Project ’95 XJ: BigRed
This is the rig that started it all, and began what will probably be my lifelong obsession with Jeeps. I bought this Jeep brand new back in June of ’95, before the offroad bug had bitten. A brush guard, nerf bars, and a trailer hitch were the first mods that went on, and to date those are the only mods I haven’t done myself. After attending my first Jeep Jamboree in October of ’96, I knew I had to have a lift and bigger tires. By August of ’97, I had a 3″ lift and 31’s, and the wrenchin’ hasn’t stopped since…
I’ve tried to stick to “real world” mods that the average shade-tree mechanic could do at home (I do all my own work outside of setting up gears) because while I think the mega-dollar and ultra-custom build-ups I see in 4×4 magazines are incredibly cool, I can’t afford (nor fabricate) a rig like that and I figure most other people can’t either. And, BigRed gets driven to the trails and events, so road handling and manners always have to be a consideration.
Project ’00 TJ: The Yellow RokMachine
This is my wife Jennifer’s Jeep. Like BigRed, it was purchased new, but this Jeep has been modded up pretty quick. The first things on were the lift, tires, winch, and KC Daylighters. When she bought the Jeep, she’d simply wanted a yellow TJ Sport with a 5-speed and black soft top – luckily the one on the lot that fit that description also had the factory D44 rear axle!
The build-up philosophy with the RokMachine has been much the same as it has with BigRed – primarily bolt-on mods that can be done at home by the average shade-tree machanic. We’re trying to build an all-around TJ that’s capable both on and off-road. As well as one that addresses all areas of a build-up – armor, suspension, drivetrain, interior, tires, etc.