Is this 6×6-converted Jeep Gladiator ready for the apocalypse? We’re skeptical
Many folks like to obsess over the downfall of civilization. Call them what you want, but don’t call them boring. At least, don’t call the vehicles they build—or might shop for—boring. The most recent case in point is the Apocalypse 6×6. This Jeep-based behemoth may be patently absurd, but there are also some cool ideas here that could apply to some less, uh, nuclear, projects.
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The concept of a street-legal 6×6 truck is hardly new. After Mercedes cut its teeth building a 6×6 Geländewagen for the Australian Army in the mid-2000s, it produced a limited run of AMG-branded six-wheeled beasts from 2013–15, built by Magna Steyr and known as the G 63 AMG 6×6. Unlike this G-wagen, which was a factory effort, the Hellfire is a third-party affair: It starts life as a Jeep Gladiator pickup and is hand-converted by Florida-based Apocalypse into the absolute behemoth you behold here in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
The conversion leaves little of the stock Jeep intact. Each truck is stripped down to the cab and built up from there. The Hellfire spec shown here gets you a glass-enclosed rear; the Doomsday a tiny glass triangle behind the C pillar, leaving the bed open; and the Sinister 6 an open bed occupied by a rack-mounted spare. For any of the three configurations, the stock engine is yanked. The Apocalypse customer has the option of three replacements: a Chrysler 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, a Chevrolet LS3, or an SRT Hellcat 6.2-liter V-8. (Price varies from $150K to $195K accordingly.) Power flows through an eight-speed Chrysler-sourced automatic gearbox, though there is an option for a manual. The founder of Apocalypse, Joseph Ghattas, says the clutches don’t tend to last very long in this application. We’ll take his word.
Those big engines are turning six monster tires, after all. The rear axle is a custom-built unit with a pinion shaft that extends through the back of the case and connects to the tag axle. Each axle packs 5.13:1 gears to help spin the massive 40-inch tires (a $2200 option). There is nothing delicate about this truck. From the tires to the 246-inch overall length, the Hellfire means business—but does its mission make sense?
Sure, it looks crazy tough, and if you want to impress folks at the bar, this Gladiator-based 6×6 is hard to beat. If you are actually interested in an “end of the world” vehicle, this seems like an odd choice—mainly because fuel would quickly become a hyper-rare commodity in any society-crumbling scenario. A 6000-pound monster truck with 707 horsepower doesn’t sound like it passes a gas station in ideal conditions, let alone an all-out race from nuclear disaster or a horde of zombies.
All the same, we applaud Ghattas for having a vision and realizing it. With 78 of the conversions sold already, he’s clearly struck a nerve with the Hellfire. We wouldn’t have guessed that 78 folks existed who were looking to spend at least $150,000 for a Jeep with an extra axle, but hey—at $150K, this 6×6 is is still cheaper than the Mercedes option, a rig that carried a $500K sticker new and whose price has only climbed since.