At first glance, the kit-based “Smyth Ute” Jeep Grand Cherokee looks like a digitally altered sport utility vehicle. But Photoshop was not used here; this is a legitimate, real-deal, customized WJ pickup complete with a 5.5-foot-long Dynamat-lined bed.
“Custom Smyth Ute,” the ad begins. “All Grand Cherokee options, leather interior, heated/power seats.”
From the B-pillar forward, this WJ appears like any other model from its generation, drawing power from a 4.0-liter inline-six that is coupled with a four-speed automatic. It’s the area aft of the bucket seats where the customization begins.
In addition to the obvious body alterations, the vehicle has been lifted 3 inches and outfitted with late-model Jeep Gladiator wheels to complete the look.
Kit cars are commonplace in the collector-car market, but the types of vehicles that usually come to mind in that context are replica Shelby Cobras, 1932 Fords and Porsche 356 Speedsters. Innovator Mark Smith from Smyth Kit Cars in Tiverton, Rhode Island took it upon himself to create a kit application for the ubiquitous 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee that gives it cargo-carrying capacity.
Mark elaborates on his website: “The WJ platform was chosen over other Jeep models because it is the last of the live axle Grand Cherokees. Since Gladiators are running over $50 grand these days, we feel this is a great way to rock a Jeep truck.”
Speaking of Gladiators, Jeep pickups are of course nothing new. The original Jeep truck launched way back in 1947 under the Willys-Overland name, and the subsequent decades brought about the FC series truck, the original Gladiator in 1963, the Jeepster Commando in 1967, the CJ-8 Scrambler in 1981, and the Cherokee-based Comanche in 1986. But one chassis that never got a proper pickup bed was the WJ Grand Cherokee – until now.
This Smyth Ute is described as having a leak-free engine, new seals and a new radiator, offering a clean Southern body to boot. The sheer novelty of driving a vehicle like this might offset the $15,900 price the seller is asking. It’s definitely bound to turn a few heads in the Home Depot parking lot.
To see this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.