2021: A Year of Building
Last year on December 31st, we asked our social media audience, “in 2021, what are you building for?” And dozens of people responded with their hopes and plans for the coming year. In December, we caught up with a few of them to ask “how’d it go?” And, “in 2022, what are you building for?”
Here’s what they had to say.
Nate Woodman: Building for the Day-to-Day
“Oh, I’m building to go to the grocery store, for sure the hardware store, some camping, but regardless always on @bfgoodrichtires.”
Nate gets it. We’re not all building to fully send it in Baja (although, that is definitely on Nate’s bucket list). Many of us are building for the day-to-day. We head to the store, we head home, and we escape to that remote campsite when we can manage to get away for a while.
“I go on a cool trip once or twice a year, if I'm lucky. So, sometimes I’m building for something amazing, like going to Moab, but 90% of the time I'm doing something lame, like picking up wood chips at the hardware store or going to the grocery store. I go out mountain biking and camping, too. But no matter what I'm doing, I always count on BFGoodrichⓇ Tires to get me there.”
Nate runs Monkey Wrench Cycles, a two-man operation in downtown Lincoln. During the pandemic, the bike industry thrived, but in 2021, many bike shops were hit hard by supply chain issues making parts hard to come by. Lucky for Nate, his operation kept a well-stocked warehouse as a habit — one that helped them stay open, and dodge many of the issues that plagued similar shops. Overall, the year taught him a lot about gratitude.
“I’m very proud that during all of last year, we haven't had to turn anybody away for repair due to lack of parts. I am so thankful for every single customer, every single repair job, and every single sale you make. This year really taught me that every customer is important. Whether they’re a big enthusiast, or just using their bike to get to work, they all keep my shop alive.”
Nate currently has three trucks — a 2003 Toyota Tacoma, a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser, and a 1982 Jeep Scrambler. They all run BFGoodrichⓇ tires. The Tacoma is his go-to ride for longer camping trips or mountain biking excursions. It’s outfitted with a touring awning, a couple of fridges, and a rooftop tent for exploring off the grid. The Land Cruiser is also built for overlanding fun. And the Scrambler, a piece of nostalgia from Nate’s teenage years, is destined to go back to Moab one day to rock crawl again.
“I've been running BFGoodrich tires since the nineties, and they're the only tire I've run on every single truck since then. I haven’t had a flat since ‘93.”
In 2022, what are you building for?
“If the Canadian border opens up this coming year I plan on finishing a big camping trip that I started with my folks in 2019. They were in their camper, and I was in my Tacoma with the rooftop tent. We want to complete the adventure by visiting Waterton National Park in Canada and then stopping by Banff before heading home. That is, if the border is open, fingers crossed.”
Even if he doesn’t make it out to Canada, Nate will always have the hardware store.
“Life is busy and a lot of it is spent just keeping your day-to-day going. Even if nothing grandiose happens next year, I've got plenty to smile about.”
Michele Dallorso: Building Against the Odds
A talented illustrator, Michele Dallorso (@micheledallorso) is a cartoonist-for-hire based in Parma, Italy. He’s drawn vehicle portraits for off-roaders around the world. (Message him to commission a portrait for yourself or a friend!) To our New Year’s question, Michele responded:
“Back at building my '64 Rover to finally hit the trails again. 🤞✌”
Living in Northern Italy, where Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Ducati vehicles reign supreme, Michele is never far from an inspiring vehicle to sketch. But, curiously, sleek Italian sports cars aren’t his thing. For pay and for fun, he prefers to draw off-road capable vehicles.
He blames his day job for the obsession. After attending the School of Comics in Milan, on top of being a freelance cartoonist, Michele landed a job with a company that trades parts for Land Rovers and other British vehicles.
“I got the 4x4 bug. Not long after working there, I got a Defender of my own. Then things snowballed. I got another. And another. The car I mentioned in my comment is a 1964 CRC ex-military model that — after three years of work during nights and weekends in my spare time — I’m proud to have gotten back on the road with my own two hands.”
That 1964 ex-military Defender is at the center of an unfortunate story in Michele’s year. After driving it stock for a few years, he began to feel the limits of the vehicle and decided to make some modifications to expand the vehicle’s capabilities. To speed this along, he paid a friend to get the work started in his garage.
Months went by, and he didn’t hear from the guy. Finally, he went over to the place, only to find his Defender with a few parts taken off, but none of the mods he requested had been made. He brought the car home, and took matters into his own hands.
“I was pissed off. But I got it home, and slowly figured out how to make those modifications on my own. The project is still not done, but it’s underway. The whole thing taught me not to take this sort of shortcut. Also: trust no one.”
Michele stores and works on his vehicles in an old stable-turned-garage on his property in the countryside. As picturesque as that sounds, it’s also a source of frustration for Michele. The stable was never wired for electricity. He hopes to get the place wired one day, but for now, he relies on battery-operated tools and candlelight to do his work.
“When it’s minus four outside, it’s minus three in the garage. So, my time is limited. But I’m making it work. This year, I found a way to weld out there. I definitely spent more time under my trucks than in them in 2021. Next year, I hope to change that.”
In 2022, what are you building for?
With his vehicles almost fully built out, in 2022, Michele hopes to spend more time out in the world using them. And he has no shortage of places nearby to go. He’s lucky to live far from the cities, in a part of Italy with many miles of unpaved roads and long-forgotten trails to revive and explore.
“My plan is to get out in my trucks more, clear my old favorite trails, and also go out and find new ones. There are lots of older trails out here which are abandoned. I’d like to clean them up and create a network of them, one after another. The goal is to be able to stay out in the wilderness offroading for a whole weekend without ever touching tarmac.”
A vision we understand to our core.
