Moses Ludel’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine – Show-Winning Jeep XJ Cherokee Sport 4×4

Custom 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee Wins at East Coast Car Shows!

Photos by Tim Swank

Tim Swank's 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee show winner

Tim Swank’s show winning 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee 4×4 is an East Coast sensation! In 2012, the Jeep trophied 8 times, with three ‘best of class’ wins. Tim’s Cherokee takes on the showy ‘Vettes, Camaros, Mopars and vintage rides. He does his best to represent Jeep, showcasing the Cherokee against street-only trailer queens!

Front grille view of 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee show 4x4
ARB diff cover on 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee 4x4

Tim describes his Cherokee: “It doesn’t get dirty like most Jeep 4x4s, as it is a show car. However, my Cherokee would be equally at home on the trail—and boy, do I sometimes get the urge to go crawlin’ with it!”

The Jeep came from a salvage yard operation that had 20 Cherokees laying about in various states of disrepair. Tim took home the best one he could find, and even that Jeep was rough. He picked this Cherokee because it had a new 4.0L crate motor installed.

Tim notes, “The previous owner didn’t seem to understand the value of keeping oil in the crankcase! I took the Jeep home and ran it back and forth to work. After a while, I decided to turn this Cherokee Sport into the 4WD vehicle that it is today.”

He started with a 4-1/2″ lift kit from Rusty’s off road, AR rims and a set of 32″ tires. Tim then sprayed the undercarriage and added ARB differential covers. He comments, “The paint was in decent, original condition, so I washed it, clayed it, and worked in some compound and polish before the wax job…I then dressed up the engine bay and added a K&N intake and Moroso wires.”

Later, Tim had the upholstery redone and added the stunning, show winning details seen in these pictures. He did most of the work himself but did have some help on the suspension lift and upholstery. The results of all this tasteful work catches the attention of car show judges!

Custom interior on show winning 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee 4x4
Attention to detail in Tim Swank's 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee 4x4 show model

“I started running out of things to do to the Cherokee, when I decided to add the sound system,” Tim notes. “I don’t think my neighbors were too excited about that— but at least they can tell when I’m coming or going now!”

Underhood of 4.0L 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee 4x4
Custom sound system in 1998 Jeep XJ Cherokee Sport

Tim has a lot of fun taking the Jeep 4×4 to car shows. He intends to show the Cherokee throughout the 2013 season and beyond. “It might not be as fast as the Hemi ‘Cuda that I park next to at a show,” he shares. “But I’m pretty sure that the ‘Cuda doesn’t do rocks very well!”—Owner Tim Swank, Millmont, PA

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