Grand Cherokee Extraordinaire
Extensive Aftermarket Mods Result in One Unique Jeep
It takes more than just a quick look to ascertain the identity of this impressive red cruiser. Sure, there's the seven-slotted grille up front, which is a real tip-off, but from other angles the vehicle's lineage could be tough to pin down.
Scott Gregory's '97 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been extensively redone -- from comprehensive bodywork to a reworked interior, a beefed-up powerplant, totally new suspension and rolling stock, and much, much more. In fact, Scott's Jeep features some of the most extensive modifications we've seen to date -- and that says a lot. Much of the work was not achieved strictly with off-the-shelf aftermarket parts; Scott has personally performed all of the custom work that makes this Grand Cherokee one of the most unique SUVs on the road today.
In building up the Jeep, Scott, of Irvine, California, was basically a one-man show -- he personally designed and built the Jeep up to the level you see here. The very detailed work included modifications to the Grand Cherokee's body and suspension, extensive performance upgrades, interior refinement, and the addition of an impressive audio/video system.
At first glance, the modifications that really catch the eye are the Jeep's exterior body upgrades, which change the look of this SUV from mild stocker to wild shocker. Scott fabricated a one-off body kit for the Jeep, resulting in a very unique look. For a rugged look and lasting durability, the body kit uses custom metal fenders at all four corners. Setting off that body kit nicely are APC 6-inch off-road lights, Maxxim LED taillights, an Erebuni hood using Cosworth-style hood vents, and shaved taillights, door handles, and radio antenna. The in-your-face paintjob is the result of a Sherwin Williams Ultra 7000 Jeep Flame Red hue, protected by five coats of clearcoat.
Suspension tweaks result in a lower-riding Grand Cherokee with greater road-handling abilities. Upgrades include H&R Springs, Bilstein shocks, an IPD rear sway bar, and a Hotchkis front sway bar and solid link trailing arms. Scott was a bit creative in his choice of rolling stock, and the Jeep now rides on 20-inch chrome Chrysler Prowler wheels wrapped by Michelin Pilot XGTZ4 tires of the 275/35-RZ20 variety. Chrome differential covers provide a finishing touch to the suspension cues.
Pop open the hood on this extraordinary Grand Cherokee and you're greeted with enough performance upgrades to make any horsepower fan sit up and take notice. The Jeep's 5.9L powerplant has been extensively reworked, and fitted with an impressive array of power-enhancing products. A Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger system is the most predominant of the power adders, and is further boosted with the aid of an Auto Specialties 14-pound pulley. Two additional RC Engineering 72-pound fuel injectors pump more fuel into the engine, along with that extra air, and the eight stock injectors have been upgraded to RC Engineering 235cc units. Additional spark is provided by HGK Racing sparkplugs, MSD wires, and a Crane HI-6 ignition with timing retard. To control that additional air/fuel mixture a Kenne Bell ECU upgrade has been installed, which raises the rpm and optimizes the Jeep's fueling abilities.
Additional engine work includes SPAL dual electric fans, a 185-pounds-per-hour fuel pump, Crane hardened pushrods, and a real power adder, a Nitrous Works 50-shot nitrous system. A variety of Mopar Performance equipment is also part of the horsepower equation, including a double roller chain, a high-volume oil pump, race gasket sets, forged pistons, shot-peened and polished rods, a high-volume water pump, performance rod bearings, stainless valves, and more.
Much of the engine work was performed by Vellios Machine Shop in Lawndale, California. In order to transfer all of that power to the drivetrain effectively, a Transgo Torqueflight shift-improvement kit has also been installed, and the transmission runs more smoothly with B&M shift transmission fluid and Supercooler.
To better expedite the elimination of exhaust gases and provide a few additional ponies, a custom after-cat exhaust system has been welded into place, consisting of 2-1/2-inch headers, 2-1/2-inch Magnaflow mufflers, and Car Sound high-flow catalytic converters, culminating in a set of Borla carbon-fiber exhaust tips. Also part of the exhaust/intake system is a carbon-fiber/poly-filter intake from ROAR. To make the engine bay look as good as it performs, a number of carbon-fiber panel pieces have been installed, including a custom battery cover.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee's interior also benefits from an extensive aftermarket treatment. A B&M hammer-shift handle takes the place of the stock shifter, and a set of APC white-face gauges now adorn the instrument panel. In addition, additional gauges from Auto Meter now give readouts on boost pressure, nitrous pressure, air/fuel ratio, and fuel pressure. An Auto Meter Pro-Shift light system displays the best shift points, and a Mopar navigation system helps out in directional mishaps. Aluminum floor plating adds a bit of shine, and Street Glow blue neon adds some glow under the seats, headrests, and in the trunk.
Audio/video entertainment abounds in the Jeep, including an extensive stereo system and video entertainment on three TV screens. The system is orchestrated by a Panasonic head unit, which includes a DVD system, and is powered by four Coustic amps -- three 2x60-watt stereo units and a 300-watt mono unit. Image Dynamic speakers provide the sound, with a set of 6-inch speakers and four sets of combination (mid/low/tweeter) units. In addition, an Image Dynamics 12-inch sub-woofer and a custom carbon fiber ported bass tube provide the low tones. A Panasonic 7-inch LCD in the dash receives video signals from the head unit, as do a pair of MA Audio 5-inch LCDs in the headrests. An Odyssey battery, smaller than the stock unit, but capable of producing 1600 cca, provides power to the system.
As Scott cruises the streets of Southern California in his radical Grand Cherokee, he's become accustomed to the wide stares and open-mouth looks. A true custom vehicle with an abundance of aftermarket wizardry, this Jeep is anything but commonplace. This extraordinary vehicle is definitely one of a kind, and provides inspiration to other SUV owners that strive to diversify their chosen rides.