Moab, Utah, is home to the annual Red Rock 4-Wheelers Easter Jeep Safari. This year brought out another great selection of Jeeps from across the nation. With so many awesome Jeeps it was hard to decide which ones to cover here, so we elected to go straight to the source and show you the finest Jeeps from the design, engineering, and aftermarket studios of the Jeep division of Chrysler, and one special vehicle from AEV.
Lots of people will tell you Chrysler is on the ropes in this troubled economy, but the automaker keeps pumping out one of the most--if not the most--capable off-road vehicle in the world. It's because of the passion for off-road performance and the fun that the people working for Jeep hold dear that we feel that the Jeep brand is stronger than ever. Jeep will always be iconic as long as the nameplate isn't watered down from its tough off-road ability. Like all of you, Jeep and Mopar are enthusiastic about modifying their Jeeps. Here are just a few of the cool rigs they had at Moab EJS 2009.
The Mopar guys offer gobs of great parts for Jeeps and Dodge trucks, but don't think that you have to own an '07-or-newer vehicle to play with their toys. This rust-free '78 Cherokee Chief has been modified the same way any of us would, with coil spring suspension, different axles, and a healthy new fuel-injected V-8. The difference is it was done with parts straight from the Mopar catalog. Built by a crack (or crackpot) crew of current and retired Jeep engineers on their own time, this fullsize Jeep is affectionately referred to as the Short Bus for its vibrant yellow tint and the fact that it brought everyone together and still hauls butt.
Cherokee Chiefs always had some sort of design running down the side of the body. This upd
The suspension and axles are from a Jeep Wrangler JK, in the form of a 4 1/2-inch-long arm
The Lower40 concept is what happens when the design guys at Jeep see what we 4x4 fanatics are doing with our 4x4s. As you may know, we've been stuffing larger and larger tires under our rigs every year, but also trying to keep the center of gravity down low for better on- and off-road performance and stability. So what if you could wedge massive 40-inch tires under a Jeep JK Wrangler with no lift at all? That's exactly what they did. With a fair bit of body, frame, and drivetrain massaging, this big little two-door is somewhere between a hot-wheels and a go-kart. In fact, the roofline of the Lower40 is actually shorter than a stock Jeep JK's even though it is sitting on 40-inch tires.
Under the custom hood and front fender combo is a 6.1L Hemi V-8 installed by Burnsville Of
The Lower40 has a plethora of neat little details, such as a lowered windshield frame, a r
40-inch tires, no lift, lots of body modification, and a Red Eye No. 3 custom paint job al
Ever hear the rumor of an old military jeep found in a crate? Well, here is the next best thing, a real military jeep* kit car. Commonly referred to as a component chassis, these new J8MilSpec vehicles are being offered by American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) as a VIN-less rolling chassis and tub to which you can add the engine and transmission of your choice.
The J8MilSpec uses a heavier-duty chassis and tub than a Jeep Wrangler JK and comes with a coil-spring front Dana 44 and a leaf-spring rear Dana 60, making it a great basis for building your next extreme wheeling machine. The kits are available in long-wheelbase three- or five-door configurations and come ready for a Hemi V-8 or diesel engine to be dropped in.
For more information, drop by our website (4wheeloffroad.com) and search for "J8," or visit AEV directly at www.aev-conversions.com (406.251.2100).
*Lowercase jeep refers to the precivilian small, durable, open-topped motor vehicle with four-wheel drive and 1/4-ton capacity used by the military. Capitalized Jeep refers to the vehicle trademarked by Chrysler Jeep Corporation. The J8MilSpec is not a Chrysler Jeep vehicle.
The J8MilSpec is a build-it-yourself kit car that comes with everything but an engine and transmission. They use a heavy-duty frame and are nearly identical to the Jeep J8s used by the Egyptian military. Independent AEV dealers will be able to supply either a Hemi V-8 or a VM 2.8L diesel engine and, if you desire, install it in your J8MilSpec. Your state and local laws will determine what steps and engines are legal for swapping in, and how to make the component chassis into a legal street vehicle.
From the minute we first laid eyes on the four-door JK Wrangler, we pictured it crossing the African desert kitted out safari-style. Apparently we weren't the only ones thinking that way. This Overland Wrangler fits perfectly in that khaki-shirt-and-pith-helmet, explore-the-wilds lifestyle that so many folks dream of (OK, maybe not the pith helmet part) and is built to take two people plus gear on an extended camping trip just about anywhere.
The rear seats have been removed, and a large utility floor coated in rubber has been buil
The '09 JK Unlimited has been built to optimize travel and cargo as a dedicated outback travel machine. And ARB rooftop tent was fitted up top, and a nimble Mopar 2 1/2-inch suspension was added along with Mopar 17-inch steel wheels wrapped in 35-inch tires and the new AEV rear bumper with integrated auxiliary water tanks. An AEV snorkel gives it that outback look and keeps the V-6 breathing in thick dust or deep water, while Daystar off-road lights help whether you're setting up camp or cruising for water buffalo.