For anyone not familiar stock mobbing refers to taking a completely factory vehicle and pushing its limits off-road without pricey upgrades. This is one of the best ways to get out into the dirt and get into the off-road hobby fast. When you have a 1987 stock Toyota 4 Runner it’s pretty easy to just go off-road.
We have noticed lately that with the growing popularity of groups and events like the Gambler 500 this kind of off-roading is becoming more common. It was always there so it’s nothing new. However, more and more stock vehicles seem to be popping up at festivities we are attending. After spending a bunch of time with high dollar rigs it is kind of fun to just let loose with a stocker. Damage is not much of a concern. In fact, it is expected. Driving skills are emphasized over the latest and greatest upgrade or part. To be honest it’s just fun.
Alice In Her Wonderland
While at a recent Texas Raptor Run (TRR) event we came across Jason Dykes. He was kind of hard to miss in a sea of high dollar purpose-built vehicles. His vehicle of choice for the event was a bone stock 1987 Toyota 4 Runner. The ride has a few very tasteful upgrades but overall it is stock. Jason prefers it that way and the colorful history of the ride peaked our interest.
Jason originally found the truck on Craigslist. He was looking for a truck that could be used as a shop truck. He and his partner had just started their new business Mad Hatter Garage. It is a performance garage specializing in the Ford Raptor. Jason said, “I own it with a friend in Broussard, LA. My first ever vehicle was a 1985 4 Runner. My parents bought it for me in high school and I still own the truck today. I knew I wanted another 4 Runner we could beat on and not really cost me a ton of money.” They named the truck Alice.
The name Alice has a pretty fun story attached to it. Jason explained, “The name Alice came from when I went to pick up the truck. When we arrived to look at the truck the seller started it up and it was missing on at least one cylinder. You could easily hear it. So we popped the hood. I asked my buddy to pull one of the spark plug wires to see if the plugs were fouled. He tried to pull it off but couldn’t. Then he said, it’s stuck. So my response was, c’mon Alice, pull the wire off. Well, he did and the spark plug wire came apart. We ended up rebuilding the plug wire and then the engine smoothed out. All the while the teasing between the two of us continued around being called Alice. After that, the name just stuck with the truck.”
Jason then shared with us that he has attended five previous TRR events. He’s even driven Alice in three of them! He shared with us a little bit about the history surrounding how he got to be a regular attendee. He reasoned that, “The first time I attended was in 2014 for the Texas Raptor Run at the Texanna Ranch in West Texas. I originally began attending to promote Mad Hatter Garage. After the first couple of times I thought that Alice would be a fun truck to drive on the course. The organizer Trey Palriero allowed it as long as I adhered to the rules. She has gotten pretty beat up over the years but keeps running like a champ.”
Showing Them How It’s Done
While getting out and having a good time is always on the menu there is a slight ulterior motive to participating. Jason shared that his favorite part includes showing up Raptors in his four-banger Toyota. He said, “Really though, it is a lot of fun driving out there on the course. The camaraderie off track is also a great added bonus.” To top things off Jason isn’t the only one in the family that likes to have a good time either.
Jason stated, “It’s just my wife and I. She does love racing and like myself, is a big formula one fan. She participates in autocross back in Louisiana in our Lotus. TRR has always been a guy’s weekend for me and my friends, but I might just have to bring her next time. She would love it!” We’re sure she would.
As was previously mentioned there haven’t been a lot of modifications completed to the truck. However, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t work to be done. Jason revealed that “I took a stock Raptor skid plate and modified it to fit the 4Runner. The original skid plate was gone when I first bought the truck. I’m total in the truck about $2,500 including the initial purchase. I also replaced ball joints and fluids. I have a new steering box I have yet to put in.” Jason also joked that “I chose not to modify the truck because you can’t improve on perfection.”
Once again the focus for this type of thing is really on driver skill. Even the most tricked out truck is going to have a hard time keeping up with a stock truck driven by a well-trained driver. We have seen many a competitor get a bruised ego when showing up to an event with a high dollar rig. The fallacy is that if you have enough mechanical modifications you can’t be beaten. The reality is that is just not the case. It really is kind of funny to see that fact hit home to an owner that has six figures into a vehicle only to be passed up by a stock ride.
A Simple Girl
The best part about having an off-road vehicle is going off-road. Unfortunately, going off-road is only one small part of what it takes. There is also the maintenance and preparation associated with going on a trip. This can be as simple or as complicated as you would like. For some, it’s all about having a badass camp to come back to after a challenging trail.
For Jason, it’s about time management. He shared that, “Usually my prep is about fifteen minutes. It consists of looking things over quick and putting fuel in. Then there are another thirty minutes in strapping the truck to the trailer. Alice is a low-maintenance girl.” Less time spent packing and prepping means more time for family or wheeling. This is just another benefit to stock mobbing. Remember there is an expectation that something will break. All of that drama is just part of the adventure.
Considering that with family, work, and life in general time can be in short supply. This led to a core question. Why not just take up knitting? Jason replied, “First of all, knitting is harder than it looks. I’m not very good at coordinating colors for a set of hat and mittens. Off-roading is thrilling and you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to enjoy it. Alice is a lot of fun to drive and she takes every hit without a complaint. Will she win an off-road race against Raptors? No, but I’ll still have lots of laughs and a ton of fun running the course.”
Wrapping it All Up
Jason likes the way things are and there is no real plan to change anything at this time. He admitted, “At some point, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to change that steering box. The factory one still has not failed, but I’ll keep bringing it to every event until it does. Other than that no additional plans for upgrades are in place unless something breaks. In which case I’ll replace it with another stock part.”
This is the kind of mentality and attitude that makes life fun. Come on people. Lets get out in the dirt with whatever you have. Lets go stock mobbing!