Purists should look away because the starting point for this project is an immaculate Grand Wagoneer.
Is it an act of automotive abuse or modern rejuvenation to take a mint 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and fit a Hellcat V8 under the hood. Regardless of whether or not you think the work should happen on such a pristine survivor, Collins Bros Jeep already has the drivetrain swap underway.
Dennis Collins' explanation for using such a fantastic Grand Wagoneer as a starting point is that it requires significantly less work to return to a factory fresh condition. He argues that a poor quality example would require months of restoration to get it to the same state.
The Grand Wagoneer originally came with 5.9-liter V8 making 144 horsepower (108 kilowatts) and 280 pound-feet (380 Newton-meters) of torque running through a three-speed automatic with part-time four-wheel drive, including low-range gearing. Collins Bros Jeep build is using a Hellcat with an exhaust manifold from the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, so the output of 707 hp (527 kW) and 645 lb-ft (875) should provide a serious upgrade.
Collins also mentions making other upgrades to the company's Hellwagon, and the tweaks should be largely invisible to someone unfamiliar with these classic SUVs. The concept sounds a lot like what Icon does with its modernized Land Cruisers and Broncos. We would suspect a suspension upgrade, more modern four-wheel-drive system, and wider tires to handle the extra power are among the most likely mechanical upgrades. Inside, Bluetooth support would be enough to allow for music streaming.
The video below offers a recent update on the project. The body is now off the chassis, and both parts are due for a cleaning. We can't wait to see how this develops.