If you enjoyed the last blog post, here's Part 2! This week, we're taking a look at a few more unique vehicles that stand apart from the usual rides you may see around town. As in the previous article, we'll be dividing these into classic (1999 and before) and modern (2000 and after). In order to qualify for this list, we're looking for unique or hard-to-find OEM trim packages, build styles that defy the common “cookie-cutter” approach, or something that takes the factory platform far beyond it's intended use.
Classic – 1966-71 Jeepster CommandoIf you tuned in for the last update, you may have read about the red Jeepster Commando truck. The Jeepster Commando was offered as a larger alternative to the CJ-5 before the CJ-7 and Scrambler were produced. Although the CJ-6 was offered during this time period, it was never very popular stateside. The last Jeepster we looked at was shown in the pickup configuration. This vehicle was also offered in a wagon (hard top), and soft top version as well. This one came through the shop awhile back, and rolled off the factory floor as the Jeepster Commando wagon. Beautifully restored, this Jeepster sports a metallic blue paintjob, white hardtop, Jeepster badging, classic BFGoodrich All Terrain tires, fog lights, Warn locking hubs, and a roofrack. Also note the Kaiser/Jeep badge on the grille.
Classic – 1977 Dodge D100 4x4 PickupIf you're into old iron, this '77 is for you. From the era long before LED lighting, too many computer controlled systems and 20” wheels, this classic 4x4 truck made our unique rides list the second it rolled onto the lot. Here for some minor service work a few weeks back, this truck is in excellent shape for it's age. Sporting the factory paintjob and stepside bed, this D100 is ready for a day of work or recreation. Aftermarket modifications include a 3-4” suspension lift, period correct aftermarket wheels and double roll-bar, and 35” BFGoodrich Mud Terrain Tires. The D100 was produced from 1972-1980 and was rebadged as the Dodge Ram in 1981.
Classic – 1978 Toyota Land CruiserThe Toyota Land Cruiser is a descendant of the U.S. Army Jeep of World War II; built by Toyota, the original FJ prototype was produced according to US military specs. Fast Forward from 1950 to 1960, and the FJ40 was born. More refined than the BJ and J20/30 that preceded it, the FJ40 still resembled the Jeep CJ of the time and was one of it's chief competitors stateside, along with the Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer. The FJ40 continued production until 1984, and came with many different engine and transmission options, hard tops, soft tops, troop seats, and more! This version is a 1978 model, sporting a 4.2L Inline-6 mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. With a 4.10 gear ratio in the axles, the engine turns the OEM-sized tires with ease. For the 1978 model year, the FJ featured front disk breaks, but A/C and power steering did not come until the 1979 model year. This FJ was recently restored, and currently has a new Bestop bikini top (not pictured), also worth noting are the jump seats in the rear, as well as the Warn locking hubs. This vehicle is still up for sale at our shop, so if you're interested, give us a call!Modern – 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ Line-XThe Jeep Cherokee XJ was offered first in the 1984 model year, and is considered by many to be the first true SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). Featuring a unibody instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction with either two or four-door body styles, the XJ was offered with both the 2.5L and 4.0L AMC engines. The last model was produced in 2001, and features the most up-to-date OEM equipment, such as a distributor-less ignition system and redesigned intake manifolds, for example. This vehicle began life as a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport, with the 4.0L Inline-6 and 4-speed automatic transmission.For this build, the exterior was given a complete Line-X treatment, to give the body a bit more durability offroad. Lighting was upgraded to LED's, including Truck-Lite headlights and 185 watt CREE 9” lights (4 on the roof-rack, 2 on the ARB front bumper). A custom Rubicon Express/Rock Krawler 6.5” Long-Arm allows this Jeep to fit the 35” Toyo Open Country M/T's on 17” Hutchinson Rock Monster Beadlock Wheels. 4.88 gears help the 4.6L Golen Stroker turn the 35's, and ARB air lockers, front and rear, can get this XJ into and out of the woods with no trouble! A Warn Zeon 8s Synthetic Winch and a pair of D-rings aid in recovery, while an ARB front bumper and Hanson rear bumper/tire carrier and rock rails protect the front, rear and sides of the vehicle. A full JL Audio sound system, Tview Video System, and a pair of Dayton Audio 15” sub-woofers round out the entertainment package, while an ACC Mass Backed Carpet Set and Second Skin Sound Deadening kit keep road noise to a minimum. This is probably the most advanced Cherokee out there, and is certainly a one-of-a-kind head turner!
Modern - 2003 Jeep Wrangler TJ RubiTruxWe chose the modern section for this TJ because it's the first ever RubiTrux conversion! Using a 2003-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon, we completed our first truck conversion years ago; this one is shown using the GR8TOPS half-cab, a 4-5” suspension lift, chrome bullet hole wheels, 35” BFGoodrich M/T tires, an ARB front bumper, and Bushwacker flares. As this is a TJ Rubicon, it features factory lockers inside the front and rear Dana-44 axles, along with the 4:1 transfer case and a few other accessories. The Rubicon coupled the already legendary capabilities of the Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ platform with further modifications straight from the factory, and the lockers and low range transfer case let this Jeep go further than ever before, right out of the box!
