Willys Jeep Deathtrap Drag Race
No doors? No problem for this Willys Deathtrap!
The Willys Jeep is no stranger to modification. These time-tested American stalwarts have been a favorite of the off-road community for years thanks to a simple, durable design and a huge selection of aftermarket parts. This particular build, however, is more at home on the drag strip than your local OHV park.
The appropriately named “Deathtrap” is a hunkered-down, pissed-off Jeep capable of laying down some seriously quick times at the strip. Deathtrap’s owner explains that it started life as a rat-rod, but the installation of a competition-grade roll cage and the addition of twin turbochargers to its already burly LM7 V8 have transformed Deathtrap from rat-rod to track god.
For those unfamiliar, the LM7 is a fairly run-of-the-mill Chevy crate engine that comes from the factory delivering between 275 and 375 horsepower. Not bad, but not exactly worthy of something called Deathtrap. The output from Deathtrap’s power plant is significantly higher, however. As its owner explains, this roughly 2,000-pound Jeep sports 661 horsepower and 805 pound-feet of torque at the wheels.
While the twin-turbo setup undoubtedly helps, Deathtrap is running a fairly modest 10 pounds of boost, so there’s got to be some magic happening inside that crate engine. Perhaps the mystery camshaft that came with it from the junkyard has something to do with this?
Putting the Power Down
As anyone who’s driven a quick pickup truck will tell you, all the power in the world won’t make for a fast truck if you can’t hook up. In Deathtrap’s case, adhesion is aided by a pair of beefy drag slicks, a Ford 9-inch rear end and a custom-adapted turbo 400 transmission. There are also steel head gaskets and LS6 valve springs to help the oily bits stay on the inside.
What does that all add up to? Well, Deathtrap is capable of eclipsing the quarter-mile in about 10 seconds flat. That’s more than a second quicker than a Corvette Z06. Keep in mind the Willys was preceded by a civilian Jeep, not a sports car.
New Tricks for an Old Jeep
Deathtrap isn’t the only chopped Willys out there, but it’s one of the baddest. As many commenting parties confirm, this track rat would have been the perfect choice for a “Mad Max” vehicle, and possibly even an upgrade for American forces in the era when the Willys was born. The Jeep’s face has made only minor changes since the 1940s, but the changes people have made to the engines have changed dramatically. It’s no wonder we’re seeing more of these at the track.
At the end of the day, Deathtrap is good fun in its purest form, and you don’t have to worry about door dings.