This Viper-Powered Jeep J10 Pickup Truck Is What the Gladiator Could’ve Been

Disappointed that you can’t get a new two-door Jeep pickup? Build your own, and swap in an 8.3-liter V-10 while you’re at it.

byCaleb Jacobs| UPDATED Apr 19, 2019 9:08 AM
This Viper-Powered Jeep J10 Pickup Truck Is What the Gladiator Could’ve Been

While many are in the market for a new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, others have an undying affection for Jeep pickup trucks of yesteryear. The Gladiator may be the automaker's first vehicle to fit in that category in over two decades, but some diehards aren't buying into the hype and have, instead, opted to create their perfect off-roader with old-school sheet metal. This Jeep J10 is an example of that, and while it looks ready to go anywhere in style, it's what's underneath the hood that demands all the attention—an 8.3-liter, Dodge Viper-sourced V-10.

This stellar build was completed by Nefarious Kustoms in tandem with Hodson Motorsports, both of Las Vegas. The crew took the 1983-model pickup and equipped it with all the necessary bits to go desert-bashing across the barren Nevada landscape, creating the handsome brute that's got a VooDoo Racing Innovations-tuned powerplant making upwards of 510 horsepower and 535 pound-feet of torque. And not only that, it sounds good to boot (don't listen to those who think the Viper's exhaust note resembles a dump truck instead of a sports car—that's silliness).

Nefarious Kustoms

Extensive work was put in to ensure a proper fit of the almighty V-10 that's bolted to a 48RE four-speed automatic transmission. An NP273 transfer case, Ford HP Dana 60 front axle, and Ford Sterling 10.25-inch rear axle are also in place with Yukon 4.56 gears to make the most out of trail- and rock-crawling situations. Collectively, these drivetrain components are tough enough to not only withstand the way-over-stock power output but also the harsh conditions they'll be up against at the hands of owner Riley Hodson.

A set of 37-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers provide the needed traction, assisting the seemingly countless amount of upgraded suspension components in transversing major obstacles on sand, gravel, and slickrock. A custom-made radius arm suspension can be found at the front, and moving to the rear, a trick four-link setup lies within the back-half tubed chassis setup. Upgraded sway bars are, of course, in place as are triple-bypass Radflow 2.5-inch coilovers.

Then, for aesthetics, the pickup was coated in Opal Blue metallic paint with a matte clear coat. This accentuates the Jeep's bed step-sides, which were widened six inches by the fab crew, and is complemented by a custom aluminum roll pan and Gladiator Rhino grill. Nods to the SRT-10 moniker can be found throughout, and the truck's interior is adorned in various badges and stitching that further reiterate it's far from stock.

Altogether, this truck is a muscle-driven machine that's a nice refresher when spotted on the trails next to the usual Wranglers and '90s XJ Grand Cherokees. Oh, and even though we loved the new Gladiator, it isn't even in the same league.