Show-stopping addition to the legend of Jeep Wrangler
It takes a special vehicle to be considered a showstopper at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
The Las Vegas extravaganza is where automakers and those who make the the parts to customize and personalize cars, trucks, vans and other vehicles annually display their newest ideas.
Just look at those fenders. Those red-lighted accents and red-trimmed windows. Those red wheels. Those huge tires. Menacing is one word that might come to mind. Military is another.
So what is this thing?
Would you believe that just a month before the show opened it was your right-off-the-showroom-floor Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
I was doing sketches for what I wanted to build,” said Greg Higgs, chief executive and owner of Fab Fours Inc., a 10-year-old company in Lancaster, South Carolina, that produces aftermarket bumpers and other accessories, and not only for Jeeps, but for Dodge, Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota vehicles.
What Higgs wanted to build — at least at first — was a Jeep that could retain its factory suspension, no lift kit needed, but still ride on 44-inch tires.
As he sketched, the vehicle’s fenders took on what he called an admitted “over the top” shape. But he liked what he saw, so his sketches were converted to virtual, computerized renderings and using his company’s metal-shaping equipment, Higgs and his crew — Fab Four has a staff of 85 people — were able to create the parts needed for those fenders and grille and other pieces. They also fabricated the parts needed to fit ProRock Dana 80 axles beneath the Jeep.
The red accents were inspired by snowmobile goggles, Higgs explained, adding that even riding on 50-inch tires, The Legend stands only 6 feet, 2 inches.
Higgs said the wheel-tire package has the same basic ratio as the factory-installed setup, which can mean 35-inch tires on 17-inch wheels.
And now what?
Higgs said he and Fab Fours have three options: They can do nothing, leaving The Legend as a one-off vehicle; or they can develop an aftermarket kit so people can turn their own Wranglers into legendary vehicles; or they can procure Jeeps, do the conversion and sell complete vehicles, a la a Roush or Shelby or others.
Higgs said that third option is “most probable.”
As He states on his company’s website (www.fabfours.com) in introducing The Legend: “Innovation and taking risks is part of what attracts people to Fab Fours. Sure, this Jeep will not be for everyone, but there is one universal truth to it: Different.
“While Fab Fours is not known for vehicle builds, we have been on an amazing growth trajectory, which has provided resources to start expanding our offerings. A radical vehicle like The Legend is an opportunity to test some concepts and feedback from the public. If you are looking for ‘more of the same,’ you have come to the wrong place.”
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at email@example.com.