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Perfect 10

Posted in Project Vehicles on December 20, 2006 Comment (0)
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Here's our own scaled-down version of an awards show in which any Jeep that appeared in the pages of Jp Magazine has a chance to be named one of the editors' 10 most favorite Jeeps of 2006. Whether it was a full five-page feature Jeep that appeared on the cover, a lowly Jeep in an ad in the back of the magazine, or a Jeep Shots submission, if it appeared in print in Jp, it stands a chance of being picked.

Unlike previous years, in which the staff pooled its votes anonymously to bring you the winners, this year we're going to show you who voted for what and why. And just for the record, we don't consider the Compass, the Patriot, or Bree's bikini a Jeep.

Paul Sharp's '46 CJ-2A
Truckin' Nationals, March 2006
There's just something about a relatively stock flattie getting flogged within an inch of its life that's entertaining to watch. Paul's '46 CJ-2A runs the stock drivetrain, including the Dana 41 rear, Dana 25 front, Spicer 18, T-90, and 134-cube L-head four cylinder. The bumpers, Rancho lift, and 32-inch BFG MT tires, full rollcage, and later CJ-3A windshield frame are some of the only deviations from stock. Paul takes the flattie to the Phoenix Truckin' Nationals every year and beats it hard. This year he rolled it before jumping it into the tire pit. It just goes to show there's no end of fun to be had in a flattie.

Cappa: 0 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 1

Tim Wiley's Cherokee Chief Prerunner
Truckin' Nationals, March 2006

Maybe it's the fact we watched one too many Evil Knievel specials as a kid, but just about any 1970s rig looks pretty good done up in a red, white, and blue flag treatment. Trasborg was too busy buying cheap beer and hot dogs to bring back any good details, but it appears like Tim's Cherokee runs a spring-under suspension front and rear; has a full race cage with spare tire mounts in the rear and a mid-ship fuel cell where the rear seat used to reside; and a race exhaust that exists through the quarter panel skin in front of the 33-inch rear tire. We spy with our little eyes fire suppression, window netting, cut fenders, and all the other trinkets we'd expect to see in a serious high-speed, off-road machine.

Cappa: 0 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 1

Christian Hazel's Project Hatari! '71 CJ-6
Hatari! To the Rubicon, March 2006

Whether you agree with our voting in one of our own or not, the Hatari! CJ-6 was one of the most popular project vehicles the magazine has tackled. Trasborg probably said it best: "(It's) an old Jeep with a great mix of old and new tech. Reliable enough to drive every day and yet not overbuilt as many magazine projects end up being. A project with 31s? Basically, I dug it because it was attainable for the guy who still uses his Jeep as a daily driver." Indeed, Hatari! put the money where it would be best used, such as in the Advance Adapters NV3550 five-speed and power-steering conversions, onboard welder and air system, and Warn 6,000-pound winch, while kicking aesthetics to the curb. Sadly, it's gone, but its oil spots live on in Hazel's driveway.

Cappa: 0 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 1

Greg Zoetmulder's CJ-7
How Fast is Your Jeep?, June 2006

For those who have never followed drag racing, anything below 11 seconds in the quarter-mile is simply cooking. The fact that Greg has dipped this street-driven, steel-bodied CJ into the eight-second range is no less than astounding. We're a little rusty on our horsepower-per-elapsed-time conversions, but we're guesstimating it takes around 1,200 hp to move a 3,400-pound car down the 1,320 in 8.96 seconds at 148 mph. Greg relies on a good snort of boost delivered from a massive ProCharger F2 centrifugal supercharger to get the Chevy 400 to churn out those numbers. If you feel a bit cheated that we haven't included more info on this monster, don't worry. We're currently working up a full feature shoot on this missile.

Cappa: 0 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 0

George Kane's '94 ZJ Prerunner
Grand Runner, June 2006

"I'm all over it like Michael Jackson at a boys school petting zoo." Whatever the preceding Tourettes outburst really means, Cappa's quip best summarizes the staff's enthusiasm over this prerunner Grand Cherokee. While George makes no claim as the builder of this rig, he did buy one hellaciously setup racer. With 4.88s, a 9-inch rear, King bypass and coilover shocks, a custom three-link rear, 35s, and a massive GPS system, about the only thing this thing is lacking is a V-8. True, the 4.0L six lacks a little in the oomph department, but the chassis will never be overrun by the engine.

