From building and tuning bikes to getting in trouble for dismantling his Dad's remote-control car, Paul Penas realized at a young age that his passion for the automobile (of any kind) wasn't going away. His first car was a junker he could work on, but it wasn't long before he stepped up his game and started work on a Nissan 350Z that would eventually win multiple trophies, features in magazines, a track race, and even a spot in the Continental Tires booth at the SEMA show a few times.
As Paul got older, his love of driving translated into a career as a commercial big rig driver. He can't leave anything alone, so his big rig has been customized and is a trophy winner as well. Throughout all those years he developed a sense of outdoor adventure from years of camping as a kid, which eventually lead to the purchase of a Jeep.
Paul brought home a 2007 two-door JK Wrangler Rubicon. The Rubicon gave him a great base to build from. Over the course of four years, he took the slow and careful approach, eventually converting the "little" stock JK Rubicon into a coilover-sprung, armored beast that allows him and his wife to explore the world. They have wheeled in Johnson Valley, Big Bear, tackled the Rubicon Trail, bounced all over Moab, and explored many trails in the western United States.
Why This Jeep
The off-road world is dominated by four-door JKs; so much so that a moderate but well-built two-door really stands out. Paul's rig is extremely capable and looks great. He's done a good job of making the best of the 3.8L V-6, and has created a build that works and looks good.
Vehicle: 2007 Jeep JK Wrangler
Engine: Jeep 3.8L V-6, Airaid air intake, RIPP Performance long-tube headers, high-flow catalytic converter, Flowmaster Resonator, Diablo Sport Tuner, Sprint Booster, and Odyssey Extreme Battery
Transmission: 42RLE Automatic Transmission
Transfer Case: Rock-Trac 4.0:1
Axles: Dynatrac Pro Rock 44, Reid high-steer knuckles, RCV axleshafts, OEM locker, 5.13 gear set from Motive Gear, and Dynatrac diff cover (front); OEM Dana 44, RCV axleshafts, OEM Locker, 5.13 gear set from Motive Gear, and Dynatrac diff cover (rear)
Wheels: 17-inch beadlocks from Spyderlock
Tires: 37xR17 Goodyear MT/R
Other: Custom-built J.E. Reel driveshafts with 1350 joints front and rear, Evap skidplates, oil pan, transmission and crossmember skidplates from EVO MFG and RockHard 4x4