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 chassis." 
  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, (note: Micheal Robbins was the original 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
— Junkyard Life

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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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Anonymous said...

Are you sure he built this? Because my brother has pictures before, during and after while building this same vehicle.

Anonymous said...

He did not build this dude, Michael Robbins of Harpersville AL did. That's kinda shitty.

Junkyard Life said...

All involved in the build deserve credit where credit is due. I apologize for not gathering the names of all who contributed. David Russell never said he did all the work. I hope this clears up the hard feeling.

Anonymous said...

David russel didn't build anything! He bought it! Michael Robbins built it.

Anonymous said...

Yep michael built that and he also built the honda truck everybody liked am mmp import show and the one with the old ford tailights

Anonymous said...

This man is a lier,, The meep was built in my front yard in Harpersville about 3 years ago,... I have pictures from the beginning to the end product....

Anonymous said...

Jody,, you need to really re read your own article as it has David Russell building the meep from start to finish,, his story is some what correct how it came to be built, But not by him, this is the 3rd vehicle Michael Robbins has built that someone else has taken the credit for it...

Anonymous said...

The worst part about it, the guy who owns it now is military, it has a military tag on it... That doesn't say alot about him...

Junkyard Life said...

David Russell or Michael Robbins may have built this "Meep." I don't know for sure. If either or both of these guys sends junkyardlife some build photos, I will gladly post them to help settle this dispute. Game on!

I welcome other cool project built by Robbins or anyone else. Shoot me an email at


Anonymous said...

Jody thank you so much,, I can in fact send you pictures from start to finish.. And I can also tell you who owned the Miata and the Jeep.. I do not think this David Russell , who seems young to me can do that..... Mike has built 3 different vehicles, and he also won First place at Nopi when he was younger... And has also help win First place in the World of Wheels in Bham... I am proud that this young man wants to take credit for my sons work, but honest is honest.. Mike has a FB and Myspace page that should have these pictures and more on some of the other work he has done

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I'll admit I lied but its only for the sake of a good story nobody has a long conversation with somebody that says oh I just traded my 85 mustang for it especially at the hot rod tour ppl would just say oh and walk off but tell a story of how its built and now u make a friend that tells u bout all his builds from bak in the day like a dodge truck shortened up so it'll do wheelies ill admit I have a few eye catchers that I built but none as extensive as the jeep the only thing I've done to this little truck is fiberglassing the top alittle better different wheels the vlsd rear diff and sum body work to clean up the welds alittle I apologize for the lie but it makes a way more intresting story that oh I just traded off a mustang for it