Kenny Hauk is like Midas of the customizing industry. Everything he touches turns to customizing gold, which is probably why his name is synonymous with some of the baddest and most unique around. Always one to outdo himself, Kenny is always pushing his personal limits when it comes to annual builds. For these projects, Kenny wanted to show the awesome power of steam and, of course, draw a crowd wherever he showed the massive beast.
The Loco Hauk Steam Jeep looks like something out of a movie, with a faux locomotive exterior that perfectly defines the saying “hell on wheels.” Weighing in at a hefty six tons, this Wrangler is almost unrecognizable! “The Loco Hauk name is fitting not just because of the locomotive influence, but also because it’s ‘loco’ or completely crazy!” Kenny describes. Known for reworking Jeeps into bespoke masterpieces, Kenny knew the Loco needed way more space to fit the boiler, reservoir and blower system, which is one of the main reasons he decided to build a 6×6 Wrangler (a talent he has plenty of experience in). “It’s the most insane thing we could come up with,” he admits.
Besides the longer wheelbase, the matte black and brass details definitely catch the eyes and perfectly fit the inspiration gathered from the golden age of steam-powered machines. Thanks to numerous partnerships throughout the years, Kenny had lots of products to choose from when it came time to build something truly unique, which is a sight to behold in person. Witnessing this machine is a serious experience as you hear its burner ignite and catch a shimmer of heat above its massive 1,000-PSI boiler with 55-gallon water tank. Then a black coil of smoke starts to rise from the back of the rig, while small wisps of steam also rise from the hood. The whole experience is similar to watching a freight train lurch to life – the exact experience Kenny was going for when he first conjured up this behemoth.
“The Loco needed to feel like it was created in a parallel universe where steam powered vehicles were the norm. Lots of attention was given to the way steam was released from the Jeep. The visual of steam rings puffing out of the front wheel wells and seeing the flames inside the boiler through the glass HAUK letters in the back were all carefully planned to draw attention to its unique source of power.” The final product is very close to the initial design rendering, Kenny admits.
The 100ci V4 steam engine was built on a design by Charles Keen for the Keen Streamliner 2 automobile back in the 1960s. Capable of 120 to 140 horsepower, Loco also generates about 2,500 ft.-lb. of torque, allowing it to go between 50 to 60 mph. Its standard 16-gallon fuel cell has been converted to run on kerosene, which is what heats the boiler when burned. A custom 4” BDS 4-link suspension with FOX shocks smooths the ride while a set of GRID GD1s wrapped in 41.5×13.50R17 Pit Bull Rockers complete its stance. Loco benefits from a River Raider full body 3/16th steel armor exterior, modified Star Fabricating hardtop, Vision-X 48V locomotive lights, Seven Pipe oil reservoir grille, Warn 12-S Zeon Winch and Auburn Gear Max lock locker.
But Kenny’s favorite parts are the massive vintage steam gauge located in the center of the dash, the vintage steam whistles and the seven pipe oil reservoir grille. “I also love the one Keen steam engine that came out of the Tom Kimmel steam museum for the project. The challenges of making a functional steam-powered Jeep could fill an entire book! But Tom Kimmel and the entire modern steam community helped us overcome every obstacle we faced!
The Loco is seriously an attraction everywhere it goes and is the most universally loved vehicle Kenny’s built to date. “It’s undoubtedly a Hauk build and fits nicely into our ultra-detailed, over-the-top lineup!” he exclaims.
But the Loco was just one of his latest builds, with his Willys Hauk .45 truck that’s just as impressive. This one was meant to be a fun daily driver that mixed hot rodding, off-roading and the wild west. It was named after the Colt .45, which is an iconic hand gun that many consider “won the west.”
“The Hauk .45 needed to feel like it came straight from the old west. It needed to look right at home in an old Western town being driven by Billy the Kid,” Kenny details. “The Willys truck had some great lines and became the body of choice.” After mocking up the build, he and his team decided to both chop and stretch Willys cab to turn it into a dually. He also took to tons of old photos from this era and western movies for inspiration, which is what led him to creating the saloon-door shaped rear coil over mounts, longhorn steer hood emblem and the holster door panels.
