Over the years, Sam Patton has developed his passion for four-wheeling into one of the finest 4WD centers in the Midwest and Southwest. With projects ranging from a blown V-8 Toyota pickup to a white Jeep TJ with blue flames, Sam's Offroad has nearly always had vehicles that serve as rolling testbeds for experimental modifications. The shop works on all kinds of 4x4s, doing many engine swaps and building tough, custom axles. However, Sam's Offroad's greatest expertise is building hard-core Jeeps. The company does great things with YJs and TJs, but for serious off-roading, Sam prefers the good-old CJ.
Sam's '84 Renegade CJ-7 has undergone a vast array of modifications as the proving ground for new aftermarket parts. Nicknamed HEEPEE (a combination of Jeep and heap), the rig has taken Sam and co-driver/mechanic/spotter Mike Cox to tough truck events around the country.
The HEEPEE sports a 400hp Chevy 350 TPI built by Keith's Automotive and Machine, with assembly work done by Tudor's Machine Shop of Tulsa. An ACT shifter controls a 700-R4 tranny equipped with a non-lockup TCI stall torque converter with a Derale remote cooler that delivers power to an Atlas 4.3 twin-stick transfer case. Custom driveshafts with huge 1410 U-joints send the front and the rear power to Sam's Offroad five-lug, high-pinion Dana 60s equipped with 35-spline axles, Detroit Lockers, and 5.13:1 gears.
Because Sam drives aggressively in extreme terrain, he kept the center of gravity close to the ground by using 2-1/2-inch Superlift leaf springs in a springover configuration and a Sam's Offroad rear traction bar that eliminates any axle wrap. The conservative lift effectively clears the 39.5-inch Boggers wrapped around 15x14 Alcoa wheels with M/T bead locks. A Sam's Offroad dual shock hoop combined with dual Old Man Emu XTR shocks tame the frontend, while single shocks do the job in the rear. This shock configuration allows for a controlled ride while providing plenty of wheel articulation. On a 30-degree ramp, HEEPEE scores a 985. An AGR power-assist steering system and a Sam's Offroad steering box bracket with a Currie steering brace keep the HEEPEE pointed in the right direction.
A Ramsey Platinum 9500 winch complete with a Master Pull 3/8-inch nylon winch rope sits atop a Hansen front bumper. In the tub, a custom rollcage and Steel Horse SuperSeats protect the occupants. An ACT shifter, installed at a 45-degree angle between the Tuffy console and the dash, is easy to see and reach. A custom 20-gallon fuel cell and additional Tuffy locking boxes fill the area behind the seat.
Sam's staff enjoys 'wheeling hard-core trails in well-built four-bys, but they realize that most people who drive 4WDs and SUVs never learn the joys of four-wheeling. Therefore, each Spring and Fall, the staff of Sam's Offroad teams up with Ramsey Winch and local four-wheelers to put on a novice run in Clayton, Oklahoma. Experienced four-wheelers teach the newcomers basic off-road driving skills, including trail etiquette and the importance of treading lightly. On the trail, greenhorns not only learn how to drive stock 4x4s, they get to see how aftermarket equipment can enhance the capabilities of rigs such as Sam's HEEPEE. Many rookie drivers become serious four-wheelers at these novice runs, and before we know it, our sport has gotten just a little bit bigger.
SpecificationsVehicle: '84 Renegade CJ-7
Owner/hometown: Sam Patton/Tulsa
Frontend: High-pinion Dana 60 w/ Detroit Locker
Rearend: High-pinion Dana 60 w/ Detroit Locker
Suspension: 2-1/2-inch Superlift springs in springover configuration
Tires/wheels: 39-1/2-inch Boggers/15x14 Alcoa wheels w/ M/T bead locks
Added features: Non-lockup TCI stall torque converter; 1410 U-joints; five-lug axles; Sam's Offroad rear traction bar; Sam's Offroad dual shock hoop; Old Man Emu XTR shocks; AGR power steering assist; ACT shifter; Tuffy console; custom 20-gallon fuel cell; Optima battery; Currie steering box brace; Sam's Offroad steering box bracket; Ramsey Platinum 9500 winch; Hansen front bumper