Rare Egyptian Military Diesel Jeep T1
U.S. regulations often keep "the good stuff" off the domestic market. Always looking out for our best interests apparently, the government creates an active gray market for Cuban cigars, certain pharmaceuticals (some of which are available over the counter in adjacent countries) -- and unique vehicles.
The Jeep T1 is an example. It's basically an extended-wheelbase TJ pickup powered by the VM 2.8L common-rail diesel (CRD). The vehicle was built in Toledo for foreign military use, primarily in Egypt. So, NHTSA standards such as airbags didn't apply. Also, the T1's CRD didn't have to pass U.S. emissions. Lack of an EGR makes it more powerful than the "cleaner" 120HP/240LB-FT version found in our domestic Liberty.
Internet research reveals only a handful of T1s in the U.S. Some have ties to Mopar Underground, the concept vehicle division at Chrysler. In fact, an offshoot of this group assembled a one-off T1 for Moab in 2008. They basically swapped the overseas-spec 2.8L CRD into a U.S.-spec LJ to see if a business case could be made for a Mopar diesel crate-engine program. (Bruiser Conversion took the idea to market, although with a four-cylinder Cummins 4BT diesel instead of the VM 2.8L.)
You Can't Have One
The T1 shown here is owned by Kevin Dill. He's not the average enthusiast. Dill is the Advance Adapters' engineer responsible for the Atlas transfer case. He subsequently worked as the lead engineer at Superlift Suspension and is currently a consulting engineer for Dynatrac.
Dill became aware of the T1 while doing a Hemi swap in his LJ. He noticed that this military Jeep had the same wheelbase as the 4-door JK (the military version of which is called the J8 or Storm in the Middle East). Fresh off an engine swap in his Jeep, Dill liked the idea of a factory-installed diesel. He began researching the T1. After about a year-long quest, Dill got in touch with a friend of a friend of his dad's, who worked in Saudi Arabia for one of the U.S.-based petroleum companies and had business contacts with Middle Eastern importers. Money changed hands to someone affiliated with the company that ships these military Jeeps to the Middle East. This is supposedly the last T1 of a handful that didn't make it out of the country.
Shortly after acquiring the T1, Dill disassembled it. His goal: customizing the vehicle to work well off-road and play up its military bloodlines. Dill's overall concept was the Tactical Jeep (prior to the vehicle-mounted .50-caliber fad).
Dill kept the OE 2.8L CRD and NV3550 five-speed. The rest of the drivetrain was upgraded with products Dill helped create: a 4.33:1 Atlas transfer case, a Dynatrac/Mopar-spec Dana 60 rearend, and a Dynatrac/Mopar J8 Dana 44 front end with a Mopar Big Brake kit and Superior shafts. Alloy USA 5.13 gears are in the diffs, as are a JK Rubicon electronic locker in the front and a Detroit Locker in the rear.
Dill also used products he designed for the suspension. He modified a Superlift TJ Long-Arm 4-inch lift kit for the T1's 22-inch-longer wheelbase. He added the Black Diamond Rear Coil Correction kit, which relocates the top mount so that the spring sits vertically instead of canted. This makes the rate more consistent as the coils compress. It also helps control weight transfer, particularly during hillclimbs.
Bilstein Rock Crawler coilovers control the front. Remote-reservoir Bilstein 7100s damp the rear. A GenRight front swaybar kit helps control on-road cornering. Dill also used a GenRight aluminum gas tank.
To fit 40s with only four inches of lift, Dill used the AEV Highline fenders and Heat-Reduction vented hood. An AEV Brute cab retains the T1 Jeep pickup look while providing weather protection. Dill trimmed and installed a Daystar 1-inch body lift kit to give a little extra tunnel and fender clearance.
DuPont olive drab paint was shot by Jamie Morganthal at Jamie's Body Shop (Downsville, Louisiana). Stencils for the military-inspired graphics were designed and cut out by Jason Bradley in Superlift's marketing department.
Dill finished off the Jeep with accessories that keep the Jeep clean and somewhat militaristic while improving off-road capability. See the accompanying images for more details.