History of the Zebaru


New member
Well, since we have a new forum and everything, I guess I should go ahead and re-introduce myself.

My name is Travis, and I am a civil engineer working in South Reno. I'm all about the research, and I don't do any local work or design work, so don't worry... I grew up in Southwest Washington, got a couple of degrees from the University of Washington, and moved down to Reno in 2000 for my job.

My first 4x4 was an 84 Subaru GL wagon. I zebra striped it, built a front brush guard, taillight guards, a roof rack, and ran (huge!)195/75r14's on Peugeot rims. This car is the genesis of the name Zebaru - Zebra + Subaru = Zebaru. The avatar pic is the only one I have left of the beast, and it was taken right after the paint job, but before the other stuff.

The car eventually died for a number of reasons, and I moved on to an 82 GL wagon, which inherited everything except the paint job. I got a weber carb, ran it hard for a couple of years, and basically killed it desert running. There were so many rust holes that I had to keep the windows down or the dust in the cab would get so bad I couldn't see out. I still miss the high(er) speed handling of the low, all independent suspension rig when I am running gravel roads. I don't miss the lack of power, clearance, and flex. I still have it, but am not sure what will become of it.

The rig I run out on the trails is an 88 XJ on 31's. D44/D30, 4.56, Tru-trac front, zexel-torsen? rear (like a tru-trac), OME ~2" lift with 1" spacer/MJ shackles - sits at 3" maybe. Cut front and rear quarters, homebrew bumpers/rock rails/roof rack/rear diff guard/x-member/disconnects. JKS trackbar, RE superflex lowers & adjustable uppers. I don't have any good pictures of this doing anything other than sitting still. There will be more pictures of my modifications later I hope, but this one will give you a basic idea:

I have a few other cars as well, and they honestly get more of my atttention than the Jeep ever does. I have:
95 Firebird convertible - summer car
91 Subaru Justy - winter car
99 Kia Sephia - commute car
65 Ford F100 - everyone needs a truck
59 Ford Custom 300 Business Coupe - My dad gave this one to me when I was 16, and I have been wasting money on it since.
55 Buick Special 4dr hardtop - in pieces, still waiting its turn

I figure I can sneak some pictures of them in here to, even though they aren't 4x4.

My 1959 Ford. The only picture I have online right now is of the engine. Basically stock 292 y-block with headers and 3 holley 94s on an Edelbrock intake. Howe aluminum radiator, Brake master/booster/prop valve from some year Cad (upgrade to run the 4 wheel discs), GM alternator. The air filters are little K&N's meant for some sort of snowmobile or something, but I had almost no clearance, and that was all I could find that fit. She's been at HAN and various local shows, but isn't much of a show car really. I did it all myself, so the paint, interior, etc. leave some to be desired. I am in the process of suicide doors, shaved handles, power windows, remote control for the windows/doors, etc. Next year (hopefully) it gets a T-5 or AOD to replace the 2-speed auto it has now, and air suspension is on the long term list.

My truck. Nothing special. mild 390, T-18, 3.10's, I-beams from a 79 (front discs), mid 80's F-250 master/booster. The torque of the big block is sweet. I dropped to 3.10 from 3.50 to drop my highway rpms, and haven't noticed a difference in acceleration. Faster than it looks, and definitely faster than I am comfortable going in a 40 year old truck. I had this at HAN last year, and it didn't look that out of place - not bad for a $200 truck. Probably the only rig there that took a load of trash to the dump the day after the show.


All but the old Subaru and Buick are licensed and insured. Insuring six cars sucks...
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New member
Who knows... They were on the FTP site, but maybe that has gone away? I can dig them up, and put them in the gallery if anyone is still interested.

I have some much better pics of the '59 from HAN last year...