Cappa: 1 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 1

Dennis Sparandera's '52 CJ-3A
Jeep Shots, June 2006

Hazel just about froths at the mouth at anything painted the right shade of orange. Make it a stock-flavored flattie, and all bets are off. Like Hatari!, this Jeep puts the parts to use where they'll do the most good. The '52 makes room for slightly taller 7.00x16 NDT tires with a small Superlift suspension. A Lock Right in the rear Dana 44, a pair of Superwinch locking hubs, and a 12-volt conversion are pretty much the only deviations from stock in the drivetrain. Taking the easy (and smarter) route, a new body from Willys-Overland was dropped onto the frame and fitted with a Smittybilt rollbar and a pair of comfy-looking seats. This rig looks like it would make one hell of a nice trail cruiser or a fun daily driver.

Cappa: 1 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 0

Unknown Owner's '53 M-38
The 40th Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari, August, 2006

Again, it's an orange-hued flattie, and Hazel is the one writing this story. What did you expect? Actually, no matter what color it was, this flattie had it all. For starters, the 33s were shoved under the fenders despite the low-slung stance and the 1-inch springs were just right. A Dana 44 front axle was shoehorned in just below the Buick 225's oil pan, and the Warn locking hubs on the rear prove the tow bar on the front bumper gets used. All of the military plaques were still on the dash, unpainted in their original brass. The air locker switch in the dash showed us that there was at least one pneumatic locker while the power-steering conversion and full cage proved it gets used off-road.

Cappa: 0 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 0

Brent Burton's '97 Wrangler four-door
'06 Top Truck Jeeps, September 2006

When we say there's nothing small about Brent's stretched four-door Wrangler, we really, really mean it. Everything about the Jeep, with the exception of the body width, has been increased. For starters, the rig rides on massive 53-inch Michelin 16.00R20 XZL tires and front and rear steering Rockwell axles with upgraded 47-spline gundrilled shafts. There's a 2.72:1 Klune-V Underdrive in front of a 32-spline NP205. Even the LS1 has been stroked to increase its displacement and help generate 425 hp.

Cappa:0 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 1

Ron Schoonard's '49 Willys Jeepster
Meticulous, September 2006

Both Cappa and Trasborg both started their voting arguments off by saying, "Who cares if the body is the only thing Jeep left." But that can pretty much be said of a lot of cool "Jeeps." Ron's Jeepster is all kinds of high-tech and clean-build rolled into one tight, nimble package. The front and rear three-link suspensions are grafted onto the Blazer frame and control the Dana 44 and 9-inch axles via Fox coilovers and hydraulic bumpstops. A potent LS1 gulps air and throws power back to a TH700R4 tranny and Atlas T-case. This rig embodies the whole package in what we look for in a feature vehicle. Clean building, functional design, a body style that isn't overused, and high attention to craftsmanship and detail.

Cappa: 1 Hazel: 0 Trasborg: 1

Jeff Nasi's '67 M-715
Cover Vehicle, August 2006

True, he's pretty high up on the Primedia food chain, but that's not going to stop us from making fun of his hat. While we call it an M-715, about the only thing left of the original Kaiser military pickup drivetrain is the T-98a transmission. The rest has wisely been tossed either in the scrap heap or in Hazel's M-715. The 330hp GM Performance crate 350 feeds a Dodge NP205 T-case, a Chevy Dana 60 front axle, and a Chevy 14-bolt rear. The axles hold Detroit Lockers and 4.56 gears. Off Road Unlimited in Burbank, California, did a really clean job on the full front and rear cage that protects the front two buckets and the two bench seats mounted in the bed. It's the eight-passenger party bus, but our favorite part is that Jeff's ride still sports all the military trinkets and widgets-from the radio antenna to the pioneering tools strapped to the bed.

Cappa:1 Hazel: 1 Trasborg: 1


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