The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

1980 Chevrolet C80 – Apocalypse Wow!

When Survival Goes to the Fittest, this Rig Will Definitely Make Road Warriors Out of its Occupants

Photography by Henry Z. De Kuyper

Over the years we’ve seen Hollywood conjure up countless interpretations of how vehicles would take shape in preparation for, or in reaction to, doomsday. But if things go haywire in real life, would you really want to be driving Mel Gibson’s blown Interceptor or the rocket-launching Landmaster from Damnation Alley? Style is great on the silver screen, but in the event of a catastrophe, practicality is where the cream rises to the top.

In previous issues of RECOIL we’ve shown you what’s possible in accessorizing a fairly new ride, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Jim DeLozier has taken what many consider an old dog and outfitted it with all the trappings hell on Earth might necessitate. These older trucks are pretty damn resilient and given their versatility, affordability, and abundance, here’s a perfect example of how one was transformed to stay one step ahead if every man must fend for himself.

Start thinking backwards from Armageddon and ask yourself what a vehicle would need. Are we talking civil unrest? Disease outbreak? Widespread power outages? The answer is all of the above, because in a true SHTF ordeal, a domino effect is likely. As a security consultant and father of two, DeLozier was not only thinking of how to bug out, but how his brood could survive for an indefinite period of time with limited resources if their only shelter was this truck. Jim carefully thought about how every single aspect of this truck would fare in austere conditions.

Jim’s quest for the ultimate survivor vehicle began with deciding what kind of utilitarian platform would best suit his vision. He felt that a 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck didn’t have the capacity he was looking for and wouldn’t be feasible as a daily driver in terms of mileage. He figured if he was going to go bigger, using it as a daily driver wouldn’t be practical anyway. Since the largest vehicle he could own without a commercial license couldn’t exceed 26,000 pounds, he began to narrow his search to a commercial/military-grade chassis that could support a high payload.

Then there was the question of whether a modern vehicle or an older one would make more sense. The absence of electronics in these older vehicles helps protect against electromagnetic pulse damage and solar flares. Eventually Jim decided on a 1980 Chevy C70, which was previously used as a commercial drilling rig. Jim picked up this truck for about $10,000 on trade.

When he found it, the chassis had already been upgraded to four-wheel drive, was reinforced with a double frame, had a 10-inch frame lift, and had the factory 366 tall-block engine. These motors can run on gas or propane, or both at once, so the mixture can be modified depending on barometric pressure and altitude. Jim felt having a vehicle that could run on propane would give him an advantage because it has a longer shelf life than gas or diesel, can legally be stored in larger quantities, and tanks in people’s yards can be found all over the country if fuel scavenging becomes necessary. He also dressed up the engine with a custom kit from Carburetion & Turbo Systems with an MSD ignition to assist in the timing advance for effective propane use.

Jim keeps extra electrical components onboard such as backup HEI, control modules for the timing advance, and other such parts that can be replaced quickly in case of a remote EMP attack. To further accessorize the truck, Jim sold people on his vision, had parts and services donated, and eventually it snowballed into what you see here, which is a prototype and still a work in progress.

Jim enlisted Tilling Consulting in San Clemente, California, to handle much of the design by mocking it up in SolidWorks to optimize their use of space. Danny Delamater up at Delson Products in Santa Fe Springs, California, was responsible for a lot of the custom touches throughout the truck, and most of the welding was handled by Marty Klett, Mike Phillips, and Duncan Jones. Ashley Tilling at Tilling Consulting also assisted in the design and engineering.

A custom pop-up camper created by Four Wheel Campers with a cab-over portion may look pretty milquetoast to the unsuspecting eye, but it houses the survivalist heart of the truck. Encased in a ballistic-reinforced active faraday cage within the camper and serviced by a positive-pressure, nuclear/biological/chemical air filtration system is what Jim calls the command center. It is essentially a safe room housing all the communications, surveillance, computers, night vision, ground radar, and thermal imaging equipment and can hold six people belted into jump seats. It’s all kept at a comfortable temperature by a custom heater and Class A air-conditioning system.

Want more specifics on the tech gear? OK, you asked for it. Three thermal cameras that can be mounted in front (wide, medium, and narrow) can monitor the driving area ahead for heat signatures in case driving needs to be done with only the front infrared lights activated while wearing night vision equipment. Surveillance cameras can be mounted on each side as well as a long-range camera that faces forward. A pan/tilt/zoom can be affixed to a masthead above the vehicle for a 360-degree view, along with a laser/thermal combo camera.

A CB radio, ham radio with repeater, and private encrypted two-way radio with repeater will also keep Jim in the know if standard communications become limited. Chem suits and SCBA kits are kept onboard to drive through hazardous areas, and Jim intends to run the air filtration system directly into the cab. Though the camper itself is not airtight, the positive pressure system makes it acceptable. A ground radar system monitors the surroundings for objects, movement, aircraft, combatants, and animals.

