We see a lot of Jeeps; I mean a lot of Jeeps. And as you well know from reading the pages of Jp Magazine or logging on to jpmagazine.com, “show” rigs are not exactly our forte. Sure, if it has nice shiny paint, spiffed-up wheels, and looks like it’s cleaned on a regular basis, we’re all good with that; as long as it’s got a lot of “go” in it. That’s why when we first laid eyes on the ’87 Jeep Grand Wagoneer built by Troy Tertany and Tony Durbano at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, we were intrigued, but a tiny bit skeptical. That initial skepticism fell away quickly the day we saw it roar up the canyon for our photo shoot.
360 PowerThat big noise we heard echoing off the canyon walls was the thunderous sound coming out of a 3-inch-diameter exhaust pipe, Magnaflow stainless steel muffler, and a set of Doug Thorley headers. Pumping the spent gases through that exhaust system was a mildly rebuilt 360ci AMC V-8 that had traded its 2BBL carburetor for an Edelbrock EFI system during the rebuild. Behind that V-8 sits a Torque-Flite 727 three-speed automatic transmission and a Selec-Trac (NP 229) full-time transfer case.
44-Caliber UndercarriageThe Grand Wagoneer sports its original Dana 44 front and rear axles, which are driven by a set of Tom Woods 1310-fitted custom drivelines. However, some serious changes have occurred. Behind the Poison Spyder diff covers on the D44s are a set of 4.10-geared Eaton Detroit Trutrac limited-slip differentials turning chromoly axle shafts. The front axle received a custom truss from Castle Fabrication, not because it needed a truss, but because a truss provided a good location to weld steering mods (such as the Fox steering stabilizer) to, as opposed to the axle’s tubes or pumpkin.
Reid Racing knuckles tip the ends of the front axle, and with guidance from Artec conversion brackets and steering components spanning the distance between the knuckles and the box, they direct the forward pair of 35-inch Toyo Open Country tires wrapped around 17-inch Grid Off-Road GD-1 graphite wheels. A custom suspension system to give the 35-inch tires room to run with only minor fender trimming was created with the help of Castle Fabrication using Metal Cloak builder components that included four-link rear and Y-link front arms, joints, track bars, and anti-sway bar end links. Fox 12-inch-travel coilover reservoir shocks, with the help of TeraFlex SpeedBumps, provide control to the front and rear axle articulation.
Inside & OutThe Grand Wagoneer’s interior was in good shape to begin with, and remained original, with the exception of a RAM Mounts center console, MasterCraft Safety seats in the driver and front passenger positions, and a Switch Pros SP-8100 eight-switch panel power distribution system that runs everything from lights to the Warn winch mounted on the front bumper.
As you can plainly see, there’s a lot going on outside the body. Troy and Tony grafted in a ’65 rhino-style grille because they liked it better than the stock ’87 nose. Then there are the bumpers. With minor modifications, Rugged Ridge Spartacus units for a Jeep JK fit rather well on the Waggy body, and gave it the restomod look the guys were after. Rugged Ridge Spartacus side steps worked for this job as well. A Wilco Hitchgate Solo XL out back swings the spare tire, and also holds a RotopaX for extra fuel.
JW Speaker LED headlight units replaced the factory lamps, JW Speaker fog lamps were inserted into the grille, and JW Speaker lights were also used in the bumpers. The Rugged Ridge Spartacus LED lightbar above the windshield adds to the rig’s nighttime navigational capability. The topographic map body mural that covers the entire rig is a custom wrap, created just for this project by Alive Wraps.
OverlandabilityIs that a word? It is now. Likely the most prominent modification to the ’87 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is the roof top tent. Planted atop a Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform made just for such a purpose, sits a FreeSpirit Recreation Adventure Series Automatic 55 Roof Top Tent. This “room with a view” is designed to sleep two persons off the ground, and opens and closes automatically (through small motors) using a key fob (or with a smart phone app).
The ’87 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has seen plenty of off-road miles as well as SEMA Show floor space. Extended camping and wheeling trips to the Overland Expo, Johnson Valley (home of the King of The Hammers event), Joshua Tree National Park, and the Grand Canyon have all been a part of this rig’s overlanding duties so far. Keep your eyes peeled for it; this Waggy can go anywhere.
Why This JeepAs we mentioned before, we see a lot of Jeeps, including customized classic Waggys like this. Troy and Tony, co-founders of RoamR, build rigs for discriminating customers, and this ’87 Grand Wagoneer is their calling card. It has a pretty face, but also a stout structure. It’s been designed to look good when it needs to, and overnight anywhere its owners want to explore. Sounds like a good match to us.
Hard FactsVehicle: 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Engine: 5.9L (360ci) V-8 with Edelbrock EFI
Transmission: Torque-Flite 727 three-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Selec-Trac (NP229) transfer case
Suspension: Custom MetalCloak four-link front and rear, Fox coilover reservoir shocks, TeraFlex SpeedBumps
Axles: Front: Dana 44 with 4.10 Eaton Detroit Trutrac, chromoly shafts; Rear: Dana 44 with 4.10 Eaton Detroit Trutrac, chromoly shafts
Wheels: 17-inch Grid Off-Road GD-1 graphite
Tires: 35-inch Toyo Open Country