4WDrive

EL DI­ABLO: THE DEVIL YOU DREAM ABOUT

Giv­ing in to temp­ta­tion cre­ates a Hell­cat JK Ru­bi­con ca­pa­ble of get­ting you through trail hell… and home.

- Story by Perry Mack Wrangler

You only need three sim­ple things to cre­ate your ul­ti­mate off-road ad­ven­ture ve­hi­cle: a dream, a builder, and com­mit­ment. And if you dream big, some cash.

In the fall of 2020, Jeep re­vealed its Ru­bi­con Con­cept 392. At that time, we asked them ‘How much?’ “It’s just a con­cept, so there is no price,” they said. This was a big fat lie.

Mike Kele­men had a dream long be­fore the 392 was a con­cept. It was to build a highly ca­pa­ble off-road rig with a mon­ster V8 that was as solid and fun to drive off-road as it was on-road. These two per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics rarely go hand-in-hand. You ei­ther build a rig for the trail, or you build it for the road and make com­pro­mises that you can live with along the way.

We’ll let the cat out of the bag right away, the Hell­cat. This is a 6.2L supercharg­ed V8 ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 707 hp and 650 lb ft of torque un­der the hood of a 2008 Wran­gler Ru­bi­con

JK. Not the ‘ane­mic’ 6.4L Hemi in the 2021 Wran­gler Ru­bi­con 392 pro­duc­ing a ‘measly’ 470 hp and a ‘pal­try’ 470 lb-ft of torque.

This con­quis­ta­dor of trails has 40”

Toyo Open Coun­try M/T rub­ber on bead­lock-DOT-ap­proved wheels for trac­tion and clear­ance, and a 6.5” lift for even more clear­ance.

Even with all this trac­tion and clear­ance, a fella could still get into some trou­ble. So Kele­men in­cluded trail es­sen­tials like a Smit­ty­bilt X20 17,500 lb winch on a front XRC bumper, an ARB twin com­pres­sor con­nected to two VIAIR two-gal­lon reser­voir tanks, enough body ar­mour for an as­sault ve­hi­cle, and sev­eral ad­di­tional Ro­topaX fuel cans – be­cause you’re go­ing to ac­cept low miles per gal­lon for sky-high spm – smiles per mile.

Dream big. As you, our es­teemed au­di­ence mem­ber may have sur­mised, you can’t ‘just’ drop a de­monic beast of an en­gine un­der the hood of a stock JK and hit the gas with­out

hav­ing the re­sult­ing ex­plo­sion of driv­e­train parts re­sem­ble a NAPA store dropped from the sky. Hell­cat power is un­leashed through an At­las Pro Se­ries trans­fer case to cus­tom-built drive­shafts con­nected to Dana 60 Rock Jock one-ton axles with G2 5:38 gears and Ea­ton E Lock­ers. The bot­tom line? With its 40” tires, Di­ablo was dyno tested at 577 horse­power to the rear wheels. Wow.

Al­though we hate to bring it up, at some point the Di­ablo has to stop. En­ter the front and rear Baer Brakes Pro Brake Sys­tem with 13.5" ro­tors and the 6P 6-pis­ton calipers.

Ev­ery­thing we’ve talked about so far will

move and stop Di­ablo very well in a straight, flat line but Kele­men wasn’t look­ing for a drag­ster. If you’ve been do­ing a lit­tle men­tal math so far you’ve re­al­ized this is a tall, heavy road and trail as­sault ve­hi­cle. You can’t turn it with stock Wran­gler soap­box derby parts. Crank­ing the wheel en­gages a PSC big bore steer­ing gear­box and as­sist arms that fil­ter through a BDS long arm kit, EMF rod ends, and stead­ied by Ter­aFlex track bars.

Suck­ing up the bumps and reach­ing for trac­tion comes cour­tesy of the front and rear King coilover shocks with ex­ter­nal reser­voirs and King bump stops.

Func­tion­ally, the Di­ablo is un­stop­pable, but that wasn’t enough. The Di­ablo needed to be com­fort­able for long trips to ad­ven­tur­ous des­ti­na­tions and stand out with a cus­tom look. Kele­men didn’t want a trailer queen; he wanted to leave the drive­way, go ex­plor­ing, and drive home. En­ter a pre­mium Alpine in­fo­tain­ment and sound sys­tem with sub­woofer, WeatherTec­h floor lin­ers, and heated, cus­tom em­broi­dered seats. To make it easy for Kele­men’s bet­ter half to en­ter and exit they added Rock­Slide step slid­ers.

At­ten­tion to de­tail was para­mount. If you’re go­ing to go all the way – then go all the way. As life coaches like to es­pouse, “If it’s worth do­ing, it’s worth do­ing right.” They tore apart the 6.2L Hell­cat en­gine with the stan­dard or­ange block and painted it sil­ver to match the ac­cent colour, and then re­built it. Body styling mods in­cluded a Red Rock Grille, cus­tom hood, Aries tubu­lar fend­ers with Fish­bone in­ner fend­ers, and Rugged Ridge half doors.

With the skinny pedal mashed to the floor, you un­leash 707 horse­power through a cus­tom ex­haust, which in split sec­onds goes from a rum­ble to a roar that you can hear and feel. You’re pressed back hard into the seat at the wheel of El Di­ablo and there is no moun­tain you can’t climb. Are those horns we see grow­ing from be­neath your ball cap?

Owner and dreamer: Mike Kele­men, In­sta­gram - @di­a­blo­jkhell­cat

Builder: Blain Schacher of Shocker Me­chan­i­cal in Cam­rose, AB

 ?? Pho­tos Perry Mack and Therese Mella ??
Pho­tos Perry Mack and Therese Mella
 ??  ?? You’re pressed back hard into the seat at the wheel of El Di­ablo and there is no moun­tain you can’t climb.
You’re pressed back hard into the seat at the wheel of El Di­ablo and there is no moun­tain you can’t climb.
 ??  ?? Wel­come to the Hell­cat den in the Ru­bi­con JK.
Wel­come to the Hell­cat den in the Ru­bi­con JK.
 ??  ?? Cur­rie axles, Rock Jock Dana 60’s loaded with G2 5.38 gears, and Ea­ton E Lock­ers.
Cur­rie axles, Rock Jock Dana 60’s loaded with G2 5.38 gears, and Ea­ton E Lock­ers.
 ??  ?? Stripped to bones at Shocker Me­chan­i­cal.
Stripped to bones at Shocker Me­chan­i­cal.
 ??  ?? Torque, tires, and lock­ers are the ‘un­holy’ trin­ity in the Di­ablo.
Torque, tires, and lock­ers are the ‘un­holy’ trin­ity in the Di­ablo.
 ??  ?? The AFE skid plate houses a dual air tank assem­bly.
The AFE skid plate houses a dual air tank assem­bly.

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