Transamerican Auto Parts (4 Wheel Parts’ parent company) named the winner of the third-annual “Life is Better Off-Road” vehicle-build competition last Thursday at the 2017 SEMA Show. This year’s best presented, truly off-road capable truck, Jeep or SUV on display at the Show as deemed by an elite panel of off-road industry experts, was Synergy Manufacturing’s ’71 Jeepster Commando built on a ’17 Jeep JK Unlimited chassis.
The ceremony, held at the Pro Comp/Transamerican Auto Parts SEMA Show booth, was hosted by yours truly, alongside the panel of judges featuring some of the most distinguished names in off-road vehicle engineering and development, fabrication, journalism, and motorsports.
“Synergy’s Jeepster Commando captures the essence of the Life is Better Off-Road Award for its on and off-road capabilities and the perfect blend of modern 4×4 technology and vintage, attention-grabbing style,” said CEO Greg Adler, 4 Wheel Parts’ CEO. “There was clearly a lot of thought, effort and skill put into this build and with so many over-the-top trucks and Jeeps on display at the Show, this simple, clean, well-executed project represents exactly what this award is all about.”
And, I can definitely second Greg’s enthusiasm for this build. I went and found every truck and jeep who’d entered the competition and although they were all amazing, Synergy’s Jeepster was the kind of car you’d take your wife to brunch at Cheesecake Factory then hit the hills for some wheeling.
I spoke with Synergy’s Dave Schlossberg who said his team began with a ’71 Jeepster Commando that had seen better days and mated it to a brand-new Jeep JKU Chassis. With nearly 50 years separating these two Jeeps, they set out to keep the stock appearance and the Jeepster’s 101″ wheelbase while completely modifying the frame and suspension.
Synergy’s competition included the following finalists. And they were all amazing. For a moment I thought Chris’ Bronco and Skyjacker’s Bronco may take home the award. But then I saw the Jeepster. And, to be honest, I’m not a huge Jeep fan. But you have to give credit where credit is due.
Daystar – CJ10 Honcho
The SkyJacker – ’66 Bronco
Fear One – ’18 Chevy Colorado
Hellwig Suspension Products – ’17 Ford F-350 XLT,
Chris Payne – Chevy Colorado
Chris Payne – Prerunner Bronco
Doetsch Off-Road – ’17 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
IT&A Off-Road Jeep Wrangler Rubicon