Story: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography: William Stern
Inspiration for high-end custom rides can be derived from countless sources. Whether paying homage to a particular brand, a family member or even another vehicle, when executed properly, this formula can produce some of the most unique builds. In this case, the source of motivation is a buoyant vessel that’s known to haul ass and reel in a marlin or two, as well.
HydraSports Custom of Naples, Florida, is a producer of high-end fishing boats that are not only assembled to withstand the deep seas but comfortable and cool enough to take to the local party cove or sandbar on the weekends. Each year, HydraSports Custom and Ultimate Auto of Orlando, Florida, team up to assemble breathtaking boats for the annual Miami Boat Show, and they build a matching vehicle to accompany them. As owner and operator of Ultimate Auto, Joe Labon explains that the owner of HydraSports Custom wasn’t even a Jeep fan prior to this project.
“He’s not a Jeep guy, but he would always come around our shop and see all these Jeeps around, so he wanted to do one, “ explains Joe. But to appease such an elite customer and be on par with the HydraSports boats, this Wrangler would have to be top notch.
For the Wrangler, performance was paramount, as even though the Jeep would probably never barrel down a beaten path, it needed to be capable of doing so. “He said he wanted a Hemi in it for sure,” explains Joe. “So we put a brand-new, 6.4-liter 392 Hemi in it, purchased new from the dealer.” In addition to the substantial horsepower upgrade, the Ultimate Auto team also upgraded virtually every other performance component, including Dana axles, a Baer big-brake kit and Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts. “There is nothing on this truck we didn’t upgrade,” explains Joe. “And the performance on this thing is incredible; it’s a blast to drive.” In regards to its drivability, although Jeep purists could complain about the customizations, Joe is confident this marigold mammoth can traverse any trail. “We put the types of parts on [so that] if you wanted to take it off-road, you definitely could,” explains Joe. “But obviously, it’s so nice you’re probably not going to do that.”
For the exterior, the prime aesthetic component is the pulsating BASF paint, which matches the 2015 HydrSports extreme boats. Other exterior upgrades include VPR 4×4 bumpers, custom-molded fender flares and Rigid Industries LED lighting. For the rolling gear, Ultimate Auto teamed up with Amani Forged for some massive 24×14-inch wheels wrapped in insane 40-inch Toyo MT tires. To mimic the audio systems in the HydraSports Custom boats, Ultimate Auto used the identical Wet Sounds components in the Jeep, executed in such a fashion that it looks meant to be.
With the big rig complete, and fresh off successful debuts at the 2014 SEMA show and 2015 Miami Boat Show, this bad boy and its aquatic cousins proudly represent another amazing HydraSport Custom and Ultimate Auto collaboration.
Spec the Technique
• Performance: 6.4-liter 392 Hemi V-8; custom-built Borla exhaust system; K&N Air Intake System
• Exterior: BASF Glasruit Yellow candy paint; MetalCloak fenders modified with Rigid SR-M lights; Wild Boar front grille; HID Projectors headlights; VPR 4×4 front bumper with 10-inch Rigid SR light bar; WARN ZEON winch with Factor 55 ProLink and Monster Hook; 10-inch Rigid SR light bar with hood mounts; 50-inch Rigid SR light bar with custom-welded windshield mount; dual 30-inch Rigid SR light bars side-mounted on roll cage; VPR 4×4 rear bumper with custom-welded Rigid 30-inch SR light bar; custom rear tramp stamp with third brake light; RECON LED taillights; AMP Research power side steps; custom vented hood
• Interior: Custom-molded dash kit with iPad mini mount; painted interior trim; custom hand-stitched Nappa leather seats with baseball stitching; SPOD lighting control panel; dual front speaker mounts custom-molded in dash; custom Nappa leather roll bar padding; SPIDERWEBSHADE roof shade panel
• ICE: iPad mounted in dash; four Wet Sounds XS-650 RGB front speakers, four REV8 rear tower speakers, four XS-XXXv2 subwoofers, four SD4 amplifiers
• Wheels/Tires: 24×14-inch Amani Forged Tremendo wheels; Toyo MT tires, 40×15.50-24
• Suspension: 3.5-inch MetalCloak Game Changer lift kit with 6Pak shocks; Fox Racing 2.0 steering stabilizer; Synergy chromoly steering tie rods/drag link; Baer Brakes big-brake kit (front 6-piston calipers with 13.5-inch rotors, rear 4-piston calipers with 12-inch rotors); G2 Dana 44 front axle housing with 35 spline chromoly axles; 5.13 gear set front and rear, Auburn Gear locker in rear with 35 spline chromoly axles; Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts, front and rear