The Sandstorm concept was inspired by Baja desert racers, and it’s more than a pretty face.
Underneath the bright exterior of the Wrangler JL four-door–based vehicle, the front Dana 60 axle has been moved forward 4 inches and it’s located via a heavy-duty four-link long-arm suspension.
Out back, the Dana 60 axle was pushed 2 inches rearward and is located via a triangulated trailing arm four-link suspension. This longer wheelbase helps to increase high-speed stability. Custom coilovers and bypass shocks have been added and Sandstorm is said to have 14 inches of front and 18 inches of rear wheel travel.
Other mods include a vented carbon-fiber hood, vented high-clearance front and rear fender flares, and a cage that includes a rear-mounted lay down–style spare tire carrier. The rig is powered by a 6.4L Hemi V-8 mated to a six-speed manual transmission and rolls on 39.5 BFGoodrich Krawler tires.
You should hear Sandstorm growl. It really sounds good. It looks fast and it is fast. The suspension works very well on high-speed sections, but we wanted to know how it crawled, so we asked to put it on some rocks. It did well, and the suspension that kept it stable and smooth through the high-speed rough stuff transitioned to the rocks nicely. Sandstorm looked like a four-legged spider as it slowly crawled the rocks, keeping the BFGs in contact with the ground. Visibility is fantastic and the overall aesthetics make Sandstorm look fast, even when it’s sitting still. This is a multipurpose 4x4 that I would love to own.
Christian Hazel, editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road: If you want a modern Wrangler to have upper-level capabilities in the rocks there are many suspensions that will fit the bill more than nicely. But if you want it to excel in the rarified world of high-speed rock racing, combining prerunning with desert racing, Mel Wade at Offroad Evolution is the man.
And the chromoly long-arms with bypass shocks and coilovers on each corner to achieve 14 inches of front and 18 inches of rear travel, a massive pair of Dynatrac ProRock axles, and a stupid-powerful 6.4L Mopar crate Hemi backed by…wait for it…a six-speed manual transmission make the Sandstorm one seriously fun go-fast machine.
Sean Holman, content director of Truck & Off-Road Group, The Enthusiast Network: Rad. It’s a fast plaything, a second vehicle that you should own if your backdoor leads out to open desert and you like omelets for breakfast, especially if the trail happens to end at the local grocery store. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to get milk and eggs every day? While not exactly practical for daily driving, you have to be in the right mindset to truly enjoy the ethereal experience that comes with the wind in your hair, the clicking of bypass shocks, and the deep-throated rumble of a Hemi at full tilt while powersliding around a sandy corner.
Rick Péwé, editor, Jp Magazine: When the Jeep design crew dreams up a new vehicle, they make sure it’s going to be over the top. In the case of the Sandstorm, they also made sure it was fully functional, and capable of blasting through Baja like it was second nature. The look is purely race inspired, as is the awesome link suspension that soaks up the bumps at speed and still delivers a pleasing road ride with good manners.
With plenty of horsepower in Hemi form the Sandstorm still retains a six-speed manual, which while not what most real racers would use, is still more fun than letting a slushbox do all the work. Lots of power and light weight is key to this smart-looking ride—we just wish they would make it a reality for us to buy.