Saturday, June 11, 2011

2011 Hot Rod Power Tour: Jeep Miata hybrid is a 'Meep' project car that gets great MPG

A junked Jeep CJ-7 on top of a wrecked Mazda Miata. "It's what happens after too many beers," David Russell of Eclectic, Alabama said proudly. This $500 backyard buildup came to be after Russell's friend flipped his 1990 Mazda Miata over in a wreck. The little Miata's was body damaged beyond repair but the engine still ran. What to do? "We figured this old 1985 CJ I had out back might fit on that Miata's chasis." 
  The Jeep had been put out to pasture and forgotten. "We used it for target practice behind the house," said Russell. A few rounds of beer and some bench racing was all it took before the two buddies decided to hack into the two vehicles and weld them into one economical, lowrider Jeep. "It gets 30 miles per gallon and goes 400 miles on a tank of gas."    

David Russell in his 'Meep' — a Jeep on a Miata chassis. Check out the redneck-gangsta bullet holes.

Drag racing a Miata-Jeep 'Meep'
  I quizzed, Russell, the builder of the slammed Jeep just before he raced the Mazda-powered beast on the drag strip at Montgomery MotorSports Park during the 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour. The 1.6-liter Mazda engine, sporting 150K miles, propelled Russell to a 17.49 E.T. in the quarter-mile. Spinning a 4.30:1 Mazda limited slip rear end gear adds some zip to the four banger. Russell has logged about 10,000 miles since his hybrid Jeep was completed.

Mazda built the Miata drivetrain and chassis in Hiroshima, Japan. Jeep CJ-7s were built in Toledo, Ohio. Their uncommon bond formed in Eclectic, Alabama courtesy of David Russell.

Built for fun and questions
  Russell drives his 'Meep' creation everywhere and everywhere it goes he gets gobs of attention. Curious onlookers notice the Mazda steering wheel and gauges inside the CJ7, then ask Russell a series of questions. "Does it have airbag suspension?", "How did you get it so low?", "What is it?" Russell is used to the barrage of questions and eager to answer them. "The car is a lot of fun," Russell said. "That's the whole point, ain't it?"

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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Russell crafted the rear glass from a truck camper shell and molded it into a modified Jeep hardtop.

A 1990 Mazda Miata 1.6 Liter engine at home in the CJ's engine bay.

How often do you see a Jeep this low?
Generous cutting was required to get the Jeep to sit over the Miata's front wheels.

Mazda Miata gauges tucked into the CJ's dash.
No joke. This is a Jeep-Miata or just call it a 'Meep.'
Plenty of room to spare in the CJ's floorboard with Mazda Miata pedals.
Russell has taken his Jeep off-roading and this was the result. The Miata chassis has some clearance issues. 

Original Miata wheels were painted black and used on the CJ-7.
David Russell caused a stir at the Hot Rod Power Tour with his custom Jeep-Miata project.

David Russell's Jeep CJ-7 on a Miata chassis is a good bit lower than your average Jeep.

No joke. This is a Jeep-Miata or just call it a 'Meep.'

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