People love monster trucks, and what’s better than a monster truck? A monster version of any number of much less expected vehicles. Backyard mechanics have been jacking up cars you might not have thought of as off-roaders for years. With the current safari trend, people are also lifting all types of rides, and this list is a compilation of some of the most shocking mutant creations. Read on for a list of the wildest lifted rides, that began life as a vehicle you would never expect to see on a dirt road or in a mud bog.
10 Chevrolet Corvette
The best way to make America’s sports car into ‘Merica’s sports car, is to get that sleek, low shape as high as possible. Taking a sports car and setting it on top of a truck chassis should be an Olympic sport, and this marriage of two opposites, would win gold every four years. This is somehow the most expected and least expected Frankenstein on the list. It is shocking to see yet, of course it exists. Bigger is better, and this is the biggest Vette, therefore it is the best Vette. Throw a tent and a cooler of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer in the passenger seat, and head to the mountains.
9 Ford Mustang
There were attempts to create a 4 wheel drive Mustang, even resulting in a prototype as far back as 1964. An unknown number of these conversions still exist, so in some ways that makes this the most correct car on the list. Ford was looking to sell even more Mustangs, and experimented with 4WD, so Ford fans should have no qualms about lifting up their Stangs, and sending that 5.0 power to all four tires. A little more practical than the lifted Vette, but still just as perfectly American. You get four seats, and a little bit of trunk space for your Mustang off-roading adventures.
8 Nissan 350z
In true safari style, lifting up a great handling, reasonably powerful sports car is awesome. The Z actually has a history in competing in rally, including winning the East Africa Rally twice in the early 1970’s. It is great to see people carrying on that tradition with the 350Z. When it hit the market the 350Z was a worthy competitor to the Porsche Boxster, and at a significantly lower price. Now you can pick up 350’s for dirt cheap, and that low entry point has allowed some owners to get really creative with modifications, including this awesome lifted, off-road Z.
7 Mercedes SLK
The pictured Mercedes SLK is actually a historic achiever. Jim Rogers drove it around the world, including visiting over 100 countries, as chronicled in his book Adventure Capital. This SLK is actually mostly a Mercedes G-Wagon underneath, so you know it is a supremely capable off-roader. Knowing that it covered over 150,000 miles in the three year journey, means it likely faced all manner of terrain, and obstacles. Why aren’t manufactures building cars like this from the factory? Instead we get the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. A jacked up, limited production, 4x4 convertible from a luxury manufacturer like Mercedes Benz, seems like something that really fit the ego of many super-rich auto enthusiasts looking for a taste of adventure.
6 Delorean DMC-12
Only in John Delorean’s coke fueled nightmares should this vehicle exist. It is an affront to everything the Delorean DMC-12 was supposed to be. Sure it looks cool, but it is the opposite of the low slung, mid-engined stainless steel spaceship so many of us know from Back to the Future. With the gullwing doors and low seats lifted several feet off of the ground, getting in and out of this has to be a dangerous act of body contortion. All that being said, it is GREAT! When a person takes such an iconic ride and turns it on its head, you have to show respect.
5 VW New Beetle
The VW Beetle has a long history of off-road performance, with the baja bug, and innumerable beach buggy kit cars. It’s modern sibling has not shared that same rugged treatment, until now. The real genius in recreating that magic with the much different packaging in the newer version of the Beetle, is that, with the availability and affordability of the new beetle, it is a similar value proposition to the original. It takes a special person to want to lift up the more modern Bug, but it really does work. Harkening back to fonder memories of the original people’s car. Perhaps this treatment will help to restore the allure that the Beetle brand once had.
4 VW Jetta
A close sibling of the VW Beetle, which is even more shocking to see lifted, is the Jetta. A vehicle most commonly seen parked outside sorority houses, is not something you would expect to also see fording streams, and jumping into mud bogs. Also similar to the Bug, it really does look good this way, a jacked up compact sedan looks ridiculous, and also great. Working with what you have, and making it what you want and need, should be an inspiration to us all. Taking such a common vehicle and doing something really different with it, makes it truly special.
3 Any Minivan
With everyone abandoning the minivan, in favor of crossover SUVs, hopefully some more folks will be inspired to pick one up, then jack it up. Minivans are great family vehicles, and are even great homes, but leave something to be desired in the “cool factor”. Get that extremely practical body sky-high, throw some mud terrain tires on, and go wheelin’ with the whole crew, and you will certainly have fixed that coolness problem. It doesn’t have to be a murdered-out Toyota Sienna as pictured, an early Grand Caravan with faux wood paneling would be an amazing looking off-roader. Lift all the vans!
2 Mazda Miata
Lifting a Miata is actually surprisingly common, there may even be one on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace as we speak. With a relatively easy to install kit, you can get your Miata high enough to squeeze some all-terrain tires under there. Although a little under powered, lightness and inherent balance of the Miata actually make it a decent off-roader. Plus, you get that top-down feeling, while cruising into the backcountry. With clean examples getting harder to find (and pricier), pick up a beater, then lift it up, rather than destroying a nice NA or NB. It’s bound to get some scrapes and bumps along the way, and more than its fair share of sideways glances.
1 Toyota Camry
America’s best selling midsize car is not something you expect to be lifted, but with literally millions of examples throughout the world, you know someone had to do it. People buy Camry’s because they are just basic, standard, hassle-free cars. Some heroes however, take that boring base, and destroy everything that makes a Camry good, in pursuit of something great. There is no way these jacked up Camrys are going to win any JD Power awards, but they will win the hearts of every inner-child. Taking something that exists solely for its practicality, and turning it into a freak show, is what this list was all about.