With the launch of the all-new Jeep® Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS) upon us, there has been a lot of excitement about the return of the beloved American icon. However, we have seen a lot of criticism from the original Wagoneer (SJ) community saying that the newest iteration of the popular nameplate isn’t the vehicle they were hoping for. But there are options for those who are looking for more of the traditional Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer.
For over 25 years, companies like Wagonmaster have been rebuilding, restoring, and selling various SJ models (Cherokee, J-Series, Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer), many of which look just as good or if not better than the day they rolled off the assembly line. Some of those models are going for big money, with some being just as expensive as the new Grand Wagoneer.
But what if that isn’t even good enough for the diehard Wagoneer fan? What if you want a modern-day suspension, powertrain, braking ability, and a lot more power than the original? Well, a Texas-based company may have the answer.
A sister company to classic Jeep restorer JEEPHERITAGE, Vigilante 4×4 maintains the classic Jeep look of the famous SJ models of the past with the underpinnings and powertrains expected in today’s vehicles.
With the original SJ chassis never intended to handle 450+ horsepower, Vigilante 4×4 created their own all-new stronger chassis from scratch. With 3D scanning and modeling, a prototype was built using 5mm steel (the original used 3mm) and assembled and fitted with original parts like engine, transmission, transfer case, axles, and suspension components for testing.
Vigilante 4×4 then test fitted all body styles of the SJ platform with their chassis, this included the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, Cherokee, and J-Series pickups. The new Vigilante-chassis incorporates things like FOX™ 2.0 shocks, 6-piston Baer performance brakes with 14-inch drilled/grooved/ventilated discs, and Eibach coil springs. Each chassis goes through a finishing process that includes sandblasting, powder-coating, and cavity coating all before the vehicle is assembled.
Vigilante offers three choices of Mopar-backed powertrain options for their builds. The standard 6.4-liter HEMI (Apache) V8 delivering 485 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque is a solid choice for any condition.
There is the option for a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V8 making 707 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque to be dropped under the hood, but obviously, cost extra. There is also the option for the massive supercharged 7.0-liter HEMI Hellephant V8 cranking out 1,000 horsepower and 950 lb.-ft. of torque, pending if inventory is still around.
All three HEMI engines have the option of either being mated to a Tremec TR-6060 6-speed manual transmission with a McLeod RXT hydraulic clutch or a Bowler 4L80E 4-speed automatic transmission. Each of the Vigilante 4×4 builds are fitted with an Advance Adapters Atlas-II transfer case with 2 manual speeds, a high range of 1:1, a low range of 1:3.45, a Helical gear transmission, and a reinforced case.