Everything Cary Baker does, he does big. Five minutes on the phone with the guy and you can tell that he never has half-assed anything in his life. I also get the distinct impression that whatever he sets his mind to tends to happen.
He’s a car guy down to his core, and not just muscle cars and trucks. He has owned a collection of Porsches including a 944 Turbo which he drove all over Germany, a 1974 911 Targa and a black 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S.
Partnering with Dave Cleveland of Cleveland Design out of Saint John, New Brunswick to create a very special vehicle to promote his latest venture was a natural fit.
Dave and Cary have been working together on another project (a 68 Camaro) currently in the shop, but for Cleveland Design this new project was a bit different from the traditional pro-touring builds they specialize in.
But when you’re a car guy and your team is full of other car guys, it doesn’t really matter what you’re building. As long as it has wheels and it’s a cool project, it will have a home at Cleveland Design.
The Iron Sights truck certainly qualifies as a cool project.
A second passion
Cary joined the Canadian Army when he was 16 years old way back in 1984. After graduating with a civil engineering degree, he worked until 2000 as a combat engineer before joining the Canadian Special Operations Unit.
His career included stops in Bosnia and Africa as well as five tours in Afghanistan. Along with cars, Cary has been passionate about guns since he was 12.
“The army spent a ton of money teaching me how to shoot, and honestly I didn’t really have any other idea about what to do with my life”.
In 2009, he decided that he had spent enough time away from his family and retired. As faith would have it, however, he was offered a job as a civilian instructor at the NATO Special Operations Headquarters in Belgium. So much for being closer to the family.
“I found myself being away from home even more. The pay was better but the whole idea behind leaving the army was to spend more time at home. It wasn’t happening”, Cary told me over the phone.
Motivated by an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to no longer have to travel after his 50th birthday, he decided to focus on an idea that’s always been in the back of his mind. Instead of bringing his firearms expertise to others, they would come to him. He would also position Atlantic Canada as a premier destination for arms training.
Unable to get a loan because the banks had nothing to compare his business plan to, Cary financed the entire business with his own money.
There’s really no other facility like Iron Sights in the Maritimes. Featuring thousands of square feet of training space, Iron Sights includes a MILO Pro Range shooting simulation, static and dynamic range training with enough space for small vehicle integration, and even a pro-shop.
Although a wide range of government units such as the Secret Service and the FBI use Iron Sights for training, the facility is open to the public. That’s where the truck comes in.
Like the company that’s logo is emblazoned on the door, the Iron Sights truck is unique. There’s really nothing else like it, in Atlantic Canada or elsewhere. The people working on it know their stuff, and they know it’s purpose.
Although Cary already owns a customized 1990 AM General M998 Humvee that he uses for promotional purposes, the inspiration for the Iron Sights came from his lifted Toyota Tacoma that he’s been driving for 10 years.
“It looks like extreme off-road vehicle with a lift kit and big-ass tires”, he says of the Tacoma.
A SEMA truck
The truck has continued to attract a lot of attention over the years, more so even than the Hummer. He therefore wanted to go bigger and bolder.
The heart of the Iron Sights truck is a Chevrolet Silverado. As you can see in the images, the end result is more than a stone’s throw away from the original truck. It’s in a completely different realm. As Cary puts it “It’s a SEMA truck”.
For David Cleveland of Cleveland Design, the project may not have been what they were traditionally accustomed to, but they jumped at the opportunity to turn Cary’s vision of a rolling billboard for his new venture into a reality.
“We had previously met to discuss his Camaro project, and then in April he reached out and told us about Iron Sights and the project he had in mind for his truck. He wanted something he could drive everywhere and sleep in, and then he told us to go wild with it”, says David Cleveland of Cleveland Design.
A custom Magnaflow performance exhaust system gives it an unmistakable signature coming down the road. A 6.5-inch lift kit and high-end BDS off-road suspension system ensures a presence like no other on the road while the front-end was cut out and replaced with a custom steel structure which was outsourced from the U.S. to go along with a modified rear bumper. The front also includes a 12,000-pound winch.
A military wrap covers the base white paint while the stock tires were replaced with 37-inch monsters. Cleveland Design then modified and reinforced the entire roof structure to fit a tire up there, a nod to Cary’s Humvee. The tent was then added as the cherry on top.
In the end, the Iron Sights truck gives off a no-compromise attitude that is shared by its owner, the company it represents and the company that built the truck.
If you’re in the Fredericton region from September 14th to 16th, check out the Iron Sights truck at the Atlantic Canada’s Hunting and Fishing show.
For Cary Baker and Iron Sights, the truck is the culmination of a heck of a lot of hard work that led to the creation of a truly unique service in Atlantic Canada. For Cleveland Design, this truck is a calling card to anyone in the Maritimes or anywhere else in Canada that is looking for a shop to bring their automotive dream to life, regardless of the desired end result.
“This truck may not be a bread-and-butter project, but we had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully we’ll soon get another out-of-the-box vehicle that we can bring to life”.