Text by Daryl Hutson : Photos by JcrOffroad : Issue 44
All drivers will require a mustache. That was always the plan at JcrOffroad when we set out to build our 2-door 2008 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon, ProjectCrusader. That meant it had to be clean, capable, and just a little bit retro. Something Burt Reynolds would drive… in Moab.
With that in mind, we got to work. We’ve always loved how Jeeps with long wheelbases work on the trail, so the 1st step was installing a Jeep Works JK stretch kit. It adds 10″ between the doors and rear fenders, and with some expert paint and body work, it’s hard to tell it’s not factory.
For good measure, we installed a Rock Krawler Off Road Pro Coil-Over stretch long arm, pushing the rear wheelbase back another 6″ for a total of 111.5” – perfect for crawling. Because breaking parts isn’t fun, the axles are full float Dana 60’s from Teraflex, stuffed with 5.38 gears, ARB lockers, and RCV shafts up front. Then we wrapped 40″ Nitto Trail Grapplers around 17″ Trail Ready Beadlocks. A pair of Adam’s Driveshaft 1350s makes sure that when we get happy on the throttle and loose on the clutch, we can make it over the obstacle… AND home.
The 3.8L V6 engine from 1st-gen JK’s gets a bad rap for being an underpowered minivan motor. But instead of swapping it out for an LS or a Hemi, we installed a RIPP supercharger, begged them for a smaller pulley, and installed their full stainless long tube header and exhaust system. We think it was a great move, as the Jeep has run flawlessly. It makes great power. And it’s a joy to rip through the 6-speed manual while the supercharged 3.8 makes all the right, pissed-off noises.
All of the bumpers, sliders, and armor are production JcrOffroad parts. (Except for a pair of prototype aluminum stretch rear corner armor with integrated flares, and a custom roll cage.) A 10″ stretched Bestop Trektop keeps the rain out of a mostly stock interior, besides Bartact seat covers and a Kicker VSS audio system.
We went back & forth on the paint for days, but ended up picking GM Subterranean Metallic Brown. It was a choice that garnered a lot of opinions, both positive and negative. That is – until we laid down the yellow, orange, and red vinyl stripes! People have mentioned the color scheme makes them nostalgic for the mid 80’s Jeep CJ Renegades, T.C.’s helicopter from Magnum PI, or the iconic Ivan Ironman Stewart tri-stripes. For us, yeah, it’s a little bit of all three.
In person or in photos, this Jeep always makes us nostalgic for the toys and TV shows we loved as kids. And it looks REALLY fantastic being driven with a mustache.
Eat your heart out Burt.