I was up in the tower with Lohnes, getting a break from the heat when we both saw it. Among the hot rods, budget swaps and other assorted race machines was a red Jeep Liberty that looked bone-freaking stock. At first glance I was prepared to hear Brian switch back into announcer mode and promptly recommend that the owner of a red KJ move their ride immediately, that if it wasn’t towing a vehicle in or out, it wasn’t welcomed in the staging lanes. I was waiting for the punchline to be delivered…”oh, sorry, we’ll get it moved.” We waited. And waited. And when it made a pass, we both were just sitting there…dumbstruck. That was a bone-stock Jeep Liberty.
Naturally, it isn’t. But there were only two tells in the whole program: the “LS-Droid” windshield banner and a second exhaust pipe, the same size as the factory unit. Remove the windshield banner and hide the extra piping, and keep it all quiet, and you have a money maker that even die-hards would have trouble seeing. I never found the owner, so I can’t tell you what exactly is going on here besides the obvious. There’s a V8 where one shouldn’t be, and somehow the rest of the drivetrain is living with the added grunt. The interior is as OEM as the day is long…no screens or laptops on the seat for information, it all appears to be going through the stock Jeep gauge cluster.
Who in their right mind V8-swaps a Liberty and keeps the whole thing looking OEM? Someone whose wallet is feeling a little bit empty, that’s who.