This is the perfect car for those who can’t choose between a Japanese sports car and an open-top Jeep.
When you think of a Jeep Wrangler, odds are you imagine taking the top off and driving far off the beaten path. Maybe even crossing a river, or taking a trip down to Moab for the annual Jeep Safari. One enthusiast in Los Angeles looked at a TJ-generation Wrangler and immediately thought about performance. Better yet, he built his dream rig, and how he’s selling it.
This is no ordinary 1997 TJ-generation Wrangler. The stock engine has been replaced by a straight-six borrowed from a Toyota Supra. A large turbo that sticks out of the hood like a groundhog popping out of its burrow helps the six-cylinder make 350 horsepower. The stock five-speed manual transmission sends power to the rear wheels only.
You can tell this is no ordinary Wrangler just by looking at it. There’s the turbo, of course, but the seller has also added what’s referred to as an “angry grille,” LED headlights, fender flares, and aftermarket wheels. The upgrades continue inside with a new gauge cluster, a three-spoke steering wheel, and four leather-upholstered bucket seats borrowed from an Acura RSX Type S.
You could drive this Wrangler as is, or you could spend a weekend wrenching on it to make a few improvements. The seller notes the fuel gauge needs to be wired up if you want to know how much gasoline is left in the tank. The heater lines need to be installed, which you can probably put off until winter depending on where you live. There’s no A/C, either. If you’re feeling extra brave, you can install the parts required to send power to all four wheels, and tune the engine to get a lot more power out of it.
Located in Los Angeles, the Supra-powered Wrangler is listed at $20,000 on Craigslist. That seems steep for a 20-year-old Jeep, but it’s actually reasonable considering the amount of work that went into building this thing. Besides, your other option if you want a really fast Jeep is the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which is expected to cost in the vicinity of $80,000.