Industry Insider: Meet Rob Lindsay From RJ Fabrication

RJ Fabrication Ranger PreRunner

RJ Fabrication has made a permanent impact in the world of off-road luxury PreRunners. Becoming well known for several very impressive high-profile builds, Rob Lindsay and his humble shop; RJ Fabrication have carved out a reputation as one of the best in the business. 

In 2,000 Rob started RJ Fabrication (also known as RJ Fab) specializing mainly in hotrods, pro-touring cars, and drag racers. Nowadays the clientele projects are split between off-road trucks and pro touring type performance muscle cars. Offered services include fabrication, specialized welding, custom tin work, wheel tubs, flooring, transmission tunnels, fuel cells, custom interiors, steering, driveline, suspension design, race-prep, performance, turnkey builds, and frame up fully engineered chassis design.

Off Road Xtreme was recently granted an interview and shop tour earlier this spring which we are very grateful for. I had been once before, for a different project, and it was cool to see the different vehicles and at various stages.

RJ Fabrication’s work shop was very well organized and really immaculate.

The main shop is one of three garages on the property and measures 50 by 80 at 4,000 square feet. By any standards, RJ Fabrication is a meticulously kept shop where everything has its place. There are no piles of debris anywhere to be found and the entire floor space, tools, equipment, and materials are well organized. Rob just added an in-ground Dyno Tune Dyno Jet 1000 to expand his services. The newest garage was added in 2018. It features a lounge area and full kitchen. Adding another 2,000 square feet of garage space, it is more of a clean room for assembly and final installation. No fabrication takes place in this section. Rob admitted it was not originally supposed to even be a work area, and supposes there may be another shop space added in the near future with a paint booth perhaps!

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With nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram, RJ Fab holds a customer waiting list of 3 years lead time on approved projects. Lindsay maintains a prestigious reputation for top shelf vehicle builds by taking on select clientele whose projects match Rob’s standards. The preferred off-road vehicle project questionnaire asks only two questions: What size tires? And How much Horsepower? To put it very bluntly, this is not your roll cage and bumper fab shop.

The waitlist is long. Every component is race-grade and heavy-duty, which means very exotic and costly. The know-how, experience, and skill to fabricate at this level is hard to come by. The fine details that bring the finish work together throughout the entire process is really the most time consuming. This equates to project cost hitting six figures and upwards of $300,000 to $500,000 for a complete ground up build.

Rob Lindsay’s handy work has caught the attention of major auto bloggers.

In the world of off-road, craftsmanship means everything. It is a testament to the builder and a gauge of the vehicle’s reliability and performance. RJ Fabrication is now producing some of the finest off-road trucks in the industry that are second to none. All achieving high notoriety in famed auto blogs such as AutopiaLA where viewers can drool and speculate over what they would do with a vehicle like that. Of course it has made appearances in traditional publications like the SCORE-International Journal and Off Road Xtreme.  

Coming into the scene by means of personal interest and parallel exposure, Rob worked on the side as an off-road race series technical inspector in the late 2000s. At the time, Lindsay was a 20 year experienced car builder, and was no stranger to race cars. He knew exactly what was required to make them certifiably race-ready.

After a couple of years rubbing elbows in the off-road industry and doing several trucks for customers, Rob had a project in the works but it was time to finally do something about it. His first off-road truck he built for himself, by himself and his small team at RJ Fab, officially put him on the map as a luxury PreRunner aficionado. In 2017, Rob debuted his version at the prominent Off Road Expo.

The full profiles showing off the amazing finished details.

It was a frame up build, or what was left of the frame, constructed around a 1989 extra-cab Ford Ranger. Much of the early construction that really got underway in 2014 can be viewed in an old forum thread that documented a lot of the meticulous fabrication. You can see it all started with a stripped down cab, cut frame rails, lots of hand fabricated parts, and the beginnings of a masterpiece.

Typical of project vehicles, they often snowball into something else.

This particular build lasted four and half years. He worked through his free time on nights and weekends. Envisioning something that could be better, he did not stop until he achieved something very special. Having ridden in the truck myself, I can verify Rob does not hold back on the fun throttle which is what others have said as well. 

Originally, the truck was going to have 35 inch tires. Then they thought 37s look way cooler, and now it sits with 39 inch tires in its finished state. What was supposed to house a small block, now is home to a 680 horsepower 460 Big Block Chevy. Performance wise, this thing is dialed in with modern technical advancements much of which has a drag racing flare. Gutted out and down to a bare cab shell, the truck is now outfitted with custom tin work and shrouds front to back. Underneath the custom leather interior inside the cab features sound deadening Lizard Skin and a ceramic heat resistant coating which also covers the outside as well. This protects against the heat and sound produced by the handcrafted headers and exhaust. All major frame, suspension, and chassis work is nickel plated in a matte gold finish which is beautifully contrasted by the custom body work coated in a jet black gloss. Every piece of hardware is made of aircraft quality twelve point fasteners and torqued down and marked in typical race-prep fashion.