Modern – 2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4When most people think of the Jeep Liberty, soccer moms, young teenage drivers or a fuel efficient commuter car come to mind. With IFS (Independent Front Suspension) the Liberty is more difficult to add, and arguably not designed for, an aftermarket lift kit, especially when compared to the Wrangler. As such, a Liberty is rarely seen with tires larger than a 31” or 32”. Due to this, the Liberty is rarely seen on any moderate or hard trails. It takes a true fan to upgrade something like the Jeep Liberty and build it into anything resembling a half-decent trail 'rig. We had this Liberty Renegade come through the shop as a consignment vehicle last year, and for a change it was built for the trail!This Jeep has since sold, but the previous owner had about 40k invested. The entire front and rear suspension were reworked, allowing this KJ to fit 35” M/T tires! Total lift is about 5”, accomplished with a Jeepin' by Al K Member Cradle Drop, new front steel upper A Arms, and a Tri-Angulated 4 Link at the rear axle. The axles have been regeared to 4.88 and fitted with ARB air lockers. Skid plates, bumpers, and rock rails protect the Liberty from trail damage; built by 4xGuard (skid plates), Rock Lizard (rear bumper), and Monitor (front bumper), this Liberty is ready for anything!Aftermarket lighting by PIAA and Rigid Industries, along with MOPAR brake upgrades and towing package, JBA steel brake lines, and an Alpine sound system round out the accessories. This Liberty quickly went to a new home, and made our list of unique vehicles to come through the shop without a second thought!
Modern - 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ RubiTrux ConversionMost of our RubiTrux conversions have around a 32-33” tire, a minor suspension lift, and retain mostly a stock configuration with paint and drivetrain components. This RubiTrux however, takes the cake. This conversion not only features 35” tires and a matte black paint job, but also a Golen 4.6L Stroker! This Jeep came to us for a custom build, starting with a low-mileage 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ. This RubiTrux received a 4” suspension lift, 35” tires, Fuel wheels, an ARB front bumper, Warn winch, IPF fog lights, N-Fab side bar/steps, and Bushwacker fender flares. A matte black paintjob and the AEV half-cab top, plus our cab closeout, Line-X bed treatment, and a Poison Spyder fold down tailgate completed the 'trux build. The Golen 4.6L Stroker added the perfect amount of power for this 'rig, turning a stock LJ into a more than capable pickup truck, perfect for cruising around town, offroad, or doing chores on the farm!Classic – 2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Golden Eagle EditionOk, so we're going to break a rule here and name this late-model TJ a classic. The Golden Eagle package became famous on the Jeep CJ line in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As such for the 2006 model only, the last year of the Jeep TJ and the AMC-era parts and design, the Wrangler sported the Golden Eagle trim package. The Golden Eagle package featured the 4.0L Inline-6, a special wheel and tire group (not shown on this model), a Dana-44 rear axle, and special hood, fenders, and spare tire decals, resembling those of the old CJ. This Jeep TJ Golden Eagle is a low-mileage, pristine example that, minus the different wheels and tire group, could have just rolled off the factory floor in 2006. As this trim package is getting harder and harder to come by, much like the Willys and Apex editions, we chose it for our list of unique vehicles!Modern – 2014 Jeep Wrangler JKU on 42's
Much like any four-door family sized SUV or minivan, the JKU is everywhere. Chances are if you see a current model Jeep Wrangler on the road, it'll have four doors, stock tires, and an automatic transmission. Hard tops have become an increasingly popular option with the current consumer market as well. As much as some traditionalists hate it, the JKU is selling like hotcakes, ensuring that the four-door Wrangler will remain in the Jeep lineup for years to come. This Jeep JKU by contrast, is about as far removed from stock as they come, and even features a manual transmission!This JKU features it all, from the unique Mango-Tango paintjob, fastback soft-top and TeraFlex High Pinion 60 Axles, it's ready to hit the toughest trails around. The lift kit is a BDS 6.5” long arm with a set of 1.5” spacers, making it just about the tallest Jeep JKU we've seen, outside of Moab or Jeep Beach! This suspension lift and the 5.13 gears housed inside the '60 axles give the 3.6L more than enough power to turn the huge 42x14.50x17 Goodyear Wrangler MTR Kevlar tires, especially with the factory 6-speed manual transmission! An ARB air compressor and air lockers help this beast navigate the tougher obstacles on the trail, while an AEV snorkel helps with any river crossings. A Rock Hard 4x4 cage helps protect the occupants, and PSC Hydro Steering, LED lighting, and a 10k winch round out most of the upgrades. To see a complete list, click here! This Jeep is still on consignment at our shop, so if you're interested in a Jeep JKU on 42's that was built right, give us a call!Modern - 2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Crew Cab
Much like the modern Jeep Wranglers, the majority of Toyota Tacoma pickups are used for more mainstream purposes than the old 1980s vehicles, and most are not equipped with bumpers, snorkles, or lift kits. However, a select few do stand out from the crowd, and this truck is one of 'em!This Tacoma features a small lift/leveling kit and some 32” tires on steel wheels, giving it a simple, old-school look. ARB bumpers, a custom bed-cage, and snorkel were also added to this truck, in addition to a Warn winch and a pair of driving lights. This unique Toyota is ready for work or play with these accessories, and certainly stands out from the typical pickup builds we see here in Boone!This concludes our Unique Rides post, but stay tuned 'cause we've got more content on the way! If you weren't able to attend our RubiTrux trail ride last week, check back in a few days; we'll summarize the route and post plenty of pictures!