SUV s are a great thing, but sometimes you just need more. That’s where this comes in. It started life as a 2000 Ford Excursion and was transformed into the colossal beast you see here by a company called JD3 out of Tucson , Arizona. Affectionately nicknamed Rockzilla, this goliath is powered by a stock 6.8-liter V-10 backed by a stock transmission, transfer case, and axles directly off the donor Excursion. There are plenty of aftermarket parts, however, like the 54-inch Michelin tires and hand-welded exoskeleton.
This isn’t just a one-off vehicle though. JD3 has built more than 75 Rockzillas, all custom ordered to the buyer’s desires. Don’t want to wait four months to have yours built? Luckily, this one currently up for auction on Ebay. For a cool $72,000, this particular Rockzilla is ready to roll over nearly any obstacle in its path.
Click past the jump for the full run-down
Nothing about the exterior resembles the Ford Excursion hidden underneath. A new exoskeleton of steel protects the engine, occupants, and vital parts at the rear. Looking more like a bulldozer, the Rockzilla’s angled roof is supported by several beams.
The Michelin radial tires are military spec and stand 54 inches tall.
Though this particular example is a two-seater with an open cab, JD3 can build four-door examples and even add armor plating for light arms fire. Four LED off-road lights act as the main headlights while two taillights serve out back.
The tires are quite literally a massive part of what makes the Rockzilla so large. The Michelin radial tires are military spec and stand 54 inches tall. That’s 4.5 feet! They are wrapped around steel wheels with double internal beadlocks for low-pressure driving. Even with zero psi, the tires’ sidewalls are stiff enough to carry the Rockzilla back home. After all, a roadside tire swap gets difficult when the tires likely weigh more than you.
You won’t find a recovery winch on the Rockzilla. That’s because JD3 owner Jeremy Dixon says you’ll never need one. “We’ll install a winch for a customer if they want, but I tell them they’ll never need it,” he says. “We have a policy that if a customer calls us saying they go stuck bad enough to need a winch, we’ll install one for free.”
Ford’s stock electronic transfer case shifter is still present.
Inside the Rockzilla is a fairly spartan interior. The creature comforts begins and ends with the two leather seats with folding arm rests. Otherwise, the interior is a place of business. The Excursion dash is long gone, replaced with a basic steel unit that houses a steering wheel and a B&M ratchet shifter. Ford’s stock electronic transfer case shifter is still present.
There is a trunk towards the vehicle’s rear. It’s roughly three feet wide, two feet long, and one foot deep – just large enough for extra supplies like recovery gear (for getting the other guy out) or a few days’ worth of camping gear.
Powering this particular Rockzilla is a stock 6.8-liter V-10 making 310 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque.
Powering this particular Rockzilla is a stock 6.8-liter V-10 making 310 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a 4R100 four-speed automatic transmission and has the stock electronic-shifting transfer case. Stock Excursion differentials and axles are also present. Although most of the drivetrain is completely stock, the parts are basically from a one-ton truck, so breaking things isn’t a big concern. However, should something go wrong, replacement parts and quick service are as close as the nearest Ford dealership. There’s a lot to be said for that. “None of our customers have ever broken an axle or major running gear parts,” Dixon says. “A lot of it has to do with the transmission,” he continues. “Automatics are a lot easier on ring and pinions and axle shafts than manual transmissions. Popping the clutch at high rpms isn’t a problem with the four speed.”
Rockzilla does come with an updated suspension system.
Unlike the Excursion, the Rockzilla’s radiator and fan are mounted behind the cabin, keeping the passengers from getting hot blasts of air from hitting them. The 44-gallon fuel tank is also located in the same spot. While this example is gas, JD3 has built plenty of diesel-powered units. It all depends on what’s under the hood of your donor Excursion.
Rockzilla does come with an updated suspension system. It features new shocks and springs that allow for greater wheel travel and flex off road. It still has roughly six to eight inches of vertical travel in the axle, like the Excursion. Also in keeping the center of gravity low, the vehicle is not have a suspension lift. All the extra height seen under the frame rails come courtesy of the massive tires. An extra tall break-over angle is also achieved thanks to a little slice and dice in the center of the stock frame rails.
Pricing for this particular Rockzilla starts at $72,000. That does not include the cost of the donor Ford excursion, which in most cases, runs between $6,000 to $20,000. Of course pricing goes up and down according to what options and equipment you have JD3 build into your rig.
If you’re looking for an all-out off-roader with the attitude of the Terminator, then look no further; not that really anything out there competes with this beast. With the reliability that comes with unmodified driveline parts and the ability to have service done at any Ford dealership, the Rockzilla makes a solid case for itself. It’s also hard to argue with 54-inch tires and ground clearance numbers measured in feet. Go anywhere, do anything, and have fun doing it. If you’ve got an extra $72,000 laying around and feel like buying this, head over to Ebay for the auction details. There’s only a few days left, so you’d better jump on it.
Or perhaps you’ve got an old Excursion laying around. In that case, talk to Jeremy Dixon at JD3.com about transforming it into a Rockzilla. Surely regrets aren’t found anywhere near this thing.
- You drive a Hummer? That’s cute
- Stock Ford parts are easily replaced
- Can be custom built
- Everyone wants to be your friend
- Fuel economy? Yeah, not standard equipment
- Good craftsmanship comes at a price
- Everyone wants to be your friend