The Do-It-All, Rockcrawling, Desert-Racing, 4x4 Machine
A lot of folks we know build their 4x4s one part at a time. Part breaks, fix it; done deal. Others work in segments, addressing suspension then moving to axles and onward. Another group of others simply do it all at once so they can start hitting the trails. George Kane of Long Beach, California, falls into this category. With his "Straight to Ridiculous" JK project, George hit the ground running, determined to achieve his dream of a do-it-all, rockcrawling, desert-racing, 4x4 machine.
With idea in mind and a parts collection amassing, George sought out assistance from Mel Wade of Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California. A build-plan was determined and more parts were ordered; all that George needed was the vehicle. Since all of the factory drivetrain components would be scrapped or sold anyway, Mel suggested purchasing a 2WD Jeep Wrangler JK to save a bit off the purchase price. The local dealership had a 2007 X model Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited in stock and it was soon on its way to Off Road Evolution. The drive from the dealer to the shop was all the miles the stock drivetrain ever saw.
It wasn't long before the Off Road Evolution crew had the JK stripped down and the build underway. The drivetrain came first, followed by suspension and shock mounting and roll cage design and fabrication. When the chassis was rolling and ready the JK was plumbed and wired and a custom aluminum dash was built to match the race-inspired interior.
Since the completion of the "STR" JK, George has experienced quite a few trail runs. The "getting to know each other" phase was a rough one on occasion as minor new build glitches would stop the JK at the trailhead, where George could see and hear the fun he was missing. But those are a thing of the past these days, much evidenced by the rig's consistent ability of tackling extreme obstacles. Did we mention that it's really fast, too? George's JK may have gone "Straight to Ridiculous," but from the looks of it, ridiculous seems pretty darn cool.