Our motto, "purpose, form, and function," is one that guides us in every aspect of this hopefully tattered, well-read magazine you're glossing over the last page of. Matt Montuori of Madison, Connecticut, must have read our collective minds because he's built a Jeep XJ Cherokee that fits this motto in every sense.
Matt's Cherokee has a list of mods and add-ons that equal one vehicle capable of going deep into the woods, getting itself out of sticky situations, driving home, and cleaning up well enough for a night on the town. Clean-looking? Yes. Bling-bling gaudy? Nope. Tire size? It's large enough for extended backcountry exploration, but small enough not to overpower the rest of the drivetrain and cause breakage every time out.
These are the vitals:
6-inch Skyjacker RockReady lift with dual steering stabilizers
Bushwacker "cut out" fender flares
Ramsey QM 8,000 winch
Tom Woods driveshafts
Custom exhaust with high-flow after-cat33x12.5-inch BFG All-Terrain T/A K/O tires wrappedaround 15x10-inch American Racing wheels
Smittybilt nerf bars
Lock-Rite rear locker
Valley Industries trailer hitch
On a recent outing, Matt decided to go through an apparently 2-inch-deep puddle. The "puddle" turned out to be a Jeep-swallowing mudhole. The Ramsey winch did its duty, freeing the hapless XJ in short order. Matt's definition of stuck is, "If you get out with no other vehicle assistance, then you're not stuck." Fair enough, Matt. Happy stuck-free 'wheeling.