OK, but what about the actual surviving abroad part, like having water? Seven tanks capable of holding a combined 150 gallons of water were added and run through a solar-powered water purification system. It can be used for drinking water or can be plumbed into a portable shower system that can be set up within the camper. The water supply can be recycled for an indefinite period of time. Water could also be pumped in from another source when it’s time to replenish. The system can be powered electronically or with a hand pump. And yes, there’s a toilet that goes into a separate septic tank.

Yeah, but this thing’s so heavy, what if it gets stuck? No problem. A 24-ton capacity hydraulic leveling system can help this beast out of spots if and when it gets stuck. Dual 15,000-pound winches can also be employed if need be. You may also be wondering about ordinance Jim may encounter — he was too. Those 53-inch military tires were fitted with mine-resistant run-flat inserts, and there are plans for explosion-resistant paneling to protect the undercarriage.

The entire truck is also Rhino lined, which quiets the vehicle. And if that wasn’t enough, its texture allows it to become embedded with dirt over time to add to its camo-colored aesthetics. Jim also keeps extra paint onboard to switch up the vehicle’s color to match different surroundings. No, it’s not an armored car per se, but this is not a war fighter, it’s a long-term escape vehicle meant to take the abuse any gauntlets along the way could throw at it.

But what’s powering this monstrosity? A lot of things. Dual alternators and a 12-volt belt-driven generator run off the engine, along with four separate battery banks all charged from the same system with separate high-amp isolators to charge multiple systems independently. Add to that a solar panel on the roof, a standalone 3,000-watt solar generator, and deployable solar generator and you’ve pretty much got all your power sources covered. Three gas tanks and two 77-gallon propane tanks also power the vehicle, while a 110/240-volt gas/propane generator on the side can power various other items stored on the vehicle. Fully fueled, the truck is capable of a 3,000-plus-mile range, depending on payload.

Surely you’d need to protect a vehicle like this, right? Of course! Aside from the surveillance measures, motion, vibration, window break sensors, audible alarm, and remote access via 4G wireless help keep the truck secure from intruders. Thermo-regulated camo nets can also be deployed to completely cover the vehicle. Jim also keeps guns onboard with anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 rounds of ammo. Sub-cache canisters are also part of the truck’s inventory so that they can be buried anywhere he sees fit in case he needs to come back later and dig up supplies.

Speaking of supplies, Jim has pretty much checked off everything you’d find on a survivalist’s holiday list. An industrial breaching saw, industrial chainsaw, a full medical kit including oxygen and transfusion apparatus, 12-volt air compressor, portable welder, fire-suppression system, bow and arrows, glass breakers, 1,800 MREs and additional sea rations, remote-area lighting, air/electric/fuel line reels, body armor, and a variety of outdoor clothing are just some of the things residing in compartments throughout the truck.

So what’s next for this behemoth? At present, Jim plans on outfitting it with spare tires, an overdrive system, a navigation system, thicker insulation in the camper to reduce heat signatures/light emission, and even building a production vehicle for global sales on a new chassis from Freightliner, Mercedes, Ford, Fuso, and more. Not each will be alike of course. Additions in one place can create deficits in others, which Jim discovered through trial and error.

You’ve probably been wondering what this truck cost to build. At present, Jim has over half a million dollars invested. Now, before you go pour yourself four fingers of that bourbon we recommended on page 138 to handle the initial shock of that investment, remember this is a prototype for which most of the parts and services were donated based on sharing the owner’s vision. No, this wasn’t built after winning some big Powerball jackpot.

The idea behind producing Survivor Trucks is to ultimately create a modular vehicle to satisfy the demands of the end user, as no one vehicle can satisfy every demand. Who knows, you may start seeing multiple Survivor Trucks out roaming the countryside. Sure, you could go cheaper and cut corners, but is it any surprise that a vehicle outfitted with this much stuff would be so costly? What are the lives of you and your family worth when it comes to nationwide upheaval? Like the old saying goes — better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Make
Chevrolet
Model
C70
Year
1980
Engine
366ci V-8
Drivetrain
4WD
Phone
(888) 755-7769
Email
info@survivortruck.com

Survivor Truck - Front

Lower Lights
Make
Lightforce
Model
170 Striker combo-beam
URL
www.lightforce.com

Upper Lights
Make
Lightforce
Model
210 Genesis (two spot / two flood)
URL
www.lightforce.com

Side Lights
Make
Lightforce
Model
170 Striker with infrared filter
URL
www.lightforce.com

Light Bar
Make
Bulldog Lighting
Model
50-inch Bone LED combo beam light bar
MSRP
$1,096
URL
www.bulldog-lighting.com

Winch
Make
Mile Marker
Model
SEC15 – 15,000-pound electric winch
MSRP
$699
URL
www.milemarker.com

Air conditioner / heater
Make
Dometic Corp.
Model
10K Class A
MSRP
$7,999
URL
www.dometic.com

Camo nets
Make
SAAB / Barracuda US
Model
Thermo-regulated 360-degree camouflage netting system – desert tan
MSRP
$11,256
URL
www.saabgroup.com/northamerica

Survivor Truck - Storage

Tank
Make
Manchester Tank
Model
77-gallon propane tank
URL
www.mantank.com

Wheels
Make
Titan International
Model
Military 10×20 wheels
MSRP
$3,990
URL
www.titan-intl.com

