The Jeep is often referred to as the original off-roading 4X4, and its distinctive design remains one of the most iconic images from the Second World War.
But when Jamie Marshall of Grand Falls-Windsor gets behind the wheel of his 2007 Jeep Wrangler, he takes off-roading to a whole new level.
Onlookers can’t help but stare in amazement, and perhaps wonder; is it a Jeep? A snowmobile? Or maybe a lunar vehicle?
The body is a normal Jeep, but it’s the devices upon which the vehicle travels that catches your attention, and gives it extreme all-terrain capabilities.
Instead of the big, knobby tires you might normally find attached to this sport-utility vehicle, Marshall’s Jeep has tracks.
That’s correct. Tracks.
It’s a rubber track system called Mattracks, and Marshall installed the $20,000 system last year so he could travel in comfort to his cabin.
An unstoppable machine
He believes it’s the first time a passenger vehicle in this province has been outfitted with the system.
“I love going to the cabin every weekend, but I don’t like [snowmobiling],” Marshall said. “I like to do it in comfort.”
Marshall recently gave a demonstration of the vehicle’s capabilities, proving there’s not much that stands in its way.
A five-foot incline? No problem.
An alder bush? You can listen to the branches snap.
A snow-covered marsh? Just watch the snow fly.
Need to head to the corner store for some supplies? Get back on the road and travel up to 60 km/h.
“There’s not much going to stop it,” Marshall said.
Marshall is also the province’s only distributor of the Mattrax, which is sold out at Central Auto Glass in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Caught the attention of police
Marshall believes the tracks distributes the vehicle’s weight to about four pounds per square inch, allowing it to travel in deep snow and muddy conditions.
“The spots I can drive over, if you got out you wouldn’t be able to walk there, if there was enough snow,” he said.
The system is made by a company in Karlstad, Minn.
It’s common to see similar track systems on all-terrain and utility vehicles, but not on street-legal vehicles like the Wrangler.
Marshall said he has caught the attention of the police, but officers have told him they see no reason why he can’t drive it on public roads.
“I don’t have to worry about shovelling the driveway,” he said.