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1994 Jeep Cherokee XJ - Santa's Other Sleigh

Posted in Features on August 1, 2009
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If it's not Christmas, don't look for St. Nick at the North Pole. Instead, you're likely to find him behind the wheel of his '94 XJ Cherokee somewhere in the deserts of the southwest.

Santa's alias is Ken Fairbarn, and he calls Costa Mesa, California, home. Mr. Fairbarn bears a striking resemblance to the Jolly Old Elf, right down to the full white beard. Ken's "Sleigh II" was a lone XJ in a sea of TJs, YJs, and CJs at the 2008 Hi-Desert Roundup in Stoddard Valley, California. What happened to "Sleigh I?" "Sleigh I rolled seven times during a trail run, Ken informed. "I was fine, but the Sleigh was a total loss."

In memory of Sleigh I, Ken bought, then built Sleigh II. Why an XJ? "I like full sheet metal." Inside that full sheet metal, there's plenty of lockable storage space, giving the owner room for tools, parts, and other trail essentials. We found something else inside: a full roll cage that would be at home on a desert race course.

Under Sleigh II, there's running gear more than capable of landing on rooftops the world over: a Dana 60 front axle and a GM 14-bolt full-floater rear axle. Crawl-ability comes via a Tera Low 4:1 kit installed in the transfer case. Thirty-seven inch Maxxis Creepy Crawlers spin at each corner and are locked in unison with front and rear Detroit Lockers.

Now that we've found out what Santa really does in the off-season, it's even more of a miracle that Christmas happens every year. If you had a 4X Sleigh like this, could you tear yourself away from the trails? We didn't think so.

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