Vigilante, a Texas-based restoration and restomod shop, has revealed its latest build, a reimagined 1966 Gladiator custom.
“Our goal at Vigilante is to breathe new life into a celebrated vehicle from the past, bringing each one into the present while still delivering an authentic driving experience as first intended. Each Vigilante custom build must reflect the truck’s original authenticity, even with the modern upgrades,” comments Vigilante Co-Founder and CEO Daniel van Doveren. “Customers feel like they are stepping into a time machine when they get behind the wheel of a Vigilante Jeep. Everything looks and feels like the original Jeep fresh off the dealership floor, yet we’ve created something that can stand toe-to-toe with any modern luxury SUV. Even more impressive, we’re able to do all this without changing the essence of the original vehicle.”
The new Vigilante Gladiator custom is a two-door 1966 truck adorned with an Empire Blue and off-white exterior matched with a tan leather and Alcantara interior. Vigilante equipped the Gladiator with a 6.4-liter HEMI SRT-8 engine—good for 485 hp—while power delivery is accomplished via a 6-speed heavy-duty Tremec gearbox. In other builds, Vigilante also offers a 707-hp 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat HEMI, as well, and allows clients to choose from either a 6-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic.
In an effort to further improve the Gladiator’s road-going handling and overall drivability, Vigilante installed a 4-link modern suspension with Eibach coil springs and Fox 2.0 dampers, the company said. BAER 6-piston calipers provide stopping power, while the truck rides on 17-inch by 8-inch wheels.
Representing thousands of build hours, Vigilante personalizes each custom build with stylized original badging, logos, and emblems, the company said. For the 1966 Gladiator custom, Vigilante 4×4 created a 15-inch steering wheel with a Vigilante embossed logo from machined aluminum, the company said. Vigilante also developed a gauge cluster that looks stock but is fully modernized, updating the error lights with electronically controlled gauges that provide accurate readings of battery voltage and oil pressure.
The new Vigilante 1966 Gladiator custom started with a full 3D scan of the body in order to validate fitment over its new platform, including taking the exterior body off and stripping each part for media blasting and prepping for a complete restoration, the company said. The body is restored using heat and quench methods of metal shaping, the shop said. The vehicle than goes through an intensive plasma-based metalizing process that protects the body from rusting. Vigilante then repainted the Gladiator, which now rests on a reengineered Vigilante chassis with modern suspension and Dana 44 and Dana 60 axles.
Inside the truck, each interior piece is chromed, painted, powder coated, or covered in leather, the company said, and features a new old-stock analog clock. Additionally, the Vigilante logo replaces the original center hub. The speedometer is electronically controlled using a GPS based receiver, and all windows and door locks are electric. The Vigilante Gladiator is also equipped with a Bluetooth receiver powered by a JL Audio amplifier, speakers and two subwoofers, hidden behind the leather bench seat. Precision LED headlights are mounted in their original housings for better visibility. The Gladiator’s carpet is made of a natural woven German fiber, while the shop completely rebuilt its wing windows to take advantage of better seals and offer quieter performance. Other details include chrome and enamel badges on the front fenders to indicate the HEMI V8 engine and its 392ci displacement.