Reader's Jeeps : Craig Stumph's 1968 Commando
Craig Stumph's 1968 Commando Short Cuts

Craig on Cliff Hanger - Cat Canyon run in Delta, Utah

Owner : Craig Stumph Equipment and Modifications:

Vehicle:1968 Jeep Commando (kind of)
Vehicle name: Commando
Location: Delta, Utah
Most recent outing: Helped organize and lead the Notch Peak Rock Rally on some of Utah's funnest, and least known 4x4 trails, just west of Delta, Utah.

Wipeout hill
Craig and son Mike
Vernal, Utah.
Cliff Hanger
Dallas Stumph and Brandon Gillen watch Craig on Cliff Hanger,
Cat Canyon in Delta, Utah
Commando Corner
Craig made this obstacle now christened Commando Corner
Vernal, Utah
  • Motor--Chrysler 440 big block
  • Tranny--Chrysler 727 w/ Transgo shift kit
  • T-case--Dana 300
  • Front Axle--Dana 44, 5.38 gears, ARB locker
  • Rear Axle--high pinion Dana 60, 5.38 gears, spool
  • Axle Shafts--Moser rear, Warn front
  • Brakes--front Scout discs, rear disks home made (Chev/Ford combo)
  • Drive Shafts--rear home modified F250, front Gloeco long travel
  • Tires--38x15.5x15 Super Swampers
  • Wheels--10"x15" steel wheels
  • Suspension--Wrangler springs, 2.5" Rancho rear (buggy springs),
    4" Skyjacker front in home made SOA with shackle reversal
  • Shocks--Rancho 9000s
  • Winch--Ramsey REP 8000
  • Bumpers--none "because bumpers suck"
  • Rocker Skids--home brew, cut bottom of the body off, welded tube back

  • Other Accessories

    full roll cage, home built
    900 CFM Holley Projection
    B&M Mega Shifter
    large tranny cooler with fan
    large Derale oil pan
    custom traction bars f&r, home built
    body shortened 16" with 100" wheel base
    lots of body trimming to clear the tires and rocks

    Future plans

    front Dana 60
    Atlas transfer case

Notes from Craig

The Commando is a project that is never done. When I first started building it I decided that a no holds bared/no compromise vehicle that could take a beating was needed. It also had to be cheap. I have since discovered that everything is a compromise & most of the stuff is expensive.

I have used parts that were readily available and cheap in our area for construction. That is why the drive train is part Scout & discarded demolition derby parts. The engine, frame, T-case, front axle and tranny were all purchased for $400. I got the body for $29. The cost since then has soared to $12,000 in the stage it's at now. But that's not bad for a competitive vehicle that has run in the ARCA and Warn events.

I have stayed with the all out theme. This means that road manners don't matter and trail performance is paramount. In spite of that it still drives OK. I wouldn't drive it to the Rubicon, but I wouldn't be afraid to go short distances if the Highway Patrol would leave me alone.

The Commando is built to be light weight, as light as you can get with a 670 lb. 440 big block on board. I have used components that would hold up to abuse that were readily available and cheap. Everything has been cut off or raised that could hang up or get damaged. The whole vehicle is custom from front to rear. I did all of the work in my garage except for cutting down the reverse rotation Dana 60 rear which was done by Beach Off Road.

Future plans call for an Atlas T-case and Dana 60 front. That's for when I win the lottery. For now I'm stuck with the Dana 300 & 44. The Vernal ARCA event wasted 2 front U joints, two hubs, and a stub shaft. I can't believe we even finished with all that stuff broken.

My favorite trail is Upper Helldorado in Moab. This trail just flat kicks butt!! The West Desert trails near Delta Utah are my second choice. Cat Canyon 4+, Chainsaw 4+ and Lizard Canyon 5++ all are really cool and close to home.


Cat Canyon Cat Canyon

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