1967 JEEPSTER COMMANDO
PATINA AND RACE CAR PARTS
Patina and race car parts.
1 The all-aluminum L92 engine came out of a Denali and generates approximately 525 hp with aftermarket valve springs and a cam. Brian Shirley wanted the engine topped with an oil bath air cleaner from a 1948 Ford truck to provide a more vintage look than a composite intake manifold.
2 The front suspension is a three-link with a Panhard bar. Tribe 4x4 built the lower links from 2-inch aluminum and capped them with
11⁄4-inch greasable FK rod ends. King 21⁄2-inchdiameter coilover shocks are complemented by King 3-inch bypass shocks to let Shirley go as fast as he wants in the dirt.
JEEPSTERS ARE POPULAR THESE days. The purchase price is low, the wheelbase is perfect for most trail use, and the look is distinctly vintage. These are the factors that motivated Brian Shirley to turn this 1967 Jeepster Commando into the ultimate Ultra4 prerunner.
Having purchased the Jeepster in a field in Oklahoma for the paltry sum of $2,200, Shirley dropped it off at Tribe 4x4 in Fort Worth, Texas, where Adam Scherer and his crew performed a full makeover. Dubbed “the Sleepster,” there is not much left of the original Jeepster under the weathered sheetmetal.
Shirley is a longtime rock racer, and his son Levi is carrying on that tradition as one of the premier drivers in King of the Hammers and the Ultra4 series. The Sleepster uses many of the same components that the Shirleys have relied on in competition, such as the Spider9 axles, ARB Air Lockers, King shocks, and Maxxis tires. But instead of having to crawl over a door bar, the Sleepster is comfortable to get in and out of, has air conditioning, and is just as at home on the street as it is in the rocks. That is a winning combination regardless of the sheetmetal it is found under.
“It is basically a race car”
The interior features headed PRP Endura reclining seats with faux ostrich vinyl, a race radio, a full stereo, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, and even air conditioning. Shirley monitors the engine’s vitals through the Racepak gauge cluster, and a shifter from a Malibu rows the 6L80E transmission from Zero Gravity Transmissions, which is mated to the Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case.
The front axle is a Spidertrax Spider9 with a
10-inch Gearworks high-pinion differential filled with 6.20 gears and an ARB Air Locker that mate to 35-spline Spidertrax axle shafts. PSC provided all of the steering components, including the Saginaw-style box, pump, reservoir, and hydraulic assist ram.
Out back, Tribe 4x4 trussed the Spider9 axle before loading it with a high-pinion Gearworks 10-inch third member with 6.20 gears and an ARB Air Locker. The 35-spline Spidertrax axleshafts are used in the full-floating rearend, which is capped by lightweight Spidertrax disc brakes.
The rear suspension uses tubular trailing arms constructed from 2-inch heat-treated chromoly and triangulated upper links to locate the axle. King 21⁄2-inch coilovers and
3-inch bypass coilovers and bypass shocks are set up to work in any terrain from rockcrawling to high-speed two-track to the pavement.
The rear body panels were removed to push the rear axle back and open the wheelwell up for the 40-inch tires. Chad Mahone painted the new skins to match the patina found on the original sheetmetal. Also visible is the 16-gallon fuel tank that Tribe 4x4 built to fit between the framerails.