Ten of the Hottest Jeeps Around!
CJ for Life
Dan Dinelli didn't tell us where he lived, but he did tell us that he was 49 years old and since his first automobile he's never been without a CJ; he actually sent us pictures of his long-term CJ-7 and his time-bandit CJ-8. Seen here is the '80 CJ-7 that he has owned for 24 years. It has a swapped-in AMC 360 V-8, twin-sticked Dana 300 with a 4:1 kit, and Currie 9-inch axles with Detroit Lockers front and rear. A custom full roll cage is tied into a Matkins custom frame.
More often than not, we all fall into the "replace-it" style of Jeep rebuilding rather than put good money into bad parts when sometimes the parts aren't really that bad. Well Adam Matyas of Florida, didn't swap out or replace many of the parts that came stock on his '86 CJ-7, he just rebuilt them as necessary. The stock 258ci inline-six is still under the hood, albeit with a two-barrel Weber carburetor, but it's still bolted to the stock T-5 and the Dana 300 sends power out to the stock front Dana 30 and rear Dana 44. The Jeep has been converted to a spring-over configuration on top of 2-inch-lift springs and clears a set of 16/35x15 Super Swamper Boggers wrapped around 15x12 American Eagle Alloys. The top and doors both came from YJs, and the body was sanded down to bare steel to get rid of rust and then repainted green.
There isn't much Jeep left to Mike Henriksen's '87 Comanche shortbed Eliminator from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Sure, the 4.0L is still there and it's gotten a new header. A swapped-in AX-15 is bolted to an NP231 and sends power out to the front Dana 44 HD with an Ox Locker and a rear Dana 60 with welded spider gears. Both axles have 5.13 gears. The elevation to clear a set of 37x13-15 Super Swamper Boggers comes from a Y-link front setup with 8-inch lift coils, 2-inch coil spacers, and custom lowered spring perches for an estimated 15 inches of lift. The rear leaf springs are a custom junkyard bastard pack and setup in a spring-over configuration instead of the MJ's stock spring-under setup.
This '77 CJ-7 is on its third set of axles and second set of doors and front fenders. Eric Spencer has done a complete frame-off restoration including Dana 44 axles stuffed with 4.56 gears, a rear Detroit Locker and front ARB Air Locker spinning 35-inch Cooper Discoverer tires. A Rubicon Express 41/2-inch lift with heavy-duty shackles locates the axles which are pushed away from the center of the Jeep for a 96-inch wheelbase. A 350ci Vortec V-8 engine, 700R4 transmission and a Dana 20 transfer case are nestled between the frame rails and a Gen Right Off Road Crawler gas tank hangs under them to clear the rear axle. Inside, the tub has been fully bed-lined and a full custom-built cage ties into the frame and locates the Corbeau LG1 seats.
We've all seen XJs with coils in the rear, but by the time most Cherokees get coils out back, its days on the street are done. Not so with Rod Weinzierl's '99 Cherokee of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The rear coils come from a Treks Off Road four-link coil conversion and teams with a Treks Y-link kit in the front to provide enough clearance for a set of 35x12.50 Pro Comp X-terrain tires. The front Dana 30 axle received 4.56 gears and an ARB Air Locker while a swapped-in Ford 8.8 got similar gearing and a Detroit Locker. The stock six-cylinder, AW4, and NP231 still provide reliable power.
This '07 Wrangler Rubicon was shot at BMJA's August Oink in Rausch Creek, Pennsylvania, and belongs to Adam Fisher of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The front bumper and skidplate came from Mopar, an engine/trans skid from Skid Row Automotive, and the OR-Fab tire carrier has no problems with the 305/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs on Cragar Soft 8s. A 1-inch M.O.R.E. body lift and 21/2-inch Rough Country suspension with 2.2 shocks replace the stock stuff. Rancho lower control arm skidplates and Warn differential skidplates keep the sheetmetal stock parts safe.
Ian Potter jokes that his '98 Wrangler has the "Low Output" four-cylinder. Coupled to that is an automatic transmission and Ian didn't tell us if it had A/C or not, but 4.56 gears attempt to make up for the two lost cylinders. Other highlights include a Rubicon Express 31/2-inch lift that teams up with a set of Bilstein 5500 shocks for a great ride on and off-road. Gen-Right Off Road Corners along with Warn front and rear bumpers and a custom tire carrier, rocker guards, and steering box skid keep the Jeep protected. A set of 33-inch BFG KM2 tires get the power to the ground and an 8500lb-rated Superwinch get the Jeep out of sticky situations.
Ben Matchett of O'Neill, Nebraska, tells us that he twisted the frame of his '84 CJ-7 13/4 inches out of true in the Black Hills in 2008. He got it tweaked back and kept right on building. The 4.2L engine still provides power with the addition of a Weber carb, HEI conversion, and a Clifford intake and header. A 21/2-inch Superlift lift kit combined with a 1-inch body lift clear 33-inch High-Tec retreads on black steel rims. The front Dana 30 and rear AMC 20 both benefit from chromoly axle shafts and 4.10 gears with the front spinning a Detroit Truetrac and the rear turning a Detroit EZ Locker.
Is it wrong that every time we get a Jeep Shots submission with "Golden Eagle" in the title, we open it hoping to see Daisy Duke? Alas, this '06 Wrangler isn't owned by a Duke, but rather by Norman Eckhard of Hanover, Pennsylvania. A to Z fabrication provided rocker guards while front and rear bumpers were Warn-sourced as was the 9.5ti winch. Skid Row Automotive protects the underside of the Jeep. BDS was tapped for the 3-inch lift kit and it clears a set of 33x10.5R15 BFG KM2 tires.
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