Nothing is better than building a vehicle to do exactly what you want and your passion. For Jode Douglas, it was building a 1991 Jeep Wrangler into the ultimate dune machine that could handle the sand but also something that could hit the pavement.
Douglas grew up in the dirt, which fueled their passion for building the Wrangler into what it is today. From a young age, Douglas was out not only riding but building vehicles as well.
”I was three years old when I started building tricycles and bicycles,” Douglas said. “By age seven, I was building go-karts and tricking out big wheels. At eight, I rode my first minibike with a five-horsepower Briggs engine on a mountain in San Diego.”
“I started racing BMX at nine, and by age 10, I had my first KX 80. I got an ATC 110 when I was 12 and built it to a 125 with a Bandito frame before I got more into bikes and a 250r three-wheeler at 15. When I turned 16, it switched to larger vehicles and a 1980 Dodge D-50 with a Jeep transfer case and Dana front axle.”
Douglas's Wrangler did not sit remotely close to how it does now. It was something that Douglas knew would be a project and get it to where it sits now.
“My Jeep was a stock 1991 Wrangler with a four-cylinder when I acquired it,” Douglas said. “I bought it from a neighbor who had to move downtown and had no parking. It took 10 yrs to build to the point where I was pleased with it, and it's still a work in progress. I had a shop in El Cajon install the engine while I did the rest of the work myself.”
There was a plan behind Douglas’ build, which was known from the start. The Jeep was destined to hit the dunes and play in the sand.
“The Jeep was built to handle the sand in Glamis,” Douglas said. “I wanted a leaf spring Jeep to go through all the dunes, race up all the hills, then hit the 78 and drive to Brawly for food and beverages.”
Douglas’ 1991 Wrangler has transformed quite a bit and is now packed with goodies to help in the dunes. The Jeep features a built 4.3-liter V6, custom leaf spring suspension, and Walker Evans wheels wrapped in Goodyear MTR tires.
That’s not all that’s been added to the Jeep. It also has Metal Cloak fenders, a Poison Spyder rear bumper, Warn 8274 winch, onboard air, Rugged Radios VHF, an Atlas 4 transfer case, an NV4500 transmission, a Dana 44 front axle, a custom corporate 14 bolt in the rear, 20-gallon gas tank, Corbeau seats, train horn, and PSC steering assist.
“My favorite part about the Jeep is how versatile it is,” Douglas said. “From going on-road to off-road and taking on the sand to rock crawling, this Jeep does it all. I always take the Jeep to Glamis, my heart is in the sand.”
Douglas would like to thank MIT El Cajon and Loftis Motorsports for their help on getting the Jeep to where it is today.
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