Is Wider Better--for a Jeep?
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If we had a quarter for each time we overheard Jean Cherrier patiently tell curious onlookers that his 78 CJ-7 is 2.5 inches wider than a Hummer, you wouldnt be reading thiswed be retired. Of course, Jean (whose name has ended up being pronounced John) shouldve known that by adding an extra 30 inches in width to his Jeep, people would ask a few questions about it. Heck, any CJ with 44-inch tires demands attention.
In this case, the neat part is that they almost look proportional. Actually, except for when youre looking from behind, Jean has managed to make the whole thing look quite proportionalat least until Jean parks his 6,400-pound beast next to a normal Jeep. Thats because Jean has an eye for what looks right, in addition to the ability to do the rather extensive work required to widen a vehicle. Plus, being an all-around nice guy, he even has the patience to answer the same repetitive questions for hours.
Lets describe the vehicle in better detail so that if you see Jean on the trail, you can admire the craftsmanship or watch him wheel rather than waste time asking those same questions again.
MORE GO THAN SHOW
It would be reasonable to suspect that this vehicle was built more to attract attention than for actual four-wheeling, but thats not the case. Far from a trailer queen (aside from the fact that an 89-inch-wide vehicle on a trailer would require a wide load permit), the CJ has been intimate with both branches and rocks on some pretty heavy-duty trails. Built to be a daily driver and trail mobile, the CJ has been to Moab, Telluride, Sand Mountain, Rubicon, plus other trails, and Jean never took the bypasses on Rubicon. Had he not, despite our protests, freshened up the paint just before these photos were taken, youd have seen for yourself that this puppy isnt babied.
A SIMPLE RECIPE: TAKE A 7 AND ADD A LOT
We couldnt possibly cram all the neat details found on this vehicle into three pages and still have room for photos, so check out the spec box, read the captions, look at the photos, and enjoy.
Since Jeans a body shop worker (OK, auto body technician, these days) by trade, building this unique ride was probably more a matter of getting enough time to devote to itit took him four years to piece it all togetherthan a task to do it. Curiously enough, we never heard anyone ask why Jean built this CJ.