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2008 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited: The Future Is Now

Posted in Features on May 1, 2011
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"Have any other magazine guys harassed you yet?"

Even from a distance, Friar Engineering’s ’08 JK Unlimited is a standout. The BFG Krawlers and Walker Evans beadlock wheels are the first clue that there’s a lot going on with this Jeep. The Poison Spyder Rocker Knockers and Crusher flares are the next hint. The punch line comes when you see it surmount an obstacle. It’s as capable as it looks. We spotted the Friar JK at the 2010 Tierra Del Sol (TDS) Desert Safari and knew it belonged in our pages.

Friar Engineering’s JK is part of a trend that we like. More and more, off-road racing parts and fabrication techniques are showing up on trail rigs. Off-road racing parts include coilover shocks, hydraulic bumpstops, and full-floating 9-inch rearends. Fabrication techniques include double-sheared steering components, body styles or mods that allow a low center of gravity, and high-quality TIG or MIG welding.

The racing technology that’s on the Jeep didn’t show up by coincidence. Friar Engineering’s Bob Friar and Scott Martinez have a combined 44-plus years of experience racing motorcycles, buggies, and trucks through the U.S. Southwest and in Baja. Bob knew that his firm’s racing experience could be used to create trail rigs that work well and hold up in the rough.

This JK took shape in a short five weeks. Bob grabbed some off-the-shelf parts to get the build rolling and then fabricated the rest in-house. The result is a Jeep that can tackle a twisty trail one day and then pre-run in Baja the next. We think you’re looking at a blueprint for the future of trail riding. At Friar Engineering, the future is now.

Flex aplenty. A rear bumper is in the works.

Vehicle: 2008 Jeep JK Unlimited
Owner/Hometown: Bob Friar/Lakeside, CA
Engine: Stock 3.8L V-6
Induction: Stock EFI with Donaldson air filter
Transmission: Stock automatic
Transfer case/low range ratio: Advance Adapters Atlas II/ 3.8:1
Front suspension/wheel travel: Friar Engineering four-link with Fox coilovers, Fox bumpstops, Beard limit straps/ 15 inches
Rear suspension/wheel travel: Friar Engineering three-link with Fox coilovers mounted to lower control arms, Fox bumpstops, Beard limit straps/21 inches
Ring and Pinion: 5.83:1
Front Differential: Detroit Locker
Rear Differential: Spool
Tires: 37-inch BFG Krawlers for the trail, 39-inch BFG Project T/As for Baja pre-running
Wheel/Backspacing: 17x8.5 inch Walker Evans beadlocks/4.5 inches
Build time: 5-week initial build, ongoing refinements

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