Built 383 Small Block Chevy with Eagle Performance Assembly, Icon Forged Pistons, Flat Tippet COMP Cam, Flotek Aluminum Heads, Harlan Sharp Rocker Arms, Edelbrock Air Gap Manifold and 3310 Holley Carburetor + Upgraded NV4500 Transmission + Atlas II Transfer Case with 3.8:1 Crawl Ratio + Dynatrac ProRock High Pinion Dana 60 Axels with 4.56 Gears + Disk Brakes + ARB Air Lockers + Pro Rock High Ground Clearance Housings + Custom Built 3/8” Skid Plate + Spring Over Axel Conversion + 37x12.5x15 Goodyear MTR tires + 15x10 Rock Crawler Wheels + Mile Marker 9500 Winch + Tuff Stuff Front and Rear Bumpers
The story of this particular 1989 Jeep Wrangler goes back to the mid 1990’s. Around this time Mortie’s son, Nate, had gained his learners permit, and, with the help of Four Wheeler Magazine and the Quadratec catalog, a love affair with Jeep was born. He would spend the following years dreaming of the day he would own his own Jeep and the customization he would do to it. To Nate’s dismay, his friend Brennan achieved the dream of owning a jeep first, when he bought this one in 1998.
Over the years this Jeep has seen its share of the country, and of the torch.
After high school, Brennan joined the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, California. The Jeep followed him there as his daily driver up until 2005 when a major overhaul was planned. Over the next couple years, he did a great deal of work to the Jeep, including replacing the tired 4.2 liter 6-cylinder motor and automatic transmission with a 350 Chevy V8 and NV4500 4-speed manual transmission mated to an Atlas II low range transfer case. High-end Dynatrac ProRock Dana 60 axel assemblies were hung below a spring over axel conversion making way for 37X12.5” Goodyear MTR tires. Front and rear Tuff Stuff bumpers made room for a Mile Marker 9500 winch up front and full-sized spare in the back.
In late 2008, the Jeep was finally all dialed in and cruising the sunny streets and infamous dunes of Southern California. Shortly thereafter, Brennan got married and celebrated 10 years in the Navy. With that anniversary, he and his new wife decided it was time for a change of scenery, and of focus, as they uprooted and moved to Northwest Florida for a new assignment. Over the next eight years they would criss-cross the country multuple times all while furthering Brennan’s military career. Unfortunately, a hopped-up monster Jeep isn’t something that travels well cross country. The Jeep was first put in storage in Utah with the hopes of retrieving it once they settled in one location. A few years and couple kids later, the realization set in that this Jeep was no longer practical for a growing family. The Jeep was hauled back to Sioux Falls, SD where Brennan’s uncle took control of it. Sadly, his uncle passed away in 2018 and the Jeep was once again back in Brennan’s possession in Oak Harbor, Washington.
In 2019, Mortie’s Speed and Equipment was just getting off the ground and we were looking for a project Jeep to use at off-road events all across the country. We needed something with good bones that we could make our own. A quick conversation between Brennan and Nate made it clear that this 1989 YJ would be the perfect candidate. With the amount of work Brennan had previously done it was still a very capable off-road machine, it just needed a little freshening up.
After an exhaustive four-day, 3,128 mile trip over the Rocky Mountains to Northwestern Washington and back, the Jeep had finally found it’s home. The Jeep that Nate had envied so badly 20+ years prior was finally his.
The vision for this Jeep will likely be an ever-evolving process that flows with our business. We are currently in the process of pulling the old tired 350 Chevy engine that was in the vehicle and replacing it with a 383 Chevy stroker engine that had previously lived in a road racing Corvette. The body will get a few upgrades along with the interior. We’ve stripped out miles of unnecessary wiring from inside the vehicle and are going only with what’s needed. Again, this isn’t going to be a daily driver but strictly a company vehicle used for promoting our business all over the country. As our business and capabilities grow, so will the work done to this Jeep. For now, it’s a lot like our business: stripped down and bare bones, a little rough around the edges but looking for a slice of adventure. We’ll see what happens to the both of us as time goes by, but this much is guaranteed: It’s going to be fun!