As soon as you start preparing a vehicle that will represent your whole company at the SEMA Show, thousands of questions come to mind. How to one-up the competition? How to stand out in a sea of trucks and Jeeps? Has this been done already? What about adding turbos or bigger wheels? The list goes on. Yet for Mel Haughton, the brains behind Wild board Off Road, the mental maelstrom was really short lived. Mel and his team started with a radical concept: they’ll build a 6×6 crew-cab pick-up Wrangler outpowering a Hell Cat Dodge Challenger! Oh, they’ll nickname it the Hell Hog. Problem solved.
Well, almost… Challenges were in fact just starting to pile up. Mel and his crew are Jeep specialists based in sunny Orange County, CA. Their company has been known for almost a decade for making stunning Wrangler cosmetic upgrades parts, but not for offering protection, running gear or suspension parts. But these markets they duo is now willing to enter, along with offering full-on turn-key modified Wrangler. What a better way to go all-in and build a Jeep no one will forget and partnering with the best guys in the industry then? full-on turn-key modified Wrangler. What a better way to go all-in and build a Jeep no one will forget and partnering with the best guys in the industry then?
Hell Cat inside!
Shoehorning a Hell Cat V8 into a Jeep is easier said than done. This is why they teamed with Dakota Customs, renown for installing V8s into JKs. The Hellcat motor swap is a first though; others have tried, but the Hell Hog is the first fully running example.
Thanks to a dedicated engine management system, the Hell Hog’s supercharged Hemi now pushes-out 754 horses and delivers a mind-twisting 675 lb-ft. Compare these to the Challenger’s figures (707 hp and 650 lb-ft.), and you realise the Mel and John have indeed, ahem, ‘blown’ the competition.
If the stock gearbox is kept, it has been considerably upgraded via a Stage 2 Viking transmissions kit, meaning it can now handle up to 737 lb-ft. of punishment. Fact is, even the improved axles would give up the ghost before the gearbox let’s go! They consist of two reinforced Danas 44 axle sandwiching a pass-through Ford 9’’.
In order to squeeze in the latter, Wild Boar stretched the JK’s chassis 36’’ and coupled two rear tubs to make a bed receiving a custom-made tonneau cover. Then, Exotic Custom Car & Design, also based in Huntington Beach, CA. modified a Wild Board hardtop and mated four tubular rear wheel arches into a set of twin mudguards.
Six standard height springs are coupled with remote reservoir King Shocks 2.0. At the front, heavy-duty specs ones compensate for the extra load of the mighty V8, compared to the original V6. To quench its thirst, an additional Wild Board reservoir has been installed, along with an ingenious Titan 12 gallons exterior fuel tank. It is mounted on the spare wheel carrier, holding the seventh 35’’ wheel.
The addition of the bulky blower meant the hood/bonnet had to be restyled. The Wild Boar design team crafted a blend the Challenger hood/bonnet lines and grills into the Wrangler one. The result is fantastic, especially coupled with the iconic menacing Wild Boar grill.
The company also installed its steel bumpers, receiving a 9500lb Come Up winch and some bolt-on ‘boar teeth’ tow strap hooks up front. The JK body was finally sprayed with a two-tone matte grey bedliner before receiving a custom made roll cage and a Wild Boar Off Road roof rack incorporating a SEMA award winning swig away awning frame.
Another award-winning equipment fitted to the beast is the tire pressure system. It allows you to set tire pressures of all tires simultaneously thanks to an onboard compressor or air tank. Air points are plumbed to each corner of the vehicle allowing the driver to connects air lines from each hook up point to the tires’ valve. One can then simply deflate or air up all 4, or 6, tires to the same pressure.
Heavy footed, moi?
Undeniably, the Wild Boar gang did jump through all the hoops to make this Jeep work flawlessly, perfectly mixing high performance and off-road capabilities without going over the top, SEMA Show style. So, does the ‘Hog perform as well as it looks? Let’s jump in the driver seat!
Before getting carried away at the wheel, Mel reminds me this one-off Jeep cost him a quarter million dollar – mind you, he had to purchase a brand new Challenger to gut out the engine when crate ones were not available yet! Anyway, if this friendly reminder was a subliminal attempt at trying to get me to go gentle on the right pedal, sorry Mel, you have failed.
It’s foot to the metal in 4×6 mode right away in order to appreciate what the V8 from hell has in store. Oooooh, it has plenty of grunt and sends me deep into the custom wrapped leather seats, just like a Hell Cat does, only it does on gravel tracks!
The four rear Toyos offer an impressive amount of grip on the track and on the sand. It really feels I have a set of tank tracks pushing the Wrangler endlessly. After surfing the Nevada desert dunes with an ear-to-ear smile on my face, it is time to gear-in the front axle.
The steering becomes notably heavier, but the Wrangler feels more stable and ready to eat dunes for breakfast thanks to the insane torque the supercharged Hemi reliably offers. A few more rounds and a couple of impressively easy crest crossing later, it is time to cruise toward tarmac. Leaving the 6.2L purring as we head back, enjoying the smooth Borla deep exhaust note… Right before testing the 6.500 pounds beast reactivity as I suddenly crush the accelerator: the JK immediately engages forward momentum, straight as an arrow, just like a steam engine locomotive on tracks, only way faster.
So, how do you think the California crew did at SEMA? Obviously, they did excellently. Mel and John were set to capture the industry’s attention, and they did, big time, with the Hell Hog, and the good news is, if you have close to $300.000 to spare, you can order your very own, turn-key Hell Hog from them now.
Wild Boar Off-Road
5312 Production Dr – Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Tel : +1.714-891-8222 – wildboarproducts.com
Contact : Sales@WildBoarProducts.com
BASE PRICE: $250,000
ENGINE: 6.2L V-8 Supercharged Hellcat Hemi
SUPERCHARGER : 2.380L IHI – drive ratio: 2.36:1
POWER: 754 hp @ 6200
TORQUE: 675 lb-ft. @ 6250
TRANSMISSION: Automatic unit upgraded by Viking
INJECTION SYSTEM: Dakota Customs special tune
BORE x STROKE: 103.9 mm x 90.9 mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 9.5:1
HEAD MATERIAL: Aluminum alloy
BLOCK MATERIAL: Cast iron
RADIATOR: Aluminum from Dakota Customs
Exhaust SYSTEM: Borla
Front AXLE: upgraded Dana 44 with 4.10 final drive gears.
Rear Axle 1: pass-through Ford 9’’
Rear Axle 2: upgraded Dana 44 with 4.10 final drive gears.
Suspension: Teraflex Springs and spacer & King Shocks 2.0
Tires: 35×12.5’’ Toyo Open Country M/T
Rims: Fuel Off Road Lethal – D567
Seats: Stitch Corporation custom leatherwork.
Bumpers: Wild Boar Off road Modular Series
Rollcage: Wild Boar Off Road with swig away awning frame
Fenders: modified Wild Boar Off Road
paintjob: Exotic Custom Cars and Designs bedliner
Grill: Wild Boar Off Road
Winch: Come up Winch Seal Gen2, 9.5 RSI
Spare wheel carrier fuel tank: Titan 12 Gallons
Hood/bonnet: Wild Boar Off Road
Compressors: 2 x Viair 400C