Part 2: Caging The Ultimate Adventure Beast
A month ago we let you know about our plan to build a new '07 Jeep JK Wrangler for this year's Ultimate Adventure trip. As you may or may not know, Ultimate Adventure is a weeklong trip where we four-wheel, caravan on highways, live out of tents and hotels, and eat, sleep, and breathe trucks. Every year we build some vehicle to lead a group of readers, advertisers, and some of our cronies through the trails, and that vehicle is usually some over-the-top buildup. In years past we've built an old military Jeep, a Ford Super Duty, a Chevy Avalanche, a Toyota Tacoma, an FJ Cruiser, and an early '70s GM stepside pickup.
This year the new four-door Wrangler will be going under the knife, and when we say "new," we mean new-with less than 200 miles on the odometer there were saws cutting factory steel out of the way. One thing we did differently this year was to start with a two-wheel-drive Jeep since we knew everything was going to get changed to parts that can support 40-plus-inch tires. We figured, "why start with a full-blown Rubicon?" Kudos to Jeep for offering a bare-bones wheeler for those of us who can't leave well enough alone, and their best out-of-the-box Rubicon for those of us that would rather wheel than wrench.
The first step in our buildup was to take the Jeep to Twisted Customs in Rapid City, South Dakota. Twisted Customs is known for its rock buggies which have won many competitive rockcrawls. But T.C. is really based in building rigs to dominate the top-notch wheeling trails of South Dakota. There are more than 20 different Twisted Customs buggies out running trails and just as many in the works for customers (not to mention years and years of modified 4x4s from Broncos to Land Cruisers that have come from its shop). We felt building a simple cage for protecting the UAJK occupants would be an easy task for T.C. Over the course of two long weekends we had the factory cage removed and a new custom cage built specifically for our trip. Next month we'll reveal some more of our over-the-top plans for building the JK into a real brute of a trail machine.