Many 4x4s are built mean, tough, and gnarly these days. With the help of high-tech performance parts, you can build just about any type of animal imaginable. Craig and Marsha Ross of Montrose, Colorado, call their CJ-5 HoundDog. After seeing it perform and win Best Engineered Jeep at the Black Hills 4-Wheeler Dakota Challenge, we think it's more like a bad dog.
The Rosses bought their 82 Jeep CJ-5 used and in stock condition, retiring their 75 model with the intent of building this Jeep to the hilt. The buildup took about a year and a half, and the Jeep is now a tough Jamboree competitor. The original six-cylinder was chucked and swapped with a 401ci V-8, which bangs out an impressive 300 hp. With a little help from S&S Engines, Craig put together a real pit bull of an engine. The bottom end is basically stock with the exception of a Crane cam. Fuel and air are mixed with a Howell TBI four-barrel/700-cfm carb sitting on an Edelbrock Performer intake. Exhaust exits via Doug Thorley headers, which plumb the AfterBurner mufflers provided by the Pipe Shop in Montrose.
Underhood electrical consists of a BlueStreak coil, a Motorcraft distributor, Autolite Platinum plugs, and Taylor wires. An Optima 800 Series battery provides the juice along with a 100-amp alternator to keep it going. Coupled to the powerplant is a stock clutch linked to a 727 TorqueFlite three-speed auto tranny outfitted with an A-1 low-gear kit, a Transgo Stage 2 shift kit, and a B&M cooler. Quick shifting is accomplished with a B&M Sportshifter. A Scout 300 transfer case splits the power via custom driveshafts by Six States to a Dana 44 frontend with 4.56:1 gears and Scout axleshafts. Out back, the grunt is handled by a Currie high-pinion rear axle, a Detroit differential, and 4.56:1 gears.
Fifteen-inch American Racing wheels spin 35-inch Swampers. Stock discs up front and Ford Explorer drum brakes in the rear make this dogs tires bark when they need to. Providing flex for the Jeep are customized leaf springs made longer in the front with torque leaves bolted on the rear.
A 1-inch body lift was installed by Mountain Off-Road. Four Rancho 9000s help smooth out the ride, while a Jeep Wagoneer pitman arm helps control side-to-side motion. Power steering is made easy with a stout AGR pump and box. External features include a Smittybilt rollcage mounted to the frame, a Currie bumper bolted to the rear, and a stock bumper up front with a Ramsey 9000X winch.
Shannon Pittman, Craigs brother-in-law, of Mylars Auto Body applied the paint: basecoat, clearcoat, and finally the Ultra Violet Pearl. The bright orange decals were stuck on to name this bad dog. Underneath, everything was sandblasted and painted Imron black for the finishing touch. Craig stays strapped inside his Steelhorse Superseat while using a Grant billet aluminum wheel to navigate his rig through some of the nastiest courses in the country.
As you can see, the HoundDog is able to attack the toughest terrain like a highly trained guard dog smooth, swift, and mean.