For Love of Country, Family and Diesel
By Kevin Wilson
Photography: Kevin Wilson
The Few. The Proud. The Marines. We’ve all heard the recruiting slogans and have seen the commercials, but how many of us actually know a marine? They come from all across the country and in civilian life, they were just the kid who grew up next door. Chances are you’ve run into a marine in your travels. Tack-sharp uniform; spit-shined shoes; waiting at the airport to get on a plane to who knows where. Makes you wonder, “Are they flying home to loved ones or heading into harm’s way?” Many of us make it a point to shake that soldier’s hand and thank him for his service, or buy him a cup of coffee or breakfast anonymously.
What most people don’t realize is that behind that uniform, there may be an average American with many of the same hobbies we all enjoy, too. A good case in point is Capt. Troy Anstine of Ruther Glen, Virginia. We ran into Troy at the ATS Diesels on the Mountain event last year outside of Denver. Ironically, he was just passing through, walking the event when we spotted his clean ’98 Dodge dually. Turns out, he had his parents with him and was headed up to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the big Harley event. His trailer and a pair of Harleys were parked back at the hotel. As it turns out, he was wrapping up a tour of duty at Quantico, Virginia, and was headed to Iraq for his next deployment.
Troy has always been a diesel guy, and when he bought his white dually, brand new, in 1997, he knew it wouldn’t stay stock for long. But being a career military man, the transformation took a little longer than it does for most of us…about 10 years. While there aren’t a whole lot of mods on this Dodge, it’s a 135,000-mile daily driver that has been personalized to the owner’s tastes and needs. The end result of Troy’s efforts is the truck of his dreams that’s functional, makes plenty of power, and gets decent fuel economy for a truck its size.
Visually, the big Dodge rides at stock height, which is just enough clearance for the huge 22-inch MFT wheels, which are actually cut-down, 22.5-inch, 2008 Peterbilt Millenium rollers. The big wheels are wrapped with LT285/50R22 Nitto Terra Grapplers. The wheels also feature the Ben Hur-style pointed lug nuts for added visual effect.
Under the hood is the original 12-valve Cummins, which looks as good as it did the day it left the showroom floor. An ATS intake manifold and intercooler plumbing help with breathing, as does the Spectre air filter mounted directly to the turbo, while a 4-inch Aero stainless steel exhaust improves exhaust flow, exiting at the rear through a Gibson Tri-Oval tip. Some minor tweaking to the injection pump provides addition fuel and improves both power and drivability. Behind the Cummins is the stock five-speed transmission, which features a polished billet shifter inside the cab.
The rest of the upgrades on the Dodge are mainly for comfort and style. A Putco billet grille is fitted up front, while a set of polished J&J Enterprises running boards run the full length of the truck on either side. Complementing the running boards are Putco chrome door handles, Recon cab clearance and side marker lights, chrome fender trim and aftermarket taillights. On the inside, a Nuimage flamed gauge overlay sets off the dash while Infinity speakers throughout make the stock sound system sound a whole lot better.
The truck is exactly what you’d expect from a Marine, clean, function, tough and reliable. Best of all, Troy will have something fun to come home to which can provide hours of well-deserved R&R. Semper Fi.