Do you remember those dreams you had, as a kid, when you wished you could drive around a lifted convertible Chevy Astro van?

Ok, I don't either, but forget BMW – this is the Ultimate Driving Machine.

(Full Disclosure: I'm a cinematographer, and I currently work in the firearms industry, which is a trip, to say the least. As a gearhead, I'm lucky enough to enjoy the full range of vehicles associated with the work – whether it's WWII deuces, jet boats, tanks, ORVs, fully kitted overland Jeeps and Tacomas, ExMOD Land Rover Defenders, or 8-wheeled Soviet troop carriers.)

I know very little about 1980s jeeps. Here is what I do know:

  1. While I was shopping around for a Tacoma, my wife left me unsupervised for a minute and I ended up behind the wheel of an '89 YJ with a 350 swap and a welded rear diff. Thought I was gonna die.
  2. That's all.

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I read the Jalopnik article about Texas hunting trucks a few months ago but forgot about the phenomenon until I found myself in a sunflower field on a dove hunt about ten miles from the Mexican border.

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This rad CJ7 conversion (if you can call it that) rolled up, and I immediately knew I had to write a piece on it. Driven by the farmer whose land we were hunting on, about all I got out of him was "mumble, mumble, 258 six cylinder, mumble..."

He later told me that he used to build much bigger ones when he lived in Florida – to drive through the swamps (screw boats!)

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That was that, and we loaded up and drove out to shoot some doves with our suppressed shotguns.

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Exterior: 1/10

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I couldn't decide if I should give it a 1 or a 10 - it's beautiful in a way that only gearheads can understand. Custom bumpers, railings, platforms and steps – and seats and lights and controls and really everything.

Off-road Ability: 15/10

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This thing could take you anywhere – though I might install a roll cage – or seatbelts.

Braking: 10/10

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It stopped when asked it to stop; what more do you need?

Acceleration: 3/10

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Ya know. Felt pretty torquey, though.

Ride: 10/10

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So cushy. I don't know what kind of van they ripped those seats out of – but they made a great choice.

Handling: 4/10

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It's no BRZ - but it can hold its own in a straight line.

Interior: 6/10 (Or is it actually the exterior?)

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Definitely minimalist, though less Bauhaus and more Deliverance. Extra points for pvc pipe steering column and wood accelerator pedal!

Gearbox: 5/10

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Rusty machete included.

Accessibility: 10/10

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Want to climb in the back? You can do that. Want to sit in front of the driver? You can do that. Want to hang on the side carrying a shotgun and ride around like a maniac? You can do that.

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Value: 10/10

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I would absolutely buy one of these, even if the only place I could drive it was my half-acre back yard. I like to imagine throwing a cooler in the back and tackling Hell's Revenge in one of these.

There ya have it – for those of you looking for a solid alternative to that Unimog you found on Craigslist, I guarantee that this is the most helpful review you'll read all day.

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74/100

Engine: 4.2L AMC I6

Power: 98 HP / 193 LB-FT

Transmission: 3 Speed Automatic

0-60 Time: Dude, who knows?

Top Speed: Don't know if I'd do much more than 5 or 10 mph.

Drivetrain: 4 wheel drive / Dana 300 Transfer Case

Curb Weight: 2,707 pounds (pre-modifications)

Seating: 2 up front + 4 up top + probably 4 more = 10ish, plus a hunting dog

MPG: Suck it!

MSRP: Priceless.

You can find me on Instagram @maxdaines.