Through a haze of dust and dirt we caught a glimmer of where we’re headed. Straight ahead (faster than feels right) and then deep down into the corner… the whole car sliding… sideways… a cloud of dust against the sun… then back on the power… dirt flying; the grumble of the 500hp Hemi as we accelerate. Then we watched as a cloud of dust enveloped our photographer, Daniel Snare. “Run it again”, we’d hear across the UHF. The occupants in the car grinning from ear-to-ear at the thought.

Our naturally-aspirated, dust-filled shenanigans quickly reminded me of a quote from Hunter S. Thompson.

“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.”

We were surprised at how well the lifted SRT suspension handled the trails. Surprisingly, the stiffer springs seemed to help us on the trails. Granted we weren’t doing any rock crawling. But we often found ourselves flying over trails we would’ve slowed down for in the Overland, (now demoted to the odd-role of chase car for the weekend).

The grumble of the 6.4L has been accentuated by a cold air intake and I found myself constantly inspired to push on the skinny pedal. Windows down, radio off quickly became the configuration of choice. Deep muddy ruts became an event and instantly brought a grin. Mash the throttle, spin all 4 tyres and see how much mud you can throw on the Jeep behind you. With the grunt of the 6.4L always on-tap, we never felt the need for 4-Low. Some have asked if we plan to upgrade the transfer case. This is only our first trip off-road, but so far it doesn’t seem like something we’re missing. Out on the trails, the extra wide 12.50” tyres gave us heaps of traction, but when combined with the large 1.75” offset, we found we were a bit wide for some of the tighter trails.

We installed a new Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform up top before the trip and again we broke one of the bolts in the roof. It forced us to run without the spare tyre and jerry can on the roof for the entire trip. We’ll need to look at a fix when we get back to the garage. It seems the Rhino Rack mounting feet just aren’t up to the task. We had the same problem with the Overland. I can’t say for sure, but it sounds like something that might turn into a product.

Don’t change the channel; we’re only getting started and we’ve got heaps more to share. Next up, the crew at Seven Slot Off-Road remove the drivers seat (and a lot more) to run wiring and switches for the (11) off-road lights from Hard Korr Lighting. Then we run-off to the Glass House Mountains for our next off-road adventure.

PHOTOS  Daniel Snare Photography   |   WORDS  Bill Mackin