It looks like a car from Mad Max: Fury Road, but it’s not. This is an extreme creation from Hauk Designs in the US. It’s called the Rock Rat, and it’s a fully functioning off-roader. Unlike many show cars that just look cool, the Rock Rat really could sur
520kW Rock Rat
To understand Hauk Design’s Rock Rat, you first need to be familiar with the term ‘rat rod’. A rat rod is a lot like a hot rod, but there are some key differences. These days, the term ‘hot rod’ is typically used to describe an accurate recreation of those iconic racers from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Cars, in other words, that look like those from old films like Hot Rod Rumble and The Wild Ride. These are vehicles that try and stay as close as possible to the original hot rod design.
Then you get the rat rod. A rat rod is an exaggerated version of a hot rod. They look like something from a comic book: big, boisterous and over the top. An important aspect of a rat rod is its paint job. It should never wear a new and shiny coat of paint. Instead, it should look like it has just been found in the back of a barn. It should look dirty and rusted. Why, you ask? Unfortunately, no adequate explanation can be offered. It is simply the current fashion.
Now, for the Hauk Rat Rod. As its name suggests, it is intended to be an off-road interpretation of the rat rod, hence its oversize wheels and distressed-looking body. Strip
everything away, and you find a 1947 Willys CJ2A. It’s not an original body, though. It’s a reproduction created by OmixADA, and it has been stretched and tweaked to fit a Jeep frame.
Powering this monster is a diesel engine, but it’s not the typical oilburner you tend to find in modern off-roaders. No, the Rock Rat has a V12 Cummins engine that once powered a school bus. The engine was overhauled and a Turbonetics turbo was added to generate 520kW of power and 1 626Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a burly TH400 transmission, and a NP205 transfer case allows for some low-range off-roading. Fitting the engine, transmission and transfer case into the Willys CJ2A was apparently quite a challenge, but the Hauk crew managed it eventually.
Another extreme addition, quite obviously, is a set of gigantic 44-inch Pit Bull beadlock tyres that have been wrapped around 17-inch rims. The suspension is a custom Synergy and Steinjäger one that offers 350mm of wheel travel. Ground clearance isn’t quoted, but it is obviously substantial.
While the Rock Rat looks like an old-school off-roader that’s been cobbled together from whatever could be found lying around, in reality, it sports some serious hardware. To give it that old-school, post-apocalyptic look, however, all sorts of bits and pieces were added to the cabin and exterior. A well pump has been modified to act as the shifter, and various switches have been nicked from an old fire truck. The ram skull that’s used as the steering wheel is a one-off custom creation, and the sound system, which looks old and knackered, is actually a modern Kicker Audio system that’s just been designed to look vintage. A pair of new jerry cans were similarly stressed to give them an old and worn look. The paint job was the result of sanding the body down to the bare metal and applying a chemical process called Steel FX. It’s this chemical process that’s responsible for that attention-grabbing copper colour. Modern additions to the exterior of the Rock Rat include a Warn winch, HID headlights and a 20-inch light bar.
Obviously, the Rock Rat is not a vehicle that Hauk hopes to sell in great numbers. Instead, it’s a 4×4 that the company sends around the US to showcase its work. It was created to draw attention, and in this regard, the vehicle is a success. Whatever you think of this Franken-Jeep, it’s impossible to ignore. According to Hauk Design’s founder, Kenny Hauk, the Rock Rat draws huge crowds wherever it goes. Sure, some people think that it’s heresy to base a vehicle like this on a CJ2A, but Hauk says that most people love it: jeep fans, off-roaders and rat rod enthusiasts.
Main: A 1947 Jeep Willys CJ2 gone all Mad Max. With 44-inch wheels, a 3.2-metre wheelbase and a Cummins V12 turbodiesel engine with 520kW and a (really) mad 1 626Nm on tap, this is one cool Jeep! Opposite page, clockwise from top left: That’s not a cannon on the bonnet, it’s a huge turbo, and the exhaust. Modern HID headlights seem slightly out of place here. A vintage air compressor lives behind the front seats. Who needs an airbag if you can have a ram’s skull on your steering wheel?
HAUK ROCK RAT Body: 1947 Willys CJ2A reproduction by Omix-ADA Frame: Jeep YJ Engine: Cummins V12 Power: 520kW Torque: 1 626Nm Transmission: TH400 Suspension: Custom Synergy and Steinjäger Tyres: 44-inch Pit Bull