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The Jeep faithful are a unique bunch of gearheads often found with dirt-filled grins and rarely caught without a tow strap on hand. But this one is a bit different. Hiding in a field of pony cars, Vipers, and purpose-built racers is this lowered, straight-six 1997 Jeep Cherokee.
Built, driven and owned by Grant Skidmore, it features a stroked 4.6L crate engine from Golen Engine Service that delivers a bit more grunt than the original. Behind the new stroker is the factory AX15 5-speed transmission, clutch, and 8 ¼ Jeep rear axle.
A 4.6L stroker engine gives the Jeep a little more grunt than the factory 4.0L.
Rather than traditional jeep mods such as a lift, larger tires, or other off-road goodies, Grant went in a different direction, chasing cones rather than boulders.
He dropped the front himself using a stock front axle tube from an ’04 Cherokee. He welded that tube to the original axle tube and cut off the ends, essentially raising the spindles up into the body. The new, lowered stance along with some stickier street rubber helps the car hunker down and handle.
Grant competed in MoParty’s autocross and had a blast. The expansive cargo area even made loading up tools, a tent, and friends that much easier.