Story: Rey Fries
Photography: Will Stern
The Jeep Wrangler was built out of necessity for off-road practical purposes and has the lineage to prove it. Since it was conceptualized and manufactured more than seven decades ago, it hasn’t let anyone down. The Wrangler seems to be the ideal off-road SUV through and through. It’s a tough and long-lasting whip by default. And there’s always been the crowd who’s welded onto them absurdly big lift kits in the garage and made sure their Wranglers had complementing 40-inch tires on ’em (and actually put them to the test). Some tested the power and reliability of their Wrangler out in snowy mountains and muddy trenches in the woods, while some took it out on dry, rocky terrain—basically, any extreme conditions. Off-roading has always been a favorite pastime in the big-rig-loving community. However, when you go to car shows and peep the scene, most of the big rigs look tough and badass but are actually too delicate (and pricey) to take out in adverse conditions. They’re built mostly for show and good looks.
Up until 2007, there was a serious problem: It was always a hassle to fit all your buddies into the Wrangler. One of the most enjoyable whips off-road had a lousy total of two doors and a very small rear seat, so you could only invite one or two friends to join. Finally, Jeep answered with the JK models equipped with four doors and a longer wheelbase, making this Wrangler arguably the most fun whip to go muddin’ with on the weekends. This new design caught the attention of many new consumers, including Mike Fisher of Florida, a gearhead who owns six custom yellow whips and was searching for inspiration to build a seventh.
Seeing this gap between SUVs that look practical and those that are actually capable, Mike took on a whole new approach to souping up a sport utility. He was ready to start a project but wanted it to be genuine. Knowing his Rubicon would realistically never be driven off-road, he envisioned giving it a street look, ’cause that’s the only place it would be—a very rare attempt. “I was impressed when Jeep released the four-door Wrangler,” Mike recalls. “I feel like the off-road look is played out. Ninety-nine percent of these trucks never see off-road, and I wanted something more aggressive for the streets.” Instead of pretending to have an off-roader, Mike hit up Jhulio Tadeo of MC Customs in Miami, Florida, to make sure this street sport utility looks like it rules the streets and can rule the streets. The first modification was replacing the stock feet with 26-inch Savini SV-9 rims wrapped in Lexani socks.
Without even mentioning the monstrous audio system—three beastly JL 15W0s in the trunk—or the thunderous train horn, or that the roof comes off, it’s the level of detail that’s most impressive. Scope out the custom yellow rims, fenders, front piece, rear bumper, door handles, panels and interior! Each of these pieces was coated with the latest 3-D Water Immersion Technology to give it that carbon-fiber effect, and they match perfectly with the matte-yellow paint job. Inside, the seat material was replaced with black and yellow leather with custom yellow safety belts.
The end result is a street whip that doesn’t lie and doesn’t put on a front. Sure, it’s still an SUV, but it ain’t wearin’ an off-road costume. So if you like this nondeceptive yellow Rubicon, stay on the lookout for when Mike’s current build is finished—his Ford Raptor.
Spec The Technique:
Year/Make/Model: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Performance: Custom exhaust
Exterior: Yellow carbon-fiber coating using 3-D Water Immersion Technology on all panels, wheels, fenders, front piece, rear bumper, engine cover and door handles; custom side steps, custom matte-yellow paint; train horn
Interior: Custom yellow seat belts, black and yellow leather seats; yellow carbon-fiber coating on all panels
Ice: Two ARC Audio KS300.4 amps, KS2500.1 amp, KS300.2 amp; three JL Audio 15W0v3-4 subs; one Stinger SPV69 battery, SPP1500DC battery, two SPV20 batteries; four Eminence Eminator 1508 speakers, ten 1506 speakers, 12 component tweeters; Pioneer in-dash display
Wheels/Tires: 26-inch Savini SV-9 wheels; Lexani LX-9 tires, 295/25/26