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Tuesday, 18 July 2017 01:28

PROJECT INFECTED | Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Written by Kristie Bertucci | Photos: Brian McGee

The zombie apocalypse continues to fascinate the masses, due in part to the ever popular zombie shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead.”

And although naysayers don’t think it’ll ever happen, you can never be too prepared, which is what Dave from Doetsch Off-Road thought. The experienced Jeep builder found inspiration in the zombie apocalypse, setting out to build a daily driver that could handle the streets and the trails (and leave the undead in the dust if need be).

Randon images of project infected, including interior seats, and front wheel

Nicknamed “Project Infected” to reflect the zombie theme, the post-apocalyptic rig needed to fit right at home escaping and eliminating zombies or hauling supplies to the next base camp. Tired of seeing these sorts of builds sporting dark, drab colors, Dave wanted something that was highly visible to help survivors navigate to it while defending the homefront and chose it’s bright green exterior.

Since his shop specializes in customizing the No. 1 off-road vehicle on the market, finding the best mods and accessories to fit with his theme was a cinch! “We wanted to feature new products from companies that share our passion for the Jeep and that are still developing new innovative parts and accessories for it,” he describes. Although they primarily want to use new products that will debut at SEMA, Dave and his crew are more than comfortable switching things up to display their creative building skills.

Rear exterior shot of Project Infected, with red and green lights on

“For example, we ran Rugged Ridge’s Spartan Grill which has been in the marketplace for a couple years now,” he explains. “However, the grille has a modular center insert and Rugged Ridge recently debuted an insert that allows you to mount a pair of round LED lights. Since our front bumper did not have fog light provisions, we instead opted to mount a pair of JW Speaker LED fog lights in the grille. The final install showed off the brand new grille insert while suggesting a creative way to retain fog lights.”

Because the Jeep was going to be presented inside the Rhino Linings’ 2016 SEMA Show booth, Dave featured it with a full treatment of their spray-in-bedliner treatment, which included a Rhino Linings coating on the complete interior tub, the front and rear JCR Offroad bumpers, inside the rear fender wells, on the JCR Offroad rock rails and rocker panels and on the front and rear steel JCR Offroad fenders. “It’s definitely a bomb-proof way to protect nearly every corner of the Jeep!” he exclaims.

All of the lighting used on Project Infected was ultra-efficient off-road proof LEDs, with JW Speaker-branded products featured like their LED headlamps, LED taillights, LED fog lights, plus LED auxiliary lights mounted on the lower windshield A-pillar and over/across the windshield on a Rugged Ridge light bar bracket. A full custom Katzkin leather interior mimicked “zombie skin” center inserts surrounded by black leather and Hyper Green double stitching.

Randon shots of Project Infected

“The response at SEMA, as well as afterwards, from everyone who laid eyes on Project Infected, was that they loved it,” Dave mentions. “The super bright Hyper green color was definitely attention getting and the massive 38x15.50R20 Nitto Trail Grapplers took over the roads. We’re always trying to “one-up” our last build and it is definitely getting harder as time goes on. But we think we hit Infected out of the park in regards to the use of strategic new products and overall theme.”

Even though the shop has worked on countless builds, this one wasn’t without its challenges. Since all the bumper, fenders, rock rails and much of the exterior were coated in Rhino Lining, the crew experienced a tricky install since there were very narrow tolerances between each of the parts that were supposed to seamlessly fit together or be installed close to one another. “For example, the rock sliders slip under the corners of the fenders, but since Rhino Lining is thicker than paint or powdercoat, we had to shave some of it off so that the pieces would fit together like a puzzle. While this wasn’t a major setback, we did have to take it into consideration as we installed all of the various components.” But after they mastered how to overcome this small road block, the rest of the build was fairly simple, taking only two months to complete.

Interior dash shot of Project Infected

To make sure it lived up to all the hype of being a post-apocalyptic vehicle, Dave made sure he tested the beast out. So after its SEMA debut, it’s been on a “show tour” ranging from Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, UT to the Offroad Expo in Scottsdale, AZ, while continuing to visit different events across the U.S. and taking part in off-road adventures.

