2010 Jeep JK - The Roadster - Moab EJS 2016 #EJS2016Posted in Moab Experience: 2016 on March 29, 2016
No one can deny the amazing popularity of the JK Wrangler in today’s off-road community. JKs are hot, and for good reason. They are reliable, comfortable and very capable right out of the box. A sea of aftermarket parts help every JK owner from Wilmington to Long Beach personalize and modify their new Wrangler just as they’d like. Despite this, when it comes to finding JKs to fill the pages (and digital space) with JKs it’s incredible how similar most end up looking when all is said and done. As it turns out stepping outside of the JK norm is fairly difficult when it comes to building (or funding the build) of a “New Wrangler”. So in a sea of sameness it’s awfully refreshing to run into a vehicle like Chris Durham’s 2010 2-door JK. Blurring the line between a hard core rock crawling rig and a rowdy V-8 powered roadster this JK bends the bounds of what a JK is. This should come as no surprise; Chris has built many unique and capable Jeeps over the past few decades. We always know he’s got something new and different up his sleeve and with the approach of Easter Jeep Safari 2016, the fiftieth anniversary of EJS, we could hardly wait to see Chris’ new rig.
The roof line of the Roadster sits just at chin level for a 5’10” magazine editor. That’s low for a Jeep that is incredibly capable and wears 38-inch tires.
While the body is unmistakably JK Chris assures us that no body panel on this Jeep is as it left the factory. It’s been narrowed, lowered, cut, chopped, channeled, yada, yada. All to maximize the space for large tires, low roof line, and high (and flat)belly pan.
Keen observers will notice that the 2-door JK is not built on a JK frame. That’s for good reason. The TJ frame Chris used to build the roadster allows the belly of the Jeep to sit higher than with a JK frame
Under the fiberglass Chris Durham Motorsports hood you might expect a 3.8L V-6, or maybe a Hemi, but were betting you didn’t expect a 5.9L Magnum V-8. Chris wont give the details on the engine’s build, but lets just say it helps complete the hot rod feel of this Jeep. It makes plenty of power.
That custom aluminum dash built by Chris himself gives the Jeep more of a classic hot rod feel than a JK. He also claims that this dash will fit in any JK tub.
A Savvy aluminum front winch bumper and extensive (and well done) patina helps continue the hot rod feel. The top is a Smittybilt unit modified by Bucket Stitch to fit the custom body
Front and rear axles turn 4.56:1 gears and Detroit Lockers. The front axle wears a pair of Dynatrac Dynaloc hubs and CTM u-joints. The steering is a combination of AGR parts and custom Chris Durham Motorsports aluminum tie rods.
Chris likes to stick to what he knows will work for him. The suspension on the Jeep is a 3-link with a track bar up front and 4-link rear on short TJ lift springs, The Jeep sits low and stable both on-road and off-. JKS ACOS air bumps help control bottoming front and rear and Chris was able to modify the rear bumps to include a spring retainer for when things get really flexy.
A Premier Power Welder hides under the JKs dash to help with trail repairs.
Savvy aluminum JK doors were trimmed down to match the shortened body. Warn emblems serve as door latches.
Here’s a great tip from Chris. Use a permanent marker or paint pen to note part numbers of parts that may loose their label.
The rat rod look lends itself well to off-road. Rock rash blends with patina and its OK to have a string actuated tailgate latch on a Jeep like this.
Year Make Model: 2010 Jeep Wrangler
Engine: 5.9L Magnum V-8
Transfer Case: Atlas II 3.0:1
Front Axle: Ford Dana 60
Rear Axle: Shaved GM 14-bolt
Tires & Wheels: 38/12.50R17 Falken on Walker Evans Beadlocks
Steering: Chris Durham Motorsports Aluminum tie-rod and drag link
Other Stuff: Heavily massaged 2010 2-door JK body