1 Gary's Scrambler was fitted with Dynatrac Pro-Series 60 axles front and rear. The axles' differentials are geared to 4.56 and use Detroit Lockers for traction. The spring-over axle conversion was completed using an SPOA kit and 2-inch-lift leaf springs from Rubicon Express. Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks were on the front and rear of the Scrambler's suspension, giving the Jeep a comfortable and controllable ride on- and off-highway.
2 The aluminum belly skid is a functional addition to the Jeep, and it acts as a slider to keep the components underneath it protected from the rugged slickrock ledges around Moab. Tucked neatly underneath the skid is a rebuilt GM TH350 transmission and an Atlas 4.1 transfer case.
3 Everything has its place inside the Scrambler—the factory dash was removed and then fitted with a stainless steel dash panel. The original gauges were reinstalled with a few custom switches and knobs that were strategically placed for winch control, lighting, and onboard air. An Art Carr shifter was used for ease of shifting through the gears. To keep Gary and his family safe, Kevin Hawkins built the rollcage out of 2-inch by 0.120-wall DOM steel tubing.
4 The original AMC 258 I-6 engine was swapped out for the power of a Ram Jet 350. The crate Ram Jet V-8 cranks out an estimated 350 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque and was a great powerplant choice for the oversized Jeep with lots of heavy custom tube work. A Be-Cool radiator keeps the engine running cool, and an Earl's cooler keeps the transmission in check.
by Kevin McNulty photography KEVIN MCNULTY
Trailer queens just ain't our thing. We guess that's why our staff shares an affinity for rusty, dented, and well-beaten 4x4s that are functional and trailworthy.
However, we always appreciate a good-looking, squeaky-clean rig that's well used and ready to tackle the toughest terrain. When we found Gary Thorn running his super-sano Jeep Scrambler over the tough trails of Moab like it was one of the staff's rusty trail relics, we just had to stop and take notice.
Obviously not all trail rigs start off this way; they morph into these incredibly agile
machines through bags of money, hard work, and lots of late-night wrench fests. This old Scrambler is a frame-off custom-built rig, and the quality craftsmanship that has gone into the Jeep ensures that it's going to last a lifetime.
It's not evident by looking at the Jeep, but this old CJ-8 has been reliably running the trails around Moab for five years. That's a great testament to a good builder and a skillful driver. Gary recruited one of Utah's renowned Jeep builders, Kevin Hawkins, for the Jeep's resurrection. The Scrambler was completely disassembled—all parts were stripped, painted, and then reassembled. Gary's idea was to build it right the first time so he and his family could explore and conquer the deserts and mountains of Utah in style, comfort, and safety. O
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