Part 1: How do you build the ultimate Ultimate Adventure Jeep?
Jeeps have been four-wheeling longer than most of you readers have been alive. In fact, there is no one working at 4-Wheel & Off-Road and probably not even at Jeep itself that was alive when thatfirst Jeep prototype rolled out of a small workshop in the hills of Pennsylvania in 1940. From the very first day the Jeep was finished, people have been trying to change it; different engines, stronger steering, bigger tires, lower gearing, lighter weight, and so on. In fact, we would warrant a guess that along with the Volkswagen Beetle, the Jeep may be one of the most recognizable and historically modified vehicles ever. The 4x4 guys can't stand stock trucks, and from the start of the 4x4 aftermarket industry there have been parts to bolt onto your Jeep.
So now it's 2007 and we are looking forward to our Ultimate Adventure trip, and we've decided to take on what could be our most challenging U.A. vehicle buildup ever. If you've been living under a rock for the past eight years then you don't know that Ultimate Adventure is a weeklong road trip where we take a handful of readers, some advertisers, and a couple of our cronies and go wheeling. Every year we go to a different part of the country, and we usually travel about 1,200 miles total and try to hit four or five major wheeling destinations in some corner of the U.S. Since Jeep came to the market this year with its new four-door Wrangler JK, we decided that would be a great vehicle to build up-but here is where the trouble lies. Jeeps have been built for more than 65 years and in that time almost every modification has been tried-some with success and some without-so how could we possibly do something new and different? And then on top of all of the engine, axle, tire, gearing, and locker options sits a simple yet excruciatingly difficult decision. What is the direction of this vehicle going to be, as in color, and theme? In the past there have been military Jeeps, farm Jeeps, resort Jeeps, race Jeeps, tour Jeeps, fire-fighting Jeeps, rescue Jeeps, police Jeeps, ugly Jeeps, show Jeeps, Barbie Jeeps, beach Jeeps, sand Jeeps, drag Jeeps, postal Jeeps, and every type of trail Jeep under the sun, so we know that building a Jeep that will stand out from the crowd is going to be difficult. Plus there are tons of great aftermarket accessories available for the new Jeep JK, so many that choosing what we will or will not use on our JK is enough to keep a guy awake all night scheming. Next month we'll show you the first steps we took to transform a bone-stock '07 Jeep JK into the UAJK, but for now here is just a sampling of the many ideas we've been considering.