These days, SUVs grabbing the slices of the pie that used to be reserved for wagons and other segments only seems natural—we’ll remind you that carmakers like Jeep have been playing this game for decades. For instance, the brand used the term “Sport Utility Vehicle” in the sales brochure of the original Cherokee, which was offered between 1974 and 1983. And while the “sports” bit was partially present thanks to an optional 401ci (6.6L) V8 delivering 215 hp (218 PS), this rendering proposes an all-out Trackhawk makeover for the classic Jeep.
Based on the Wagoneer, the SJ-generation Cherokee was introduced as a two-door model and didn’t receive rear doors for the first three model years. Digital artist Jim (a.k.a. jlord8) has kept most of the retro styling cues in place, with the little details he tweaked making a serious impact.
First and foremost, the ride height and the wheel/tires were updated, with the enthusiast, who is a graphic designer, introducing not one, but two iterations of the work. So, depending on your preferences, you’ll get modern Hellcat wheels or vintage-flavored mag units with a finish so shiny you’ll notice it from a mile away.
The grille, side graphics, and the top finish are also among the variables here and we suspect some of you might wish to mix the elements from the two approaches—for one, it’s not difficult to imagine chrome fans willing to keep the mag wheels with that polished grille.
A simple mention of Mopar’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is enough to make us imagine the kind of stunts such a Jeep could pull with the aid of over 700 horsepower. If, however, you’d prefer an approach that’s closer to reality, you might wish to check out the build in the YouTube clip below, which is as close to this digital dream as we’ve gotten in the real world, at least as far as Internet-documented projects go.
Greg Huizenga of Kentucky fitted his 1975 Cherokee with a Gen I 5.7L HEMI, which, with the help of a turbocharger, more than doubles its factory output of 350 hp (this is claimed to make 880 ponies).
And while purists might not agree with the underpinnings being based on a Chevy C10 chassis (1967-1972 generation), seeing this thing engaging in autocross activities as if it were a sportscar might change their minds.
The quarter-mile? This Cherokee has heard of it and can complete the task in 9.9s at 140 mph, which isn’t too shabby.