Story and Photos by Ricky Berry
Back in September of '08, Dan Dubose of Blue Torch Fab in Birmingham, AL, received a
Private Message on Pirate4x4.com's forums about Viktor Whitlow, a young
Army Reserve Veteran who had his Jeep vandalized in the parking lot of his
college campus. The vandals broke into his Jeep TJ, destroyed the interior and
cut up the seats, slashed the tires, spray painted all over it, including
painting "Soldiers are Murderers" on the hood.
Two years ago, Blue Torch FabWorks,
Inc. put together an event they called "FabStock 2007". FabStock was a one
weekend buildup helping a fellow wheeler to fix his Jeep after some unfortunate
happenings. When the guys at Blue Torch heard what happened to Viktor, they decided to
take this project on and help get his Jeep back up and running better
than before, FabStock style. Other vendors started pitching in any way they could
to help with the effort, and soon FabStock 2008 was underway!
Volunteers rolled into the Blue
Torch shop early Friday morning to help. They began disassembling the Jeep, and
before long there was a big pile of old parts on the floor. The interior was
completely stripped, and the axles and suspension were out from underneath. Most
of the day was spent disassembling and doing the time-consuming task of
grinding off old brackets to make room for the new parts. The guys knocked off
a little early and sat down for some awesome grub. Everyone got some of Glenn
Peters' chili, and some of the best BBQ we've ever had, much less had in a fab
work load looked tremendous and very intimidating, but lots of volunteers
including Ian Johnson of Xtreme 4x4 were signing up to help the BTF crew get it
done. Terry Moore was there to show some support with the big Snap-On truck
inside the shop, with all their latest tools and gadgets on display. Workers
began by putting the suspension back under it. Rubicon Express donated one of
their top-of-the-line Long Arm suspension kits for the build. Also, Currie donated
an Anti-Rock sway bar for the Jeep to keep things stable on, and off the road.
After the suspension was finished
being installed, work began on the roll cage. For this cage, Blue Torch worked
with Troy Johnson from The Fab School to engineer a cage so that it can be used
as a D.I.Y. cage kit that will be available for purchase from Blue Torch soon.
Much time was spent documenting each measurement and bend on this cage so
progress went slow.
Tom at PSC Motorsports sent one of their
Hydro Assist kits to go on the Jeep, complete with steering ram, steering box,
hoses, and reservoir. Steering won't ever be a concern with this great setup.
A little bit of work went on under
the hood as well. The guys at True Flow sent an awesome intake system for the
4.0 to help it breathe a little better and push out some more power! Also, PPG
painted one of the BTF battery boxes for the build. This was definitely the
coolest looking part to go on the Jeep.
After the main fabrication work was
done, it was time to install some of the bolt-in parts. The new hood and
fenders were put on the Jeep to replace the dented up ones that were battered
by the vandals. Then, the interior was starting to go back together. PRP sent
in a set of seats for the front and a bench seat for the back. Also, since the
tires were slashed, the Jeep will be rolling on some 35" Interco TrXus tires
that are wrapped around a set of bling 17" Pro Comp Xtreme simulated beadlock
Since Blue Torch was hosting this
build, it's only natural that they would install a few parts of their own. In
addition to the roll cage, BTF stepped up with a set of crusher corners, and
BTF rocker guards. BTF also put their weld-on bumper, winch plate, and stinger
on the front in order to mount the new Warn Endurance 12.0 fan-cooled winch,
with Viking synthetic winch rope.
Sunday was spent trying to tie up
the loose ends. By the end of the day the Jeep was sitting with everything
installed, ready to go to the paint shop. FabStock 2008 was a success. Big
thanks to everyone involved, especially the volunteers that put in the work to
get this Jeep done.
For more information on this event, check out the FabStock
2008 thread on our forum:
Or check out Blue Torch FabWorks, Inc at: