Is this $137K SEMA-built Gladiator the overlanding Jeep of your dreams?
Each year, hundreds of companies vie for attention at Las Vegas’ SEMA show by building the most impressive and eye-catching feature vehicles imaginable. You can find everything from lowered vintage pickups and turbocharged muscle cars to race-ready exotics and off-road-ready adventure rigs like this 2020 Jeep Gladiator that is listed for sale on eBay.
The list of modifications made to this crew-cab crawler for its SEMA debut is extensive. It rides on 40-inch Toyo Open Country mud-terrain tires mounted to KMC beadlock wheels and Currie high-pinion Dana-60-style axles. That’s a seriously sturdy axle meant to take a beating and keep on going, as Dana 60 axles were originally meant for 3/4-ton trucks. The Dana 44 axles found on your typical Gladiator are pretty stout, although the added strength will certainly be needed: This Gladiator is packed to the gills with aftermarket parts that likely put it close to its maximum weight rating.
It’s got a Thule Tepui Explorer tent, a roof-top rack with full-size spare, Pelican cases for gear, two CO2 tanks for running air tools or filling those big tires, and brawny bumpers front and rear, with the front one packing a 15,000-pound winch. And that’s not the half of it. The listing goes on to detail dozens of aftermarket products for the interior, engine, suspension, as well as gear to make its off-road adventures more fun.
Before you write off a Gladiator as too big to tackle trails, we were of the same mind before we visited Easter Jeep Safari and saw some of the long-wheelbase beasts amble over obstacles that left shorter-wheelbase rigs spinning their tires.
Unfortunately, the impressive build comes with a hefty price tag. The Buy-It-Now number is $137,500.00, which, according to the tally given by the seller, is still less than the Jeep’s original MSRP plus the cost of the parts used to build it—not to mention the cost of labor for installation. That price may be shocking to those in the market for, say, a regular Gladiator Rubicon (~$50K), but with the kinds of prices we’ve seen at dealerships lately, a turn-key off-road rig with SEMA cachet may be tempting to well-heeled buyers. After all, we have tested brand-new 4x4s with price tags in excess of $100,000.
We’ll be keeping our eyes on this formidable machine. We’re curious whether off-roaders will be interested in a fully-built ride or if they, like many custom-car fans, enjoy the build as much as the final result and are often picky about parts selection. Let us know what you think in the comments below.