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Jeep Grand Cherokee: Grand Chuggy

Posted in Project Vehicles on November 1, 2012
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Photographers: JP Staff

No one can doubt that Grand Cherokees make great all-round rigs. You can daily drive one, go wheeling, grab some groceries, head to the mall, hit the trails, blast down the highway, and with a little work, you can build these rigs into truly amazing off-road vehicles—all with five-passenger capability. It’s somewhat amusing to us that for a long time people have been converting Wranglers to V-8s for more power (ourselves included), when it would arguably be cheaper and easier to buy a V-8 Grand and chop it up until it’s more like a CJ, YJ, TJ, or JK. So you spend $10,000 to $40,000 dollars on a Wrangler only to cut it up and spend another $4,000-$20,000 dollars on a V-8 swap. Why not spend $2,000-$10,000 on a V-8 ZJ or WJ and get to cutting and fabbing till you have a big tire’d, strong axle’d, small, roofless WJ or ZJ buggy?

This is not for the beginner, although it could be the evolution of a mild ZJ or WJ build. This idea is better suited to experienced fabricators, do-it-yourselfers with patience, or the guy with deep pockets and a good fabrication shop nearby. Here is how we’d do it!

We would not worry about the cage interfering with the windshield and roof—which would be gone. The front fenders would either be massively trimmed or dropped all together. Out back the miniature rear wheelwells would be chopped out, stretched, and rebuilt to tuck big meats. If it’s done right, it might even be street legal. If not, trailer the Chuggy.
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