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Dream Cars: Jeep Wagoneer SRT/8 or Superbird Edition

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Jeep Wagoneer
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Dream Cars: Jeep Wagoneer SRT/8 or Superbird Edition

Bill Crittenden
April 7, 2013

A few weeks ago, on the American version of Top Gear, Rutledge Wood drove a dark red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT/8 with a Hemi V8.  It was the second version of the vehicle, the first having the racing-look center exit exhaust, Rut's the duals.  I love the idea, my only quibbles with it being the 63K price tag and the lowered ride height.

Of course, once I heard the appallingly high price, my mind set about on how to build a cheaper, even cooler, version.  And here's what I came up with...

First of all go a generation back and start with the Jeep Wagoneer.  Wood paneling and all.  A retro darling of the ski resort set, it's already pretty cool.

Then give it the Hemi treatment.  Now, I know Jeep wasn't part of Chrysler in the muscle car glory years, or even when the Wagoneer was introduced, but we're bending history just a little here anyway...

Where was I?  Ah, yes...426 old school Hemi.  Also upgrade the brakes, tires, suspension, and safety equipment so the extra power doesn't get anyone killed.  Hood pins, it's gotta have hood pins.

Now, you could go full muscle car, make it low with rear wheel drive, or you could find beefed-up 4x4 equipment from the aftermarket.  I tend to prefer the 4x4, otherwise, it's just not a Jeep, right?  Keep the wood paneling, and strip off the metal to go into the paint booth.

There are a couple of options for the look of the car.  My preference is for a Top Banana or Sublime Green paint job but any of the outrageous Mopar colors of the late 60's-early 70's is appropriate, with the original wood paneling (or equivalent replacement) reinstalled, and a smaller version of the black Hemi stripe from the Hemi 'Cuda.  The stripe can be over the paint color between the wood paneling and the rear windows for extra visibility in contrast, or blended into the wood paneling for subtlety.

If you can figure out how to install a shaker hood on that big slab of steel that tops off the Wagoneer's engine bay, so much the better.

Now, THAT'S a bad-ass Jeep SUV.

I did have one other idea for the paint, though.  This one might be way over the top for a cruise into town, but in the right context you'll just be epic showing up in this:

Petty Blue all over, original wood paneling, the word "Jeep" in white on the quarter panels between the wood paneling and the back windows (done in the Plymouth font used on the Petty race cars), and a short spoiler across the back of the roof over the rear door, reminiscent in shape of a Superbird wing.  NASCAR-style side exit exhuasts, maybe a small STP sticker on the back glass and a few small 43's on the rear side windows, and you've got a hell of a truck to roll into the Talladega infield for a weekend of camping and watching racing!  Bonus points if you can get The King to autograph the dashboard!

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