This little truck hits the scales at 6,200 pounds, which is heavy for a vehicle of this size. Lets just say, it has been slightly over-built but is very well balanced front to back with near equal weight distribution of 52% to the rear. With Rob’s amazing performance know-how and attention to detail it is an off-road hotrod that works as good as it looks.

The next build was a super exotic Polaris RZR wearing a truck body.

Since then, this vehicle has come to fame as one of the finest purpose built Ford Rangers. What he built next to compliment this truck is an out of this world twin on a smaller scale. What started out as Rob’s recently purchased brand new stock Polaris RZR Turbo S, transformed into a mini off-road Ranger look alike. It closely resembles his 89 Ford Ranger PreRunner and graced the cover of UTV Sports Magazine in February 2021

In this project, nearly everything had to be custom built including the chassis, roll cage, interior and custom body. Right down to the spare tire mounts, it mimics the ranger in every way possible. Rob revealed this passionate project at the 2019 Off Road Expo. 

The newest truck to come out of RJ Fabrication’s shop.

Besides all of the radical truck builds in various stages of construction, the highlight of the day was Rob offering to fire up a freshly renovated Ford F100 Prerunner that was set to be delivered to a customer in the coming days. I was a personal fan of this truck prior and follow the owner @Mike_OBS on Instagram. I was really stoked to see Lindsay’s firm influence further developing this thing into a fiery beast.  

Now with dozens of off-road trucks and PreRunners built or finished under the supervision of Rob Lindsay and RJ Fabrication, the esteemed reputation continues to grow. Off Road Xtreme thanks Rob for sharing his time with us and revealing the work that goes into these impressive vehicles. Our parting thoughts are this. A clean shop makes for clean work, which Rob demonstrates with his immaculate shop and top-shelf builds. 

A Quick Q&A With Rob Lindsay:

Off Road Xtreme: Where does your craftsmanship come from and what inspires you?

RJ Fabrication: This is such a good question and actually difficult to answer, but I would have to say my inspiration comes from when I talk with other builders that I look up to and respect. There’s so many great builders out there. They are true artists and have such a passion and can I feed off of that especially right after talking with them about one particular project or another. It just motivates me and gets me fired up to do the best job we can do.

ORX: How long is a typical word day?

RJ: Well when things are running smooth and going the way they are supposed to, we work from 6 AM to 4 PM. So a typical 10 hour day is normal although it is not unusual to go 12 to 16 hours depending on projects and deadlines.

ORX:  What are your biggest challenges with being a custom car builder?

RJ: Time! Time is the biggest challenge. It waits for no one. Just kidding projects, especially full big builds done in a timely fashion is the biggest challenge. You want to exercise your creativity and every time you come up with some cool new idea it just takes time to execute and when this happens 30 to 60 times on a build it really starts adding up and pushing the project back farther and farther. I feel like it’s worth it in the end but sometimes it’s hard to justify the timelines.

ORX: How long is your customer wait list?

RJ: We generally have a two year wait list but that has been pushed out to three years now. These are for the large builds. A lot of times we are asked to do smaller projects and we try to squeeze those in between the big builds. When one is leaving, we try to bang out a few things for people here in there before we bring on the next big build.

ORX: What is your dream off-road rig?

RJ: I would really love to build something vintage. Say, very late 60s to early 70s, Ford or Chevy, and a crew cab truck. It would need a 1200 horsepower engine, and a cantilevered mezzanine rear suspension to keep as much static weight in the rear of the truck as possible. It would have a full luxury interior and probably a refrigerator inside.

ORX: Off-road trucks or go fast hot rods?

RJ: Another great question! I started out building cars so that will always be my original love but I definitely think the adrenaline rush of hauling ass across the rough desert definitely lasts longer. High horsepower street cars are super fun but the risk is pretty high being on public roads.

ORX: What do you do for kicks?

RJ: Well with the help of some good friends, I’m just now learning how to let go and have some fun. It’s always been based around automotive stuff like street racing or just building something fun or custom for friends. I just bought my first boat at 49 years old so I’m hoping to enjoy that.  Sand dunes have always been a big go to for me as well.  Also anything that incorporates jumping in the luxury PreRunner and just hauling-ass across the desert to some destination that takes me off the grid is definitely a highlight. Of course I need to incorporate some good restaurants as well.

ORX: What are the specs on that oversized Snap-On Ratchet and how do I get one?

RJ: That was a promotional product that my Snap-On Dealer had on the truck. Somehow my smooth tongue talked him out of it. We have a friend named Shrek that we always joke about having him pose with it, maybe tightening a quarter inch fastener on a valve cover or something ridiculous like that. Shrek is a massive dude, it would probably look almost normal with him using it. The fun thing about it is it actually works and reverses and it’s clear on the backside so that you can actually see the pawls and the ratcheting mechanism.

A massive Snap-On ratchet with a huge drive that works!

Studio images provided Bryant Lambert Creative Agency.
Red OBS F100 images provided Will Estrada Photgraphy.

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About the author

Micah Anderson

Micah is a 20 year authority in the off-road industry with extensive experience founded on marketing, events, and racing. Professionally skilled in all things creative, Micah is passionate about faith, freedom, and anything powered by adventure.
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