Gear: 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
    Wheels & Tires
  • 38x15.50R20 Nitto Trail Grappler Tires

  • Suspension
  • Fox Shocks TeraFlex Tuned Fox Shox w/ Reservoir Front & Rear Shock Absorber Kit Shocks
  • Fox Shocks Adventure Series Steering Stabilizer
  • TeraFlex Steering Stabilizer Relocation Kit - 1-5/8” Tie Rod Bracket Suspension
  • TeraFlex Rear License Plate Deletion Panel, Zinc Alloy Embossed Logo
  • TeraFlex 6” LCG Long Arm Suspension System Suspension
  • TeraFlex HD Differential Covers
  • TeraFlex Remote Reservoir Shock Mounting Bracket Kit

  • Performance
  • Adams Driveshafts Custom JK Front and Rear 1310 Driveshafts
  • Gibson Exhaust Gibson Performance Black Ceramic Split Rear Cat Back Exhaust System
  • Superchips FlashCal F5 Programer
  • Yukon Gears Gear Set Dana 44 JK Front 5.13 Gears - Front Dana 44
  • Yukon Gears Gear Set Dana 44 JK Rear 5.13

  • Exterior
  • JCR Offroad Mauler Deluxe Stubby Width Front Winch Bumper Front Bumper
  • JCR Offroad Front Bumper Skid Front Bumper
  • JCR Offroad Crusader Mid-Width Rear Bumper Rear Bumper
  • JCR Offroad Crusader JKU Rock Sliders w/ Rock Lights Rock Rails/Steps
  • JCR Offroad Mauler Front Narrow Fender Flares Fender Flares
  • JCR Offroad Mauler Rear Narrow Fender Flares Fender Flares
  • JCR Offroad Aluminum Front Inner Fender Liner kit
  • Rhino Linings Custom Full Custom Spray In Bedliner - Complete Tub, F/R Bumpers, F/R Fender Flares, Rock Rails, Inner Rear Fenders
  • Rugged Ridge COWL ARMOR JK 07-12
  • Rugged Ridge Black Rear Euro Tail Light Guard Exterior Accessory
  • Rugged Ridge Spartan Grille Kit, custom painted Hyper Green with matte black accents
  • Rugged Ridge Black Aluminum Hood Catch Set
  • Rugged Ridge Locking Gas Cap Door, Black Aluminum Fuel Door
  • Rugged Ridge Spartan Grille Insert Kit with Dual 3.5 Inch LED Mounts
  • Rugged Ridge Black Cowl Hood Scoop Hood
  • Rugged Ridge Hood Lift Kit Hood
  • Rugged Ridge Performance vented hood - Hyper Green Color Matched Hood
  • Rugged Ridge Black Performance Hood Vents Hood
  • Rugged Ridge HD Tire Carrier Kit with 3rd Brake Light Mount
  • Surprise Straps Everyone Hold On Paracord Grab Handle Set, Green & Black
  • Warn Epic Shackles, custom custom painted Hyper Green Recovery
  • Warn Zeon 10-S Winch with Synthetic line

  • Lighting
  • JCR Offroad Aluminum Front Inner Fender Liner kit Exterior Accessory
  • JW Speaker LED Auxiliary Lights, Lower A-Pillar Lighting
  • JW Speaker Evolution 8700 J Series LED Headlight Kit w/ Half-Halo, Black Bezel Lighting
  • JW Speaker J Series LED Tail Light Kit Lighting
  • JW Speaker J Series LED Fog Light Kit, Mounted in Grille Lighting
  • JW Speaker A-pillar Light Mounting Kit
  • Urban Krawler 6-light LED Rock Light Kit, Green, Underbody Lighting
  • Urban Krawler Round LED Backup Lights, Mounted In Rear Bumper

  • Accessories
  • sPOD 6-Switch System with double LED light Contura rocker switches & Source System, Red LED
  • Antenna X Off-Road 13” stubby antenna, black
  • BOLT Strattec 6’ Cable Lock, uses OEM Ignition Key
  • BOLT Strattec Padlock, uses OEM Ignition Key
  • Gorilla Black Splined Lug Nut Kit, including spare wheel, spline key
  • Rock Hard 4x4 License Plate Relocation Bracket for Spare Tire

  • Interior
  • Drake Off-Road Billet Aluminum Pistol Grip Shifter Handle Interior Accessory
  • Drake Off-Road Billet Aluminum 4wd Shift Knob, Black Finish
  • Katzkin Custom Complete Custom 2-Tone Leather Interior, Black Leather w/ Everglades Alligator Insert, Green Double Stitching
  • Rubicon Express Steering Stabilizer Relocation Bracket
  • Rugged Ridge ENTRY GUARD 4PCS BLK 4DR JK
  • Rugged Ridge Neoprene Center Console Armrest Cover Interior Accessory
  • Rugged Ridge Interior Trim Accent Kit, color matched to Hyper Green
  • Rugged Ridge Eclipse Sun Shade 4dr JKU
  • Urban Krawler 4-Light LED Rock Light Kit, Red, Interior Lighting

Doetsch Off-Road | ● Rugged Ridge | Rugged Ridge ● Nitto Tire |