But the Hauk .45 has details on top of it’s details! The mind-blowing engraving by Hernan from Engrave-it are one of Kenny’s favorites, noting that he was honored to have his work all over the truck. Another cool feature is that the glass is actually reclaimed chicken wire glass from an old building that the pros at RT11 Glass installed. Wood work by Ben Messler brought the wood bed and wood floor interior to life. It also features a complicated multiple layer paint scheme which is hardened steel mixed with aged leather for a unique look. “That was achieved by multiple layers of blue and brown air brushing, topped with layers of transparent candy root beer paint and a matte clear paint,” he explains.
Currently, the Hauk .45 is ripping around the streets of Abu Dhabi with its new owner, but it was chosen as one of the Top 7 Trucks of SEMA in the 2016 Battle of the Builder’s competition. “It was always a crowd favorite at both hot rod and off-road events.” While these two builds are undoubtedly some of the best from Hauk Designs, Kenny keeps raising the bar for himself and his crew – and he always exceeds himself in the end. Kenny and his team are now filming the second season of “Hauk Machines.” Catch up on the first season on Amazon Prime!
gear: “Loco Hauk” Steam-Powered
JEEP JK 6×6
Wheels / Tires
- GRID Off-Road GD1 wheels
- 41.5×13.50R17 Pit Bull Rocker tires
- 100ci V4 single-acting, trunk-piston, poppet-valve uniflow steam engine
- NSG370 6-speed manual
- Modified Toyota steering box with Redneck Ram hydraulic assist
- BDS 4-inch 4-link and FOX shocks
- TeraFlex D60, 3.73 gears, Auburn Gear Max Lock locker (front); Ford 9” pass-through axle 3.70 gears (mid drive axle); TeraFlex D60, 3.73 gears, Auburn Gear Max Lock locker (rear)
- Authentic steam whistles
- Gold leaf hand lettering
- Modified Star Fabricating hardtop
- Vision-X 48V locomotive lights
- 51” frame stretch for 6×6 conversion
- 165” wheelbase
Protection and Armor
- River Raider full body 3/16” steel armor
- Warn 12-S Zeon Winch
- Seven pipe oil reservoir grille
- Auburn Gear Max Lock locker
- Kicker Pro Audio System
- 6 XS Power A3400 Series batteries
- Custom valve-style steering wheel
GEAR: 1948 WILLYS JEEP
WHEELS / TIRES
- OEM 17×8 steel Dodge Dually Wheels
- 41.5×13.50xR17 Pitbull Rockers tires
- One-off shell casing lug nuts by VV Concepts
- 12-valve Cummins built by Industrial Injection
- Ruff Stuff Specialties brakes
- Old German Beer Kegs tank
- Custom air pipe work
- K&N Filter inside custom-engraved bullet intake
- 3” exhuast back to a 6” stack
- Chevy Dana 60 Dually front axle
- Auburn Gear Selectable Locker Revolution Gears 5:38 with Yukon Lockout hubs for front differential
- Auburn Gear Selectable Locker Revolution Gears 5:38 with Revolution alloy shafts for rear differential
- GM14-bolt dually rear axles with Artec Truss
- J.E. Reel 1350 front and rear prop shaft
- 16” front and rear FOX coilovers
- Synergy 3-link Builder’s kit for front radius arms
- Synergy 4-link Builder’s kit for rear radius arms
- Modified Willys bench with custom leather work by Star Fabricating
- Custom-made ⅜” thick steel with hand turned walnut wheel by Larry Mille
- Sheriff Badge interior handles
- Skeleton key ignition switch
- Complete hidden Kicker Audio System by Sounds So Good Audio
- Heavily modified Jeep YJ frame
- 8” stretch cab with 3” chop
- Colt .45 Peacemaker door handles
- Custom faux aged finish by Chuck B. Designs and Tom Shockey of Auto Body
- Machined Gun Cylinder bed rails by Ben Messler
- Hand-engraved filigree details by Hernan from Engrave-it
- Reclaimed chicken wire glass installed by Route 11 Glass
- Aged antique walnut bed by Ben Messler
- Custom Edison bulb headlights by HID Projectors
- Taillights made from repurposed turn-of-the-century motorcycle headlights