Nate Navarro: Building for the Family
A former Army officer who now works in sales, Nate Navarro (@texas_cruiser) always had a thing for vintage 4x4 vehicles. His plan was to get one to fix up when he retired, but a few years ago, his wife encouraged him to live in the now. So they bought their first International Scout, and it wasn’t their last. To our New Year’s question, Nate responded:
“1967 IH Scout 800 aka Mr. Feeny 🙌🏽!!”
This year was huge for Nate. In September, he and his wife had their first child. Their Scout Mr. Feeny was the backdrop for the baby shower, too. They took family photos around him and handed out air fresheners as party favors. Even the invitations were shaped like little blue trucks.
“Personally, it was a great year. We had our first child, a baby girl named Audrina. She’s my first, so it’s been a pretty big deal. It's just been my wife and I for the last 14 years. So, to have a third person is exciting and also scary at the same time.
Another highlight of the year was when Nate got invited to attend Overland Expo in Loveland, Colorado. He and his uncle drove 16 hours together, overlanding along the way.
“It was a very fun trip. We got to see parts of West Texas, the panhandle, Arizona, and New Mexico on the way up. We tried to make the best of the quick stops that we took. But mostly, I was just really excited to see some parts of the country where I hadn’t been before.”
Nate is the proud owner of a 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser named Topanga, a 1967 IH Scout 800 named Mr. Feeny, and a 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser named Heidi. Two of those names come from Nate’s earliest crush — the sharp-tongued Topanga from Boy Meets World.) Mr. Feeny is a wise teacher character on the show.
“We've always named our cars to give them some character and personality. When we got a second car, it was an older model, so we went with Mr. Feeny. That car is almost 55 years old and is still living, breathing, and driving. I love that. I feel like the work I put into my cars is me paying homage to the past. True to his teacher-inspired name, he’s taught me a lot. Mostly: patience.”
All of Nate’s builds are running BFGoodrich tires. In fact, he is a self-proclaimed BFGoodrich Tires superfan.
“I love the aesthetics of BFGoodrich tires. The sidewall and the way they look on the vehicle. And then at the same time, I love the fact that they're very durable, almost indestructible.”
In 2022, what are you building for?
Especially since his daughter’s birth, Mr. Feeny, the 1967 IH Scout 800, has become the central iconic vehicle for some of their most important family moments. They’ve decided, it’s the vehicle that they never want to sell.
“We've already integrated the truck into big family milestones. For my daughter's first Halloween, we dressed her up as Wonder Woman, backed out Mr. Feeny in the driveway and sat in the truck bed with a bucket of candy for the neighbors. In 2022, I want to continue that trend, hopefully getting the truck into overlanding shape for shorter family camping trips.”
Who knows, maybe Mr. Feeny will still be running when the time comes for baby Audrina to learn to drive.
Adam Rydström: Building for the Next Chapter
Based in Öland, an island off the coast of Sweden, Adam Rydström (@ghosthack / @next_chapter_garage) is an IT professional with a passion for cars, specifically pickup trucks. For now it’s a hobby, but he dreams of one day turning his passion into a full-time business. To our New Year’s question, Adam responded:
“2021 is the year of my first-gen D21 V8 converted 4x4 to be road ready again (the only road legal conversion in the Nordic EU). If time found, then a moderate renovation of my second gen 4 door D21 4x4.”
The 4x4 conversion didn’t quite happen in 2021. Adam got distracted by his other Nissan pickup, which had engine issues this year that he needed to address first. The second-gen D21 4x4 renovation, however, is underway.
“Nature is winning up here, unfortunately. Sometimes, you need to switch up your priorities. My other truck needed the TLC more. I’ve got it running smoothly now. I have more plans for it next year, too”
On top of teaching himself a lot of new welding skills this year, from the foundation up, Adam built a beautiful wood cabin-style garage for his trucks and metal shop, tracking his progress via posts on Instagram. He’d never built a garage before, but he figured it out as he went.
“It’s fun to do things that you’ve never done before because it opens up new perspectives. I learn a lot by doing. I just get started and figure it out. With the garage, the hardest part was definitely the foundation. That took much more work and time than I anticipated. But, now I know how to build a foundation.”
Adam owns four cars, three of which are 4x4s. His Toyota is the daily driver. And the three Nissans are more for fun and tinkering with — something he did a lot of in 2021.
“This year, I am the most proud of the work I did to replace the badly rotted-out rocker panels on my four-door Nissan truck. I changed them over to a thicker steel construction, so they can take more impact if I hit something. It turned out really well. They totally blend in and look just like the originals, but now they’re more heavy duty.”
Sometimes, a job well done is the one you can’t tell is there. Due to travel restrictions and the pandemic, Adam wasn’t able to take his vehicles on any long trips last year, but he has plans to travel more around Sweden as soon as he’s able. He knows he’s running the right tires to do so.
“My 4x4 vehicles all run the latest version of the BFGoodrich KO2 tires. They have really impressed me, especially in winter. Usually off-roading tires become compromised in the cold, but these are real winter tires.
In 2022, what are you building for?
Next year, Adam plans to take another crack at the V8 conversion on his Nissan D21 truck, hoping to have it running again by the end of the year.
“I have plans for a completely new front suspension on the D21 as well. My dream is to build it out to be like a mix between a Baja racer and a rock crawler. That’s what I see in my head anyway. Hopefully, I land somewhere close.”
Adam has a whole list of dream projects he plans to tackle, especially as he works toward retiring from his IT job and moving into his new garage to tinker full-time. One longer-term dream is to take part in the Sweden Off-Road Tour — a group off-roading event that stretches from the southernmost point of Sweden to the northernmost point.
Farther up on the list, Adam plans to learn much more about welding. He’s already been experimenting with making art from scrap metal, and plans to continue that work.