Custom Jeep® builder Vigilante 4×4 has recently introduced a new offering in its lineup of resto-mods. The Johnson City, Texas company, specializes in full-size Jeep (SJ) models built between 1964 and 1991, and its latest creation is a stunning 1966 Jeep Gladiator pickup.
While several companies out there specialize in restoring SJ vehicles, Vigilante 4×4 sets it apart from the competition by using modern-day powertrains. Some of which are capable of producing up to 1,000 horsepower. While the original SJ chassis was never designed to handle that amount of power, Vigilante 4×4 has created its own chassis using 3D scans of original bodies to ensure proper mounting.
This 1966 Jeep Gladiator J-2000 4×4 is powered by the same 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) HEMI® SRT V8 found under the hood of the 2023 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack. Producing 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque, the HEMI outpowers the original AMC 327 cubic-inch V8 that could be found in the Gladiator in 1966. That engine only made 250 horsepower and 340 lb.-ft. of torque.
In addition to the HEMI engine, Vigilante 4×4 also installed a modern suspension and brake components to ensure the truck drives just as good as any new Ram 1500 off the dealer lot, if not better. The truck now features a four-link suspension with Eibach coil springs, FOX™ dampers, and 6-piston Baer brakes.
However, this is just the beginning of the resto-mod process at Vigilante 4×4. After sandblasting and coating the original body, it is rebuilt with either the original components or replicas. The Empire Blue exterior of this resto-mod conceals a cream interior upholstered in high-quality leather and Alcantara. The truck also features replica badging, with a unique twist with the new displacement of the HEMI engine laying in the engine bay.
For those looking at customizing their SJ, Vigilante 4×4 offers a range of powertrain options, ranging from the entire lineup of HEMI® Mopar crate engines. Customers can choose a powertrain that best suits them and their driving style. This includes a choice between manual and automatic transmissions. This particular Gladiator features our pick, a 6-speed manual.
But while Vigilante 4×4’s builds look amazing, they aren’t necessarily cheap. And that is because you pay for what you get. These beautiful, tough, and modern powered pickups start at around $295,000. Of course, that cost can vary based on the number of customized options performed for your build.
Vigilante 4×4 1966 Jeep® Gladiator J-2000 Image Gallery: