See pages 3 and 4 for web exclusive buildup images!
I guess this all started at SEMA 2010. I saw my friend, Chris Bolger, and went over to have a few words with him. He had become the main marketing man for Hammerking Productions (which puts on the King of the Hammers race, among others). After a few minutes, of course, I had to infuse my two cents upon him regarding the future of King of the Hammers and its vehicles: While I was truly impressed at how fast the race series had grown after four short years, I argued that the rising popularity would plateau out because of the way the race vehicles looked.
I went on: As long as the race vehicles look like buggies and not like real trucks or SUVs, there will be a limit to the race series’ popularity with people outside of the off-road community. If Hammerking wants its races to go more mainstream, the race vehicles needed to look like something found in someone’s driveway.
1. With 17 days to go, Dave Cole of Desert Concepts and Justin and Jason Abernathy of Sure
The conversation went on for a few more minutes and then we parted ways. A few weeks later I got a call from Dave Cole of Hammerking (Chris’ boss). He had a proposal. It turned out that Dave had been working to produce a "King of the Hammers Ready" JK Wrangler that would be sold through Jeep dealerships. It would be a street-legal JK Wrangler that would be outfitted to the hilt with Off Road Evolution and Poison Spyder equipment. And if I was game, he wanted me and Larry McRae of Poison Spyder to try to get one across the finish line at the next King of the Hammers race.
How could I say no? I had already committed the second I opened my mouth and told Bolger that the race vehicles needed to resemble the cars in people’s driveways.
2. EVO manufacturing will supply the suspensions for the KOH-edition Wranglers. The EVO lo
With less than two months before the race, Dave started working his magic. He now had to find some partners and a brand new Wrangler for us to race. It should be no problem to organize a deal like this and build a Wrangler into a race vehicle before the King of the Hammers, right? Right.
Seventeen days before the race started, a 2011 four-door Wrangler was pulled into EVO Manufacturingso new that the window sticker still resided. The next two and a half weeks were an absolute scramble as Poison Spyder and EVO Manufacturing burned the candle at both ends to make sure that the race Wrangler would be ready to go.
Of course, the JK did get finished (would you expect anything less?) and we were able to make it in time for the February 2011 King of the Hammers race. Tune in next month to see the completion of the full-bodied race-ready JK Wrangler that is the concept of what you might find in Jeep dealerships very soon. And don’t forget to check out the catalog of build images at www.off-roadweb.com/KOHJK to see everything that happened to this Wrangler. OR