Heavyweight Hauler: Dino Erickson’s Daily Driven 8-Second SRT8 Jeep

A vehicle purchase may not always be the trigger for a project car, sometimes you just happen to find a cool ride that turns into something more. When Dino Erickson purchased his 2007 SRT8 Jeep he had no clue what it would become and how far he would push the build. His twin-turbo Jeep runs deep into the 8-second zone while weighing in at nearly 5,000 pounds.

Erickson is no stranger to performance vehicles with a lot of boost; his Fox-body Mustang was known to run in the 7-second zone with a big single turbo setup. The Jeep build happened totally by accident after Erickson started making just a few small mods to the SUV.

“When I first purchased the Jeep I had zero intentions of it going this fast. I was just looking for an SUV when I bought it. I went with the Jeep because I liked the way it looked and the platform it was based on. It was something that I purchased spur-of-the-moment and it just progressed from there,” Erickson explains.

Soon after he drove the Jeep off the lot Erickson bolted a Vortech blower to the Hemi and it was running low 11s, which made it a fun ride with plenty of pep. Things got a little more intense after that when Erickson added the first turbo kit to the SRT8 and that led to it was running 9.40s while still having a full interior. Just like every other gearhead on Earth, Erickson decided he wanted to take the Jeep to a new level of performance with help from Jimmy Koutsoubis.

An all-aluminum 449 cubic-inch engine was stuffed into the Jeep that was filled with a Molnar crankshaft, Molnar connecting rods, MAHLE pistons and topped off with a set of stock cylinder heads. A stout transmission and torque converter from Paramount Performance Products was bolted up behind the engine and fed the power to the stock front differential, stock transfer case, and built rearend. A pair of 68mm Bullseye turbos got the call to work with the JTM Motorsports mid-mount turbo kit and full exhaust. AJ Burge does all of the tuning on the Jeep as well as the SUV’s maintenance.

The end result of Erickson’s work is a vehicle that weighs 4,985 pounds, has a full interior, power windows, air conditioning, and has gone 8.71 at 161 mph at the track. That is very impressive for a vehicle that is driven daily during the summer months — but Erickson is ready to go even quicker.

“I didn’t think it was possible to push a 5,000 pound SUV into the 8-second zone but here we are. Right now we’re working on putting it back together with better heads, adding nitrous, and removing some weight. When we’re done it should run in the low 8-second range,” Erickson says.

If you happen to see a Jeep SRT8 at the track with a parachute hanging off the back don’t make any bets on that race, because there’s a good chance it will run right out of your life when the tree drops!

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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