From the July/August 2012 issue of ATV Rider Magazine.
Forget doomsday predictions, the year 2012 will be remembered for one thing: The year that ATV enthusiasts like you and me were treated to an incredible pile of new and updated machines. All the manufacturers upped the ante with more powerful machines in more trims than ever this year, including Can-Am with its impressive Outlander 1000 XT. This machine has power for days (and days…and weeks), which makes it the perfect machine for a sloppy mud-slinging enthusiast. While Can-Am has got its ATV engineering down to a science, and some may even say an art form, the brand has made a dedicated legion of fans. One of those die-hard loyalists is Mark Wise from Lacombe, Louisiana. And when this can-do Can-Am devotee looks at the 2012 Outlander 1000 XT, he sees an artistic opportunity. Thusly, the Rust Bucket was born.
Mark’s “rust bucket” theme evolved from a cockamamie idea that he could build a complete and custom ATV out of the parts buckets in his shop. It seemed he had enough random parts and pieces in the old rusty buckets that were stacked in his workshop to completely construct a custom, one-of-a-kind, metric-and-standard, mismatched-nuts-and-bolts machine. When Can-Am released its 2012 Outlander 1000 XT, Mark saw an opportunity to bring his rusty vision to reality.
Staring at a fresh, shiny, not-rusty 2012 Can-Am Outlander 1000 XT, the mud racer in Mark came alive. Mark’s Outlander 1000 XT was actually the first one through the doors at St. Tammany Marine Can-Am dealership since being released. As it left the parking lot in Mark’s truck bed, it was the last time the XT would be seen in full factory trim. A freight train of helpers were enlisted to relay the Outlander from Louisiana to Albany, Georgia, where the machine began its metamorphosis. Hydroshock Grafix owner Toni Starnes would be the artist in charge of bringing Mark’s aesthetic vision to life. “Everything I could put into words for my Rust Bucket theme, Toni put into art,” Mark claims. “It was really amazing how Toni could read into my thoughts so precisely,” he added. The process included hydro-graphically covering the complete plastics, then the custom airbrushing began. The airbrush work not only covered the plastics but it also ran down the suspension lift, which Gorilla Axle built for the machine.
Gorilla Axle, from Monroe, Louisiana, is one of the first companies serious mudders contact when building a machine. Gorilla Axle had been developing a +10-inch lift with a massive set of Gorilla Silverback tires mounted on STI HD chrome rims. It was also a no-brainer that a set of beefier Gorilla axles would be used to twist the combination. With meaty tires, big lift and serious axles, this machine was destined to live with just a little bit of suspension travel, so Mark looked to Fox Float Air shocks to keep the ride of the Rust Bucket in check. (Just because it’s called a Rust Bucket doesn’t mean it has to ride like one!) When the lift had been finished at Gorilla Axle, the bare metal was sent out to Atlas Powder Coating to be colored for Hydroshock Grafix’s final touch.
Now, you and I know that the massive Rotax powerplant in the Outlander 1000 XT is more than ample. So you would think there would be no need for power adders, right? Well, in the world of serious mud riding there is no such thing as enough power…or even too much power. A completely stock engine wasn’t going to cut it for Mark’s vision, so he hit up After Midnight Racing in Wooster, Ohio, for the Big Boy Kit. This 1,108cc engine kit would surely wake the up the already-angry monster and clip any doubts of dominance in the mud corral. AMR XX cams complemented the kit, and when you add the Nitrous Express “moonshine jug” rocket ship in a bottle to the mix, whoever is piloting this machine will have to hang on to the Flexx Bars just a bit tighter. ODI grips made sure the addition of custom Rust Bucket–etched Rogue 120mm bolt-on grips would be easy to hold on to, even in the slippery mud. Wringing the last little bit of power out of the engine was the single-can Looney Tuned exhaust; this throaty, polished piece not only adds performance but also looks great.
Is that all? Of course not. It seems when you build awesome power you have to be able to get that power to the ground. Hidden underneath the clutch cover was CVT “special” clutching from an STM Rage 6 full-billet primary and secondary. This combo would not waste any power from the cylinder to the patch of tire that touches the ground. And to make all that awesome power, getting the fueling correct to this giant engine is crucial. This part was handled delicately by the Dynojet Power Commander V and the AutoTune device. Installing the fueling brain was easy, but letting the pros at Bitmore Performance do it was indeed a wise choice, as it does need to be set up properly.
Once the power was dialed, Outlander lifted and the tires inflated, getting up onto the massive Rust Bucket was indeed a thrilling climb. We didn’t bring a harness or carabiners, but before we scaled and sat down on the beast, we noticed it had a custom seat embossed with the ATV’s theme. CS Custom Seats had created this marvelous seat arrangement that left us speechless—the sewing magic ran down the sides of the seat…literally. With rust cracks and drips, as well as the RB logo and Gorilla Axle face, the seat was stunning. The laced-up back sections are just for looks, but CS Custom Seats assured Mark that this is a rider’s seat and not to be scared to use it as that! This saddle is definitely a great testament to CS Custom’s artistry.
As you look over the Rust Bucket, your eyes settle on a symphony of amazing custom bits, but sometimes it’s what you can’t see that gets your mind racing. From the outside to the depths of the engine, the Rust Bucket is truly a vision. The stunning work performed by all involved is just mesmerizing, and to think this machine was just an idea that had not been laid to paper but drawn out by some ESP and awesome artistic talent. We’d like to think that if da Vinci were around today, he’d be impressed with this work of art.
Mark would like to thank: St. Tammany Marine, CMR and Clay Wylie, Jay Arnold, Steve Hittle, Hydroshock Grafix, Gorilla Axle, Nitrous Express, Maximum Billet, Supreme Tool, ODI Grips, Mike Diagrepont, Casey Anthony, JD who owns Deep South Fabs, Chris Swinford with CS Custom and ATV Rider magazine.
“More important than anything, if at all possible, I would like to thank my wife for putting up with me working in the shop three to four and sometimes five nights in a week from 8 until 12 or 1 in the morning. I can’t tell you how many times I came into the house and she was passed out on the couch leaning toward the side I would normally sit on. I love that woman with all my heart.” ATVR