When you give a team of passionate engineers the green light to put together a one-off project build where imagination is the only limit, something special is bound to happen.
Enter the Jeep Quicksand, a meticulously built JK Jeep Wrangler meant to run through the sand dunes while celebrating hot rod culture with some excellent fabrication work. We had the chance to get behind the wheel in Moab, Utah during this year’s Easter Jeep Safari, an event for Jeep enthusiasts to gather together and run off-road amidst amazing scenery.
The Quicksand looks to combine 1960’s hot rod culture with what you might see at the sand dunes in Glamis or at Silver Lake. The raked stance comes courtesy of 37-inch BF-Goodrich tires out back and 32s up front, while a Dana 44 front axle and 60 in the back make sure this thing is ready for the abuse it will take at the dunes.
Based on a two-door Wrangler, the Quicksand has had its wheelbase lengthened by 6 inches, the roof and windshield have been chopped by 4 inches and a new custom forward-opening hood allows you to see the gorgeous engine with those sexy open headers.
Those feed all eight cylinders of the Mopar 392 crate engine, which have been fit with a Borla fuel injection system. Power is sent through a six-speed manual transmission, which allows the Quicksand a 77.2:1 crawl ratio at the front axle and 86.8:1 at the rear.
Climbing into the Quicksand, it’s clear that no detail was overlooked. All of the important components are here: suicide doors with top-mounted handles, a simple, straightforward red leather interior, and comfortable custom buckets.
But when you look deeper, you start to notice things like the custom shift knob (a Hot Wheels car encased in clear resin), the front-mounted “moon tank,” which actually conceals a winch on this concept and even a parachute on the rear like drag racers carry, except that the Quicksand’s chute hides a recovery rope.
Firing up this beast sends a blast of raucous tone echoing off the canyon walls of Moab, demanding to be heard by everyone in a 10-mile radius. That’s because the engine has a set of straight pipes cranking out the side, with no mufflers to speak of. If you really don’t want to deal with the noise. Jeep installed a system that allows you to switch over to a regular exhaust.
The open roof on the Quicksand is an important feature for me, as my head protrudes through that opening. Without it, the chopped roof line wouldn’t allow someone my height to even try and pilot this thing.
Slipping it into first gear, the Quicksand takes off with some authority, with no lack of power to be found here. The clutch action is a little touchy and takes some fine movements of the left foot to keep starts smooth, but once underway, the six ratios are simple to get through.
On the trail, it’s very clear that this project is based on a JK Wrangler, as it handles much like the brand’s ubiquitous off-roader. A light steering wheel and supple suspension help to absorb the rough Moab terrain, handling all of the (fairly simple) trails we could throw at it.
Style was clearly a priority with the Quicksand, and this project delivers in droves. But after spending some time with it in under the Moab sun, it’s clear that this thing is the real deal: beautiful and functional.