Screenshot: Hoonigan

Another of Jonathan Ward’s incredibly over-the-top builds, this beast started life as a Kaiser Wagoneer and has been given a complete ground-up rethink thanks to Icon. With a modern GM V8 and matching up-to-date drivetrain components, this truck is ready to bomb the beaches or carry its owner and their family to a cabin in the woods. With everything you might look for in a modern SUV, including ice cold air conditioning and enough power to haul serious ass, but in a gorgeous vintage wrapper, this Wagoneer is the perfect weekend road trip machine.

Ward brought this beauty in blue down to the Hoonigan Garage to talk about all of the engineering that went into building this monster. As you watch this episode of Build Biology, listen for Ward to say “we built” or “we engineered” in regards to various components approximately one hundred million times, because nearly every piece of this truck is bespoke or custom. Ward reckons the only stock components left on this 60s SUV are the bodyshell, steering wheel, roof rack, and seat frames.

This is a long video, clocking in at longer than your average sitcom, but the finished product is interesting enough to warrant your attention through the whole thing. Ward himself is an entertaining fellow, bringing some levity and entertainment factor that the average vehicle engineer doesn’t have the capability to produce.

As America goes gaga over crossovers and unibody SUVs, let’s take a moment to look back and appreciate the awesomeness that is a large body-on-frame proper SUV with a pair of stick axles, a big V8, and properly good off-roading credentials. This truck just instills in me a desire to go get lost in the woods for a week.