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#MTSEMA18 - Cool 4x4 Rigs From SEMA, Part 1

Posted in Events on November 5, 2018
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Photographers: Ken BrubakerAshley Hill

There are many kinds of show cars. Some are all show and no go. Others could go but are too expensive or too pretty to scratch and get dirty. And lastly, the best kind of show cars are those that are ready to be raced, crawled, rallied, and railed on. Here are eight off-road rigs we saw at SEMA 2018 that fit in to the latter category. At the very least they are well built enough to actually see some dirt; that is, if they haven’t already. Many are Jeeps just because there happened to be several Jeeps ready for the trail, race track, or other adventures, but trust us when we say we want to see more domestic fullsize rigs—Toyotas, Nissans, Isuzus (see Part 2 for that), or whatever!

To start off, we have this super-clean and well-constructed CJ-8 that was in the Rugged Ridge/Omix-ADA booth. Followed by our pal Eric Walton’s unique Alaskan Postal Scrambler. A rare and utilitarian CJ-8. Next, we got some more detailed shots of a super-clean MJ Comanche that is ready for darn near anything. Finally, a quick look at a cherry old 1946 CJ-2a formerly owned by Jeeping legend Mark A. Smith. For more details on the rigs check out the pics.

We like the orange paint, and the reference to the Dukes of Hazzard was not lost on us. Nice General!
The scrambler’s interior is well appointed—maybe a bit too fancy for heavy trail use, but to each his or her own!
A third row of seating and a well-built family rollcage means fun for the whole family.
Up front a Dana 30 is trussed and linked with coilovers from Fox. Also note the cage-to-frame tie-in. Nice!
Out back, the CJ-8 has links and coils and more Fox shocks holding a Currie Rock Jock 60 axle.
Method wheels, Toyo tires, and some Warn locking hub conversion round things out.
This 1984 Alaskan Postal Jeep belongs to a buddy of ours, Eric Walton. The Jeep is unique: one of 400 that were built and sold to the Alaskan postal service. Walton drove the Jeep out from his home in Michigan along with his Jeep camp trailer.
These workhorse Scramblers came from the factory with right-hand-drive and an automatic transmission. Also unique is the “world top” that was sprayed with a thick layer of spray foam insulation. Notice the tops of the doors; they’re square, unlike most other CJ-7 and CJ-8 hard doors. Eric Walton bought the Jeep in 2002 in Alaska and had quite the adventure driving it back to the Lower 48. It is powered by a 1997 XJ 4.0L and a AW4 bolted to a Dana 300 with a Grand Cherokee Dana 44 front axle and a Grand wagoneer AMC 20 rear.
We don’t know who built this MJ Comanche, and we are not fans of bedliner everywhere, but we’ll overlook that because the Jeep is well built with big tires and a great stance.
That dash is out of a late-model 1997-01 XJ, a nice detail.
Nice rollcage to protect the occupants.
Everyone needs (really, wants) a Dometic fridge in their bed.
A PowerTank for airing up and King shocks with towers piercing the bed.
40-inch Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ tires.
Warn Zeon winch, Rigid cubes, and a trussed ball-joint Dana 60 front axle.
We wish we knew more about the Outlaw, but it was apparently sold to Omix-ADA from Mark A. Smith’s personal collection. It has some period modifications and is a 1946 model Willys CJ-2a. That means it’s one of the first years a civilian model Jeep was produced.
This is how we know it is the Outlaw. Did Mark A. Smith himself paint that winking bull? Also note the rudimentary but functional rocker protection visible in this and the next pic.
We geek out looking for details that show that this and any other Jeep is what year it’s supposed to be. They all have little differences. It’s fun and a good way to learn about the variances between the year models, although most changes were more fluid than fixed back then. One period modification that the Outlaw has is dual fuel tanks. The toolbox was removed from under the passenger seat and a second fuel tank and filler were built to fit. A filler neck plate would then be robbed from another Jeep; this one is riveted in place on the body on the opposite side from the factory filler plate. This helps since 10 gallons generally runs out faster than 20.

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