Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off-road magazine July ‘97 issue ran a feature story on the best 4×4s of all time. Drum rolls… and the list is:
h3. The Top 10 Rockcrawlers of all time
66-77 Ford Bronco
70-80 International Scout II
55-81 Jeep CJ-5
76-86 Jeep CJ7
87-95 Jeep Wrangler
85-95 Suzuki Samarui
63-82 Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser
79-86 Toyota Pickup
Any Willys Flatfender
The editorial by the editor, Pewe: Any Willys Flatfender
bq.. Flatfenders are the best rockcrawlers ever. Period. That’s not to say that other rigs aren’t any good, but only the flatties stay true to the heritage of the sport. They were crawling long before any other model was even conceived, much less in training pants. The original Jeeps are small, nimble, light weight, have a good power-to-weight ratio, and feature flexible frames and compliant suspension. This allowed them to cross the Rubicon en masse before a V-8 conversion was even thought of. The low center of gravity, even when sprung over, gives great stability, and the fold-down windsheild and lack of doors make flatfenders the best-looking rigs ever made. Machine art at its finest.
But wait, there’s more! They were originally painted green but can be changed to any color you want! They are also the most modifiable rig of all- unless you want a pure bolt-on-gizmo buildup, which gives rise to the phrase “Real Jeeps are built, not bought”. As long as the class style is retained,the mechanicals and add-ons are fair game for conversions into whatever combination one can think of, and we’ve seen some weird ones. Even if you want a dead-stock flattie, almost any part is available – even if the local parts store just laughs at you.
Anzio Ferrari once described these tough little beasts as America’s only true sports car, and they can still be found behind barns and in garages for as little as $500.
The list contains 4 Jeeps in it. That says it all. The Willys flatfender is so capable off road that even a completely beat up old hunk-a-rust still out offroads any new 4×4 built today.