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2002 Top Truck Challengers 1992 Jeep Wrangler

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 1, 2002
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Photographers: Craig Perronne

Take a '92 Jeep Wrangler, shorten its wheelbase and integrate so much of its chassis with a tube frame that you render the final version virtually unrecognizable. Then completely rebuild its suspension with custom pieces and add a honkin' engine. When you do that, what you get is what Israel's Barry Toledano got. He called the unlikely result the Frog, a vehicle which took 18 months to build and about as long to conceive, from tires and steering to tube-frame chassis. But what makes the Frog so incredible is its owner's undeniable passion for creating the perfect TTC competitor.

"Almost all of [the Frog] is custom-made," explains Barry. "What's left of the YJ is only part of the frame and the firewall." This amphibious rig's evolution occurred in the most straightforward manner possible. Each of its components was upgraded several times over the course of the 18-month buildup.

The Frog's frontend consists of a 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axle that contains a Detroit Locker. Sway-A-Way 2.5x18-inch Racerunner coilover dual-rate springs cushion each corner up front, in conjunction with Sway-A-Way Dual Rate shocks with remote reservoirs at the rear. The Frog also features a hydraulic front and rear steering to turn its 44-inch Boggers. Stopping power comes from front- and rear-pinion brakes.

The engine in the Frog is a Chevy 454 marine unit bored 0.030-over to displace 460 ci. Assembled by Yoram Duan of Tel Aviv, the big-block features TRW pistons, aluminum Edelbrock 6055 heads and a Crane camshaft. An Edelbrock wiring harness and Splitfire wires spark the system. Meanwhile, induction comes through an Edelbrock EFI and makes its way to a Holley intake manifold. To keep things cool, Barry employed a pair of heavy-duty aluminum radiators, sourced from a turbodiesel Chevy 3500 van. In a move sourced from early race-car practice, the Frog's coolant travels to those radiators placed behind the seats, through elements of the tube frame. Total estimated horsepower is 540 at 5,500 rpm. Torque is approximately 550 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm.

With its Pioneer flywheel and B&M torque converter set to a stall speed of 2000 rpm, Barry's TH400 tranny features extra clutches. The Frog's 4x4 traction is achieved with an NP205 transfer case and a set of Detroit Locker-infused and steerable 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axles front and rear carrying 6.72:1 gearing. Driveshafts feature heavy-duty high-angle 1410 U-joints, while braking results from standard Rockwell front and rear pinion brakes.

Both axles ride on dual-rate Sway-A-Way coilover shocks, and are located by custom leading and trailing arms. A full-on custom rollcage was attached to the frame. Toledano added a pair of Hella driving lights, a brake light and two red rear lights. The Frog rides on a set of 44x19.5x15 Super Swamper Boggers with 15x10 Rockcrawler bead locks.

The interior features two Sparco racing seats and a full set of gauges that includes units to measure oil pressure, voltage and temperature. Equipment that makes every trailride includes a Warn 8274 winch up front and an XD9000i at the rear. Also on board for the trail are a Hi-Lift jack, a high-volume air compressor, four shackles, four tow hooks and straps, plus a chain and spare driveshafts.

What's especially interesting is that there is virtually no place in Israel for Barry to drive the Frog, except in competition. So it will be compelling to see how well he drives it in Top Truck Challenge.

PhotosView Slideshow

Owner Barry Toledano, Tel Aviv, Israel
Vehicle/Model {{{1992 Jeep Wrangler}}}

Type Chevy 454 OHV V-8
Aspiration Edelbrock EFI, Holley intake manifold

Transmission TH400
Transfer Case NP205

Front Sway-A-Way dual-rate 18-inch coilovers
Rear Sway-A-Way dual-rate 18-inch coilovers

Front 2 1/2-ton Rockwell with Detroit Locker
Rear 2 1/2-ton Rockwell with Detroit Locker
Ring-and-Pinion 6.72:1

Wheels 15x10 Rockcrawler Bead Locks
Tires 44x19.5x15 Super Swamper Boggers

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