There is a school of thought that espouses lightness in off-road machinery. The theory is, when weight is removed, less power is required and the vehicle can hop up on rocks and maneuver around obstacles with less effort, resulting in surprising performance, less cost, and less component breakage. We've even known a few people who make it work.

The Jeep you see here is not one of those. It is the product of a firm belief that there is no substitute for thicker steel and heavier components, and if you need more power, quit complaining and get more power. It's definitely heavily built, and definitely powerful, with drivetrain components upgraded all the way down the line, from output shaft to hub. And while it is carefully calculated to remain technically street-legal, it's built to within an inch of becoming a trailer-only monster Jeep. No, this is not about the theoretical elegance of lightness. This Jeep is about the certain advantages of more power, more ground clearance, more axle, and more tire, plus extensive armor hardening. Suspension travel is extreme, even when the anti-roll bars remain linked, and with two Detroits in place, this Jeep will go where you point it.

Like a lot of Jeeps, this one is always changing, and even now sports a few prototype parts from owner Andy Cohen's company, Finishlinewest, which has been outfitting a variety of image vehicles with custom-designed parts since 1983. These include side armor bolder-basher pieces, and removable extra-wide fender covers that help keep the rig street-legal.

We drove this 2008 Jeep almost 500 miles over a period of three days, which included some urban driving and quite a bit of time on the highway. With anything this heavily modified, there are bound to be a few quirks, but in its element, this rig is a thing of beauty.