In the world of off-roading, you meet someone every once in a while who leaves an impression on you. Our recent phone call with Ken Argue of AllPro Off-Road in Lansing, Michigan, was one such person. His open honesty and rambunctious take on life is something that isn’t often heard, but when it is, it’s quite refreshing.
With over 20 years of experience under his belt, Argue prides himself on his versatility when it comes to automotive projects. “I’m a little bit of both when it comes to education,” he said. “I’ve taught myself some stuff, and other stuff I learned at school.” School gave Argue associate’s degrees in Automotive Repair and Business, yet life gave Argue the ability to take on anything.
Argue’s shop occupies 6,000 square feet in Michigan’s capital, and has been that way since it began in 2001. “I never planned on getting into off-road work in the beginning,” he told us. “I wanted to do more general stuff. But then I went out and bought a Jeep, put on 31-inch tires, and thought it sucked. So I built my own lift kit and and installed it and put 33s on.”
Off-road had bitten Argue hard and left its mark, as he went on to the now-defunct Badass Truck Expo in northern Michigan. “I went there in 2003 and took first place, my first time out there,” said Argue. “It started a chain reaction and before long, I had people calling me, wanting me to soup up their vehicles. Fast forward to today, and I’ll do anything and everything, mild to wild.”
And Argue really does mean that last statement. “Our typical customers are anything but. We do general maintenance, LS swaps, custom cages, whatever. Head gaskets, tune-ups, normal cars and off-road.”
Recently, Argue wrapped up a couple of Jeep projects, namely an LJ and a CJ-7. “The LJ received a 6.2-liter LS V8, Atlas transfer case, RockJock 60 axles, ARB air lockers front and rear, custom cage, custom body work, and suspension has at least 20 inches of travel. The CJ-7 was brought in as a restoration piece. The owner doesn’t plan on taking it off-road, he just wants a nice mall cruiser. So we rebuilt the 360 cubic-inch V8 it came with, and did a frame-up restoration. It’s nothing radical by any means, it’s just plain clean.”
With a solid foundation on the business side, Argue has his sights set on expansion. He’s working on purchasing houses adjacent to the shop and having them knocked down, a process that he sees taking the next two years to complete. In the near future, however, he’s excited to head to the Jeep Blessing in northern Michigan come this May. Being a rockcrawling event, it’s just the sort of activity that Argue enjoys, as opposed to trail rides like the Easter Jeep Safari.
“I can’t stand trail rides,” he commented. “In another life, I would have been a rock bouncer, but it’s too expensive for me at this point. Rock bouncing is a lot more balls-to-the-wall, instead of climbing a couple of rocks in Utah and pretending you’re king of the world.”
Between his daily driver 2010 Dodge Ram Hemi pickup and funmobile 2001 Cherokee, Argue has the means to work and play hard. Here’s to hoping he’ll someday make the trek out here to California, because four-wheeling with this gentleman sounds like a hell of a good time. Keep on truckin’, man, and kudos on keeping the off-road lifestyle alive out there in the Wolverine State.