I don't envision myself needing the power and capability of an SUV any time soon in my life, but the Durangoneer is one ute I would drive just for fun. It's a HEMI-powered 2004 Dodge Durango chassis that's been shortened and strengthened wearing the body of a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer - early SUV looks with late model technology and capability. The Durangoneer was built as a project car for Popular Mechanics and was apparently at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, but we must've walked right by it. It's understandable, though, since it takes a few seconds to realize you're not actually looking at an '88 Wagoneer. The Durangoneer is being auctioned off next month at RM Auction's annual "Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona" auction on January 19th. What's more, any cash this thing brings in over and above $35,000 will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Follow the jump for more pics and a press release that contains additional info on the Duragoneer.

[Source: RM Auctions]





PRESS RELEASE:

CUSTOMIZED SUV PROJECT HEADED FOR AUCTION
TO BENEFIT MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION®

RM Auctions to Offer Popular Mechanics Magazine's Customized
1988 Jeep "Durangoneer" Project at RM's Arizona Biltmore Auction to Benefit
The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America

LOS ANGELES, California (December 13, 2006) Popular Mechanics Magazine's radically customized Jeep "Durangoneer" will cross the block at RM Auction's annual "Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona" auction at the prestigious Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, January 19, 2007 with proceeds of the sale to benefit the Phoenix based Make-A-Wish Foundation®.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® is the largest wish granting charity in the world and fulfilling the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions. The foundation began in 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona when a group of caring individuals helped a local boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer. Today, with the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the international Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants more than 12,500 wishes a year and has granted more than 141,000 wishes in the U.S. since inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation® visit www.wish.org

The retro-styled "Durangoneer" was featured at the 2006 SEMA Show, the 2006 Pocono NASCAR race and in the May and June 2006 issues of Popular Mechanics magazine. This "dare to be different" SUV combines the body of a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer with the shortened and strengthened chassis of a Hemi-powered Dodge Durango. It's a classic concept that remains contemporary today and will be offered at RM's annual classic car auction in Phoenix, Arizona – Friday January 19, 2007.

Celebrating nearly 30 years in the collector car industry, RM Auctions Inc. and its sister companies are responsible for acquiring, restoring and selling the world's rarest and most expensive vintage automobiles. In 2006, RM Restorations achieved an unprecedented Triple Crown, when its restorations earned "Best of Show" honors at the world's top three collector car events. For additional information on RM Auctions and this event, call: (800) 211-4371 or visit: www.rmauctions.com