While SEMA was filled with loud and over the top Jeeps, there was one in particular that stood silently outside and definitely caught our attention. An orange Willys CJ-2A instantly caught our attention as we walked past it towards the main convention hall. At first glance and we knew we had to stop and check it out. While we didn’t know anything about the Willys or who had brought it to life, after SEMA we tracked down the build team and got the full story.
The custom 1948 Willys CJ-2A was created for SEMA 2013 by Rock Solid Offroad (RSO) in San Jacinto, CA. What began as a concept drawing by Josh Miles at DT Design Agency quickly became a full-fledged custom build that turned out better than anyone could have imagined. The frame was hand-built from 2″ x 4″ square tubing. RSO wanted to give more room for the driver and passenger so they stretched the frame 12″, made the body 6″ wider, and modified the window frame to make it 4″ taller. A custom cage was fabricated as well as custom glass that was cut and installed by Felipe’s Auto Glass.
The front axle was moved forward 4″ and the rear axle was pushed 2″ back to give the Willys a more comfortable ride and aggressive stance. Toyota truck axles were used and fitted with both disc brakes and ARB Air Lockers. The front shackles were reversed and a 4″ BDS Wrangler kit was used. Rock Solid Offroad decided to run Bilstein 5160’s with remote reservoirs.
Under the hood is a 4.3 liter fuel injected Chevy Vortec. They paired that with a 5-speed manual transmission and transfer case from a ’94 Toyota 4Runner using adapters from Advanced Adapters. They also used a Centerforce clutch and conversion headers sourced from Advanced Adapters. Some fender modification was done to accommodate the headers. Magnaflow mufflers and a Flex-A-Lite radiator and fan combo were installed to give her a nice rumble and keep her running cool. Putting it all together was done with a Centech K40 body harness and a PDP-1B fuse panel. The fuse panel and ECM are hidden in a compartment in the glove box. The engine’s ECM, wiring harness, custom chip and fuel pump were all sourced from Howell Engine Development.
All the accessories on the Willys are by a power distribution box from 4×4 S-pod. The team at Rock Solid Offroad said the S-pod was a huge timer and kept their engine compartment organized and clean of wires running everywhere. They also said a Phantom Products “touch and go” start system was added to the Willys for added security and piece of mind.
New bumpers and sliders were also custom fabricated for the Willys. The sliders were fit to the original body lines and a tube step was added. The frame, bumpers, cage, and sliders were all coated with bed liner to match the interior. The front bumper features a Superwinch 9.5 Talon winch fitted with a Factor55 Prolink. Vision-X 2″ round solos were added to the front and rear bumpers as well as a low profile light bar to the top of the roll cage.
To really make the Willys pop, the CJ2A was painted a custom tangerine pearl color. Everything was color sanded, given a second coat of clear coat, and then buffed out to give it that deep gloss finish. The Willys rolls on 35” Nitto Terra Grapler MT’s mounted on a set of Fuel wheels. Keeping everything moving is an AGR SB2 super box and pump.
The final product is nothing short of incredible. With most show vehicles getting over the top bling and enough LEDs to see from here to Mars, it was a pleasant surprise to find such an awesome, yet simple build this year. Hats off to Rock Solid Offroad for building one of nicest Jeeps at SEMA 2013!
To learn more about RSO, you can check out their website, visit their Facebook page, or give them a call at (951) 377-5691. Rock Solid Offroad wanted to thank some of the many sponsors that helped bring this build together: Advanced Adapters, AGR, ARB USA, Auto Meter, BASF, Factor 55, Flex-A-Lite, 4×4 S-Pod, Howell Engine Development, iDidit, Phantom, PRP, Superwinch, and Vision-X.