VWerks is a Michigan-based company that is led by PT “Pat” Muldoon, former head of Mopar engineering. Among other things, VWerks is responsible for creating head-turning vehicles like the Recon Jeep and the Caballo Diablo Ram, both of which were featured in the December ’12 issue of Four Wheeler.
Red Jacket Firearms is a Louisiana-based company that was founded by Will Hayden, a native of the Baton Rouge area. Red Jacket offers a wide variety of firearm-related products, including custom firearms. Red Jacket is also well known for its Discovery Channel television show “Sons of Guns.” But you probably already knew that.
These two companies collaborated to create this custom ’12 Jeep Wrangler JK-8 that was unveiled at the ’11 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The rig began life as a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon before VWerks went to work on it. VWerks’ Muldoon says, “The Red Jacket Jeep was a tribute build to American craftsmanship that we did for SEMA. I had a chance to meet the entire staff of Red Jacket while I was with Mopar and I loved what they came to represent to their home state of Louisiana. Will and I talked about the whole attitude of ‘you can’t build great stuff in America and hit the necessary price points.’ Wrong! I think Red Jacket and VWerks put out great products made right here in the USA.”
The Red Jacket Jeep is no trailer queen. It has been over Poison Spider Mesa, Steel Bender, and Fins and Things in the Moab, Utah, area, it has ran trails in the California desert, and it has wheeled the sand dunes of western Michigan, so far.
Muldoon says, “I think this build exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity and I’m proud to have had a hand in bringing it to life. And to everyone who thought craftsmanship was a thing of the past in this country, wait ’til you see what’s next!”
Will and I talked about the whole attitude of ‘you can’t build great stuff in America and hit the necessary price points.’ Wrong!
At A Glance
Vehicle: 2012 Jeep Wrangler JK-8
Stomping grounds: Adrian, Michigan
Build time: 8 weeks
Engine: Chrysler 3.6L V-6, Mopar Performance after-cat exhaust
Transmission: W5A580 5-spd automatic
Transfer case(s): NV241OR Rock-Trac
Low range ratio: 4.0:1
Crawl ratio(s): 77.3:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 44, TEN Factory chromoly axleshafts, TeraFlex Big Brake kit/Tru-Lok electric locker, 5.38:1 gears
Rear axle/differential: Dana 44, TEN Factory chromoly axleshafts/Tru-Lok electric locker, 5.38:1gears, VWerks Rear Differential Cover Protector
Front: VWerks 4-in w/Fox internal-bypass shocks
Rear: VWerks 4-in w/Fox internal-bypass shocks
Tires: 40x14.50R17 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX
Wheels: 17x8.5 Hutchinson Rock Monster beadlock
Armor: VWerks bumpers and rock sliders, Asfir skidplating
Cool stuff: JK-8 conversion with 6-in stretch, Warn 9.5ti winch, Katzkin leather seating, VWerks Premium Series Cowl Induction Hood, VWerks-modified GenRight fenders, T-shirt cannon
Questioning Will Hayden
Will Hayden, founder of Red Jacket Firearms, has a history with both firearms and 4x4s, so naturally we wanted to ask him a few questions about some of his experiences with each. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: What is the coolest weapon you’ve ever built or worked on?
A: I’m currently building the coolest weapon I have ever worked on. It is a French Fusse Fin. It is a .62 caliber hunting gun from the 1740s – 1760s.
Q: What is the scariest weapon you’ve ever fired? Would you fire it again?
A: The scariest weapon that I have ever fired is 57mm recoilless rifle that we had welded up. I would fire it again.
Q: What is the most historically significant weapon you’ve seen/worked on?
A: The most historically significant weapon I have seen/worked on is the Brown Bess from the 1740s. Our findings lead us to believe that it had been part of the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the Mexican War.
Q: Reloads or off-the-shelf?
A: I prefer off-the-shelf.
Q: What was the first 4x4 you drove/owned?
A: The first 4x4 I drove is the gray Bronco I currently have.
Q: What is the worst you’ve been stuck with a 4x4?
A: I have never been stuck for more than an hour in my 4x4.
Q: You’re being hunted by hungry velociraptors. You can only have one weapon. Which one?
A: The weapon that I would choose is one of our RTS-ZK-SBS-12s (a short barreled shotgun) loaded with Hornady Sabot slugs.