Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Jeep that brings back childhood memories. For a certain category of the Jeeping community, the Flintstones cartoon television show is as much of our cultural heritage as Hostess HoHos and riding Schwinn Stingrays with banana seats. That’s why when we bumped into the VanHoosens from Westminster, Colorado, during the inaugural 2016 Jp Dirt ’N Drive presented by Jeep and their ’87 Jeep YJ Wrangler with its distinctive orange-over-brown paint scheme, we understood right away why the rig’s nickname was “Fred.”
“Fred” the Jeep YJ is similar to its namesake in that it’s built sturdy, it works hard, and it plays hard. It’s powered by a healthy ’94 Chevy LT1 V-8 engine, which is backed up with a TH400 trans and Atlas transfer case. The LT1 sports a plethora of goodies such as Edelbrock headers, and custom exhaust, motor mounts, and radiator with electric fan. The wiring harness from the ’94 Corvette engine-donor was required to make the whole thing work right. A custom crossbrace and aluminum skidplate helped make the TH400 transplant fit in and well protected. Keeping the LTI covered up is the job of a Campbell Enterprises one-piece hood and front fenders.
Tom Woods front and rear driveshafts deliver power to the pair of DynaTrac ProRock 60 axles with 4.88 ARB Air Lockers tucked inside. The axles are swung by a High Country Performance 4x4-built custom suspension system that is made up of Bilstein coilover remote-reservoir shocks and a three-link setup on the frontend and a triangulated four-link with coil springs and Bilstein shocks in back. The front shocks and their reservoirs are mounted up top to a custom tube cross-chassis brace, and the rear coils are captured up top in a custom mount created in the YJ frame.
Bringing it all down to the bedrock is a set of 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires mounted up to 17x9-inch KMC wheels. To help VanHoosen keep the massive meats under control on the highway or the trail, the TJ also features a heavy duty PSC Hydro-Assist steering system. The interior has a full custom rollcage and Beard seats that are clothed in a matching orange and brown motif. And one last detail VanHoosen wanted to point out was the custom aluminum 13-gallon fuel tank underneath the rear pan that helped the ’87 Jeep YJ Wrangler get a few more road miles out of that thirsty LT1 V-8 during the Jp Dirt ’N Drive event. We hope to see “Fred” and his owners again in 2017 for a yabba-dabba-doo-time!
Hard FactsVehicle: ’87 Jeep YJ Wrangler
Engine: ’94 Corvette LS1 V-8
Transmission: TH400 3-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Atlas
Suspension: High Country Performance 4x4 custom link system with coils and Bilstein shocks
Axles: DynaTrac ProRock 60s with 4.88 ARB Air Lockers front and rear
Wheels: 17x9-inch KMC
Tires: 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX
Built For: Pounding the bedrock