted on steel wheels with double internal beadlocks for low-pressure driving. The sidewalls of the tires are stiff enough that it can get you home even with zero air pressure. It doesn’t come with a winch, as the owner of JD3, Jeremy Dixon, says you won’t need one.
“We’ll install a winch for a customer if they want, but I tell them they’ll never need it. We have a policy that if a customer calls us saying they got stuck bad enough to need a winch, we’ll install one for free,” Jeremy says.
The two seats are leather with folding armrests. The Excursion’s dash is removed and replaced with a basic unit for the steering wheel and a B&M ratchet shifter. However, Ford’s electronic transfer case shifter is still there. In the rear is a three feet wide, two feet long and one foot deep trunk. It is small, but large enough for a weekend offroad excursion.
Even though the drive train is almost completely stock, there is very little concern of breaking something. In the unforeseen event that it does, it can be fixed at the nearest Ford dealership.
“None of our customers have ever broken an axle or major running gear parts. A lot of it has to do with the transmission. Automatics are a lot easier on ring and pinions and axle shafts than manual transmissions. Popping the clutch at high rpms isn’t a problem with the four speed,” Dixon said.
The radiator and fan are located behind the cockpit as well as the 44-gallon fuel tank. The eBay model is gas-powered, but JD3 has built plenty of diesel-powered Rockzillas. The suspension is updated with new shocks and springs for greater wheel travel and flex. It doesn’t have any suspension lift to keep the center of gravity low. Obviously, there is no need for a lift with the huge 54-inch tires.
The current eBay Rockzilla is priced at $72,000. The price for a custom built one depends on what options the buyer wants, plus the cost of the Excursion, which runs between $6,000 and $20,000.
Image Credit: JD3 / TopSpeed.com