Hot Rod Jeep
This isn't a ride you typically see in the pages of Popular Hot Rodding, but after reading the letter and specification list sent by owner Lee Rottenberg, we had to give him some credit. Reading through the By The Numbers box, it's hard to believe this isn't the makings of a Camaro or a Chevelle. This '89 Jeep Wrangler was built to model after those cars. Since he was 14, Lee has been deeply involved in racing cars, mostly around the road course, but he hits the dragstrip occasionally as well. In 1987, Lee was hit by a drunk driver, which resulted in the amputation of his right leg above the knee and extensive damage to his left. This took him out of the clutch-actuated road race world.
Rather than giving up on cars all together, he embarked on this project with his son. Though a '60s or '70s Chevy would have been an obvious pick, they wanted something a little off the beaten path. The requirements were that the car would drop into the 11-second quarter-mile bracket, be fun to drive, and safe on the street with room for four. Lee joined a Jeep forum to see what he could do that hadn't been done before. The guys on the forum insisted that Jeeps were made for the dirt, and what he was doing wouldn't work. "In New York, there aren't many places to go off-roading, so that makes all the lifted Jeeps in the area just for show," Lee says.
He was going to take the Jeep over to his friend's body shop to use the equipment and to get some help to swap the motor and transmission, but after a lift was offered to Lee, the body came off, and a full restoration followed.