Friday, April 4, 2014


I've heard the stories of old men driving their land yacht Cadillacs into the field, giving the shocks all they could handle, and when they stopped in a cloud of dust and grass, one would open the trunk and let the dogs out. Evolution was inevitable.

Eventually someone had the idea of doing a little cutting and welding to a car to make it easier to get in and out of and added a few places to put the guns so you wouldn't have to carry them in your lap.  Then someone else figured the work force could use a nicer place to ride and the dog box was born.  Soon there wasn't enough room on a car, or there wasn't enough power under the hood, and the whole setup migrated to a truck body giving birth to the modern day quail rig.

I've seen some of the tamer versions in person and even ridden on a handful and my reactions have ranged from "bet that ain't cheap" to "you gotta be kidding me". They're a sight to see and a feast for the engineer's and tinkerer's mind. Just when you think you've seen it all, however, along comes one that resets the standard.

Native Texan photographer Lokey compiled upwards of 120 of these rigs in a new book slated for release later this month.  Texas Quail Rigs is the result of three years traveling the state shooting pictures where owners and ranch managers shoot birds, and some of these give new meaning to the sky's the limit.

When I spoke with Lokey he said the idea came from a conversation where someone suggested he do a book about quail hunting. "I said no, that's been done before. Then they asked if anyone had done a book about the rigs and I knew we were onto something." Considering the current state of affairs of the bobwhite he adds, "It's social anthropology on many levels."

One of the fabricators manufactures 80-90 rigs a year, far more than I would have guessed the market could stand. Of course, a market where a high-end rig can run as much as $250,000 isn't entirely reflective of the broader economy.

These rides are truly limited only by imagination and, in a few rare cases, by wallets...

AM General texas quail rig

Pure military meat. Built for the full-on assault of birds, a campaign waged in the field without sacrificing comfort, and ready if the North Koreans invade.

Vintage GMC 1500 before we got too carried away. I kinda like this one. You can almost hear a few old boys saying, "What if we put a seat up there and cut a hole here to walk through?"

Pinzgauer Texas quail rig

Euro-rig. I don't imagine it had any trouble getting to the top of the hill. Love the hatch in the roof.

13 seat Texas quail rig

This looks like a stretch frame job but it's actually an F350 Super Crew long bed conversion. Seats about 13 and you can drive it from the back end. Of course at full capacity you only get your turn every 6th covey.

VW Micro Bus Texas quail rig

You can do just about anything in a micro bus. Or to it. MP3 player has 6000 hours of bootlegs loaded and ready for an afternoon..umm...session.

VW Thing Texas quail rig

This may be the highest and best use of a VW Thing. Bookends, too.

Jeep Texas quail rig

Didn't Mad Max drive one of these? Form definitely taking a backseat to function here. I really included this one because the Brittany looked so damn good striking a pose.

Rolls Royce quail rig

....and in the More Money Than (go ahead, fill it in) category. Yes, this truly is - or was - a 1982 Rolls Royce Silver Spur. Grey Poupon in the glovebox.

Some of the options you can't see in the photos? A built-in 400 lb milo tank for spreading feed as you hunt. An onboard smoker. A full bar with blender and margarita machine. How about a 4000 watt stereo? As Henry Chappell says in the intro, boys will be boys.

Yes, we've come a long way from the mule-drawn wagon. You can see more at


  1. My favorite has to be that converted pinzgauer (at least I think it's a pinz and not a unimog).

    1. It's a Pinzgauer. He has several in the book. They almost look like a Mars rover.