Turnkey Diesel Scrambler - Building the Jeep is Not Half the FunPosted in Features on December 29, 2015
Whoever said that “building the Jeep is half the fun” can flip to the next story now. This is not the Jeep you are looking for. What you’re looking at has had countless hours of labor and meticulous work, with almost all new parts put into it to create a turnkey package. Legacy Classic Trucks isn’t pushing out you-built-it kits. Its turnkey vehicles are hand built and thoroughly tested before they ever leave the Driggs, Idaho, factory. The company started in 2008, building retromodded four-door Power Wagons (you may have seen one or two in past issues) that are impossible not to love, even with the $250,000 price tag on them. With the success of the Power Wagons, Legacy started branching out. Standard cab, extended cab, and WC-53 Carryalls based on the Powerwagons were also added to the lineup, as well as an obscure offering of a Land Cruiser FJ-60, and now Scramblers.
Save for style, there’s not much Jeep left. Replacement aluminum tubs sit on new frames, with Dynatrac axles held on by a linked and coilover suspension underneath. Motivation under the hood comes from either a 6.2L petroleum V-8 or a 3.0L diesel V-6 engine. Occupants sit in Recaro seats, and hold onto a Nardi steering wheel. Gear selection comes from a tap-shift auto shifter (assuming you don’t order the manual NV4500) and a pair of Atlas twin sticks coming through the floor. These Scrambler CJ-8 conversions are built from the ground up with the best parts you could get. And with a starting price well over $100,000, they sure as heck better be. The diesel six-speed automatic version we tested? It weighs in at around $160,000.
You’d think that a heavy, six-figure price tag would limit the number of niche vehicles that Legacy puts out, but 80 Powerwagon conversions already sold and out the door say differently. And with a 4 to 6-month waiting list, these vehicles are built to order, each one being constructed exactly as the customer wants.
Are they worth it? Depends who you are. Legacy’s standard clientele rolls around with a bit more spending cash than most of us do. These types of customers want vehicles that don’t break and that they don’t have to mess with and work on. They don’t want grease spots in their driveways. They want clean, classic lines on their toys and not for it to look like a bolt-on crap magnet. And that’s why Legacy is in business today. Its conversions are some of the best in the business, and Legacy’s founder, Winslow Bent, makes sure to continue that tradition of perfection in Legacy’s creations with every vehicle it puts out.
Hop into a Legacy Scrambler conversion and you’ll see why these are the preferred classic 4x4 for people who can afford them. A smooth ride (thanks to all new parts and a well-built suspension) with power to spare makes for a pleasant cruise. With the 3.0L diesel and six-speed automatic option, Legacy tells us this Scrambler gets about 28 mpg with 5.13 gears and 37-inch tires.
While you can get a standard 6.2L LS3 V-8, throw in an extra $20,000 and you can opt for a Banks 630T 3.0L diesel engine with a GM 6L90E-derived transmission built by Banks. Instead of hiding every fuse panel and wiring harness, Legacy makes sure to put everything it can in plain sight so it’s easily serviceable, should anything ever go wrong.
A Dynatrac front 44/60 hybrid axle (44 centersection, Dana 60 outers) is standard issue on every Scrambler built. Legacy worked with Gen Right to come up with a four-link (and panhard rod) suspension that uses King coilovers and hydraulic bumpstops at each corner. In the front, 14-inch-stroke Kings are positioned straight up and down above the axle.
A Warn Zeon 10,000-pound winch is standard issue, along with synthetic rope to keep weight down.
Trailready beadlock wheels and 37-inch Toyo Open Country RTs are spec on the Dualsport version, while 33s or 35s can be ordered on the Classic version. Warn premium locking hubs are standard.
Two basic models can be ordered, with a variety of options. The Dualsport version uses bigger tires, and has tube fenders integrated into the body front and rear. The Classic version uses a smaller tire and with original CJ fenders.
A Dynatrac 60 rear axle matches the front 8-lug hybrid, with ARB lockers sitting in both pumpkins and matching 5.13:1 gears. Disc brakes are standard all the way around. While the front does not use an anti-sway bar, the rear utilizes a Currie Anti-Rock to give just enough sway control to make this Scrambler drive comfortably on the road and at higher speeds in the dirt.
A Nardi steering wheel gives the driver something elegant to hold onto.
Recaro seats, built to Legacy’s specs, are specially designed to keep you in the seat, but not have a high bolster to climb over each time to enter or exit the Jeep.
Above the ARB locker switches, you’ll notice a new four-in-one gauge and a Vintage Air climate controller. Legacy didn’t want to bother trying to find and rebuild old Jeep A/C systems, so they just replace everything with Vintage Air units.
A tap-shift shifter allows you to manually scroll through the six gears of the automatic transmission. You can opt for a full-manual NV4500 transmission with an actual clutch, but Legacy finds that most customers want the auto these days.
An Atlas transfer case sits below, with twin-stick shifters coming through the aluminum tub that is entirely coated with bedliner on the inside.
Legacy specifically likes building the CJ-8 Scramblers, due to the longer tub and extended CJ wheelbase. There is enough room to successfully put two adult passengers in the back, and the longer wheelbase makes this CJ much more comfortable to drive both on road and off.
One of the coolest aspects of this six-figure conversion is the simplicity in the high-end build. Everything works like it should and stays within the lines of the original Jeep. Legacy uses proven parts that have hundreds of thousands of test hours on them and does not try to reinvent the wheel.