Tires
Make
Michelin
Model
XZL 16:00 R20
MSRP
$1,995
URL
www.rallequip.com

Run-flat tire inserts (not visible)
Make
Hutchinson
Model
Mine-resistant
run-flat system
URL
www.hutchinsoninc.com

Generator
Make
Coleman
Model
6250 12/110/220 gas and propane generator with Briggs & Stratton engine

Compressor
Make
Oasis
Model
12V air compressor and supplemental 6-gallon tank
URL
$1,800
URL
www.oasismfg.com

Side Light Bar
Make
Bulldog Lighting
Model
20-inch Bones LED combo beam light bar
MSRP
$506
URL
www.bulldog-lighting.com

Leveling System
Make
Equalizer Systems
Model
Hydraulic ram automatic leveling system
URL
www.equalizersystems.com

Compartment Contents

Make
Pelican
Model
EMT case with full medical kit and remote area lighting system
URL
www.pelican.com

Make
Chinook Medical Kit
Model
EMPK – Level 4
MSRP
$750
URL
www.chinookmed.com

Make
Aqua Sun International
Model
Responder “S” solar/battery/12v water purification system – reverse osmosis and UV
URL
www.aqua-sun-intl.com

1980-chevrolet-c70-optima-batteries

Make
PowerEnz
Model
LFP-40 – mobile solar generator 72 watt foldable solar panel and battery pack
URL
www.powerenz.com

Make
Marvac Electronics
Model
electrician’s tool kit
URL
www.marvac.com

Make
Snap-on
Model
mechanic’s tool kit
URL
www.snapon.com

Make
Miller Welding
Model
Multimatic 200
MSRP
$1,965
URL
www.millerwelds.com

Make
IDS Solar Technologies
Model
Rescue 3,000-watt Pure Sine Wave Solar Generator
URL
www.idssolartech.com

Make
5.11
Model
RUSH MOAB backpack
MSRP
$110
URL
www.511tactical.com

Make
Broco
Model
Mini Breaching Saw Kit
URL
www.broco-rankin.com

Steps / Handrail
Make
Torklift International
Model
GlowStep 8-inch tread depth step
MSRP
$900
URL
www.torklift.com

1980-chevrolet-c70-command-center
Command Center
AR500 armor plate, 3/4-inch ballistic fiberglass by Pacific Bulletproof covered by 3/4-inch cabinet-grade plywood for attachment of desired items. Thor-Shield EMP protection. Custom made by Delson Products.
URL
www.thorshield.com, www.pacificbulletproof.com, www.delsonproducts.com

Air Filtration System
Make
American Safe Rooms
Model
12-volt NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical environment) air filtration system with auxiliary hand pump for power failures
URL
www.americansaferoom.com

Ruggedized PC
with RAM mounts, docking station, 4G wireless internet, remote camera management

Electronics

Make
Wamar Technologies
Model
C4ISR Tactical Video Monitoring System, multi-mode wireless connectivity, ROIP radio over IP, thermal imaging, laser camera, pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras, ground radar, video recording
MSRP
not for commercial sale
URL
www.wamartech.com

Make
Motorola
Model
Two-way radios kit
URL
www.motorola.com

Make
Yaesu
Model
Ham radio kit
URL
www.yaesu.com

1980-chevrolet-c70-four-wheel-campers-interior
Camper
Make
Four Wheel Campers
Model
modified/custom Keystone model with queen size bed, bench seat that converts into double bed, sink and shower with hot and cold water, toilet, air conditioner, heater, two-burner stove, refrigerator, food storage, television with DVD player and satellite, dual 12-volt batteries, solar panel on roof, shorepower hookup.
Value
$45,000
URL
www.fourwheelcampers.com

1980-chevrolet-c70-gun-case

Gun Inventory
(1) Springfield Armory M1A rifle
(2) POF P416 f/a 10.5-inch barrel 5.56x45mm gas piston carbine with EOTech HHS-II sights (EXPS2-2 sight and G33 3x magnifier with switch to side mount) and YHM suppressor
(2) POF P416 f/a 14.5-inch barrel 5.56x45mm gas piston carbine with Aimpoint Micro T1 with high mount and Aimpoint 3x Magnifier with twist-mount base for interoperability with PVS-14 Gen III+ NV and YHM suppressor
(2) POF P308-FA 16.5-inch barrel 7.62x51mm gas piston carbine with NightForce NXS 2.5-10×24 rifle scope and YHM suppressor
(4) POF P308 20-inch barrel 7.62x51mm gas piston rifle with NightForce NXS 5.5-22×50 rifle scope with MLR reticle and YHM suppressor
(1) FN A3G 24-inch barrel .308 Win bolt-action rifle with McMillan A3 stock and NightForce NXS 5.5-22×50 rifle scope with MLR reticle with SureFire suppressor
(1) Blaser .300 WinMag bolt-action rifle with Schmidt & Bender 3-27×56 PMII Hi-Power rifle scope with SureFire suppressor
(4) Springfield Armory XD-45 pistols

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