Cool cus­toms

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

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text: GG van Rooyen

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

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