The Jeep Wrangler is not only one of the most capable off road vehicles ever made, but also one of the most historically significant. The first Jeep vehicle to wear the Wrangler badge actually appeared in 1987, yet its roots go back to the 1941 Willy MB Army Jeep. That quarter ton vehicle carried the United States military through conflict after conflict essentially until invention of the HUMVEE.
Today, the Wrangler remains a favorite amongst the off-roading crowd and tends to be heavily modified by many. The new 2011 Jeep Wrangler body has given this classic vehicle a new lease on life, especially as far as the interior goes. These off road behemoths can now become capable on the outside and full of comfort on the inside. Hundreds of parts and accessories companies exist for the Wrangler, but the most complete and radical designs have come from a young company by the name of Hauk Designs.
If you have been in the off-road marketplace then the name River Raider Off Road may come to mind and this new full service company has come out of that. We recently spoke with Kenny Hauk of Hauk Designs and talked to him about the various models that the company now builds for its customers. He mentioned that the custom designed and fabricated parts that River Raider was building became so popular that his customers were asking to have their Jeeps completely built by the company. The current business plan features three distinct models each with a myriad of options to choose from.
Hit the jump for more details on the Hauk Jeep Wranglers.
Each vehicle is built to specific customers demanding specifications. This means that no two Hauk Designs vehicles are exactly alike. Nonetheless, the Rock Raider and River Raider models have some distinct differences. Each starts life as a 2011 Jeep Wrangler in either 2-door or 4-door varieties. A major design piece in the River Raider is to incorporate a truck bed on the vehicle, making a very desirable truck that the factory never produced. The Rock Raider (pictured in Orange) opts for the slant back top made by Master Designs. Either design makes the Jeep instantly identifiable as something special.
Other options for the exterior will be decided upon depending various parameters like suspension height desired, climates the vehicle will encounter, and race specifications that it may need to meet. Kenny mentioned that they are currently building a vehicle for a customer that wants to race it in the Dakar Rally. This race is one of the most grueling in the entire world and many contestants never even finish. This customer not only demands the best components to compete, but needs to rely on his vehicle to simply survive.
Standard Exterior Options:
Master Designs heat reducing hood
40” Toyo Open Country MT Tires
20” Raceline bead lock wheels (DOT Approved)
Full Undercarriage Skid Protection
Steel Epoxy-Coated Bumpers with Integrated License Plate and Winch -Mount
Epoxy Coated High Clearance Steel Tube Fenders
Waterproof Winch with Remote Control
Steel Differential Protection
Wild Boar fast-back T-Top Hard Top
LED Headlights and Taillights
Fold-down tailgate with Remote Popper
Rear Steel Crusher Corners with Integrated Light Housings
Solid Billet Door Handles
Baja Light Bar with Force 170 Striker Lights
The Jeep Wrangler has never been known for its beautiful or elegant interior and 2011 changed none of that. However, it was a big improvement over the previous models that have led to making the Jeep Wrangler more civilized than ever. Hauk Designs considered the fact that the interior of the jeep needed to stand up to the most demanding conditions in the world, but at the end of the day be able to drive home on the freeway while coddling passengers in comfort. Kenny said that on a recent trip to Moab the ability to drive his rock crawler home at the end of the day instead of loading a purpose built vehicle onto a trailer made a world of difference. The main functional change on the interior is the addition of a roll cage from dom steel to protect passengers in the event of a rollover. This product was designed on CAD by an in house team at Hauk Designs. The main creature comfort that any customer should get is the fully reclining hand-stitched adjustable leather seats with seat heaters.
Integrated On Board Air System
Spod Electronic System Control Unit
Integrated navigation System with Bluetooth
Epoxy Lined Interior
PSC Hydro-assist Steering System
Hauk designed these vehicles to not only look good, but also to perform beyond the limits of any other Jeep Wrangler. When you open the hood of nearly every Hauk Jeep you will find an engine that is more than just sufficient – its downright madness. Customers can choose between several versions of the venerable HEMI engine. The 5.7-liter becomes the base model producing horsepower numbers in the low 400’s. Personally we would choose the 6.1-liter HEMI out of the Chrysler, Jeep, and DodgeSRT8 models. This produces 425hp at 6,200rpm and 420 lb-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. Having this much power in a Jeep should be more than enough to satisfy the cravings of Hauk’s customers, but it wasn’t. You can also get the new 6.4-liter HEMI, and a 7.2-liter HEMI pushing out 636hp. During our conversation, Hauk also mentioned that his customers will often add a supercharger to the engine making these Jeeps produce over 850hp.
To handle all the power and the intensive off road pounding that many of these vehicles receive, it was paramount to replace the axles. Most will receive the Dana 60 setup that has been a favorite among off roaders for years thanks to its bulletproof reliability. The Dana is built for an off road thrashing, but when the horsepower gets into the 700-800 hp range, it is time to use a GM 14-bolt system to handle all the power. In between the axles and the engine is a new transmission setup in either automatic or manual configurations.
The suspension system on these vehicles is one of the parts most changed by the customer. Depending on what they plan to use their vehicle for many different options could come into play. The main product that Hauk uses is the Teraflex Long Arm sport tuned suspension which provides increased travel and control.
If you plan on taking your new Wrangler to the most remote Mountain top, racing through the mud, or across the barren desert than make sure you consult with the experts at Hauk Designs. Their customer focused approach in designing a purpose built vehicle that can also tackle the concrete jungle will provide you with the best Jeep around. Pricing can vary greatly depending upon the amount of options you choose, and there are hundreds, but contact them at www.haukdesigns.com for more information.