This is restomodding done right.
There is some controversy surrounding the word restomod's definition - basically a classic car that has been restored using modern parts - as some feel it can go a few steps too far. How much can you replace before the restomod becomes a new car? We'll leave that thought for the Ship of Theseus philosophers before the Vigilante Grand Wagoneer induces an existential crisis.
To us, Vigilante has created the perfect restomod. Classic design, but with modern underpinnings that cater to the wants and needs of contemporary customers. Not just from a design perspective, but when it comes to safety as well.
Vigilante essentially renders one of our main criticisms against the modern large SUV moot. They all pretty much look the same. You get slim headlights and an oversized grille. Examples include the new Grand Wagoneer, Chevrolet Suburban, and BMW X7. Even Rolls-Royce built its SUV around the same template.
Vigilante gives you the pleasing exterior of the original Grand Wagoneer, but with a modern powertrain and a handcrafted chassis. The latter is the most essential part of the build, as it demonstrates the lengths Vigilante went to to ensure this restomod drives like a modern SUV.
Instead of simply upgrading the suspension components attached to the old ladder-frame chassis, Vigilante designed an entirely new platform tailored to the Grand Cherokee body's dimensions.
This meant it could fit a modern engine and all of the suspension components and brakes the car needed to cope with the massive increase in power. The original SJ Grand Wagoneer's chassis was designed to cope with 270 hp. With the new chassis, Vigilante says it can safely handle up to 1,000 hp.
There are three engine options available to Vigilante customers, all Mopar crate motors. The base engine is the standard SRT V8 producing 485 hp. If you require something larger for towing, Vigilante will happily equip it with the 707-hp Hellcat motor. The famous 1,000 hp Hellephant engine is also available if you need enough power to restart a planet.
To ensure the Grand Wagoneer can cope with all this power, Vigilante includes Eibach coil springs and Fox 2.0 dampers. To slow it all down, it has Baer six-piston calipers. The wheel size has also been increased to 17x8 inches to allow more room for bigger drilled and ventilated discs.
Vigilante claims the overall performance is comparable to that of a modern SUV.
"The creation of this platform was a real challenge. It was complex and long, but the perseverance paid off. Thousands of hours of work were necessary and have been rewarded with this exceptional result that we are proud to offer through Vigilante," said CEO Daniel van Doveren.
The only downside is the price. It starts at $265,000 for the standard V8, while the 707 hp powertrain adds $15,000. The largest engine option costs $25,000 extra. While this may seem like a lot, it's not that bad compared to some high-end SUVs. It's around the same as a Bentley Bentayga and a lot less than a Rolls Royce Cullinan. And it's more elegant than both.