2012 VWerks JK Recon
This Jeep-based, special-duty vehicle looks like it would be at home patrolling a military command compound -- and it likely will be. Like the VWerks JK8 Red Jacket pickup, this 'ute has a Jeep face and a pickup bed. Unlike its sibling Red Jacket, it is painted in muted shades of green and dark khaki to help with camouflage. The Recon is meant to be used, not seen.

Protected by IED-resistant plates in the bed, which also allow for a better standing place for gunners, the Recon has an ultra-tough rollcage as well as rock rails, Mopar half-doors, and specially designed headlamps. A 9.5 self-recovery thermometric Warn winch is accompanied by a military trailer Pintle Hook Hitch Combo to enable towing up to 16,000 pounds. A collection of military-specific accessories are included, from weapons stands and machine-gun mounts to ammunition cans.

Under the hood is a 5.7-liter Hemi that produces 390-hp and 407 lb-ft of torque mated to a five-speed tranny; the drivetrain includes Dynatrac complete high clearance, high pinion ProRock 60 front assembly with an ARB air locker, competition axle shafts, and CTM u-joints. The rear axle is a Pro80 with a Detroit locker and competition VWerks axle shafts.

Tires are 39-inch BFG Krawlers with Hutchinson 17-inch beadlock rims; a high-lift jack is onboard for backcountry tire changes and mechanical repairs. Accessories include military shovels and pick-axes as well as Jerry cans and an air compressor. While comfort and style aren't the first priorities for most riders who will be climbing into the Recon, the vehicle features comfy forest-green Katzkin leather seats and VWerks custom floormats.

The PIAA 520 All-Terrain Pattern Light is powered by PIAA's proprietary ATP technology, and delivers a beam with the perfect combination of height, width, and distance. This lamp is designed with a 12-volt Xtreme white H3 85-watt comparable to the illumination of a 135-watt bulb.


2012 VWerks Caballo Diablo
You wouldn't expect to see the Caballo Diablo trotting past your home -- unless you happen to live near a combat zone or in a third-world country, where safety for many executives, dignitaries, and political figures is an everyday risk.

Based on the Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Short Bed pickup and the Mopar Ram Runner kit, the Caballo Diablo (Spanish for "Devil Horse") was designed for secure transport of dignitaries and their families as well as military and police use. It also can come equipped with flame throwers that shoot fire from the sides of the vehicle (VWerks calls it the "Dragon's Mouth).

Caballo Diablo is powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi making 390 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque; it is mated to a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Optional is an 8.4-liter Viper V-8 up to 710 ho and 664 lb-ft of torque; a heavy-duty four-speed transmission and heavy-duty axle package also are available.

Specialized suspension components begin with a KORE "Tactical Series" framework and include 14 inches of front and rear wheel travel, race-series control arms, rebuildable high-angle ball joints, and a five-link, coil spring rear suspension.

The exterior features a "Dragon Skin" ballistic armored cabin. Kevlar fiber front and rear body panels protect the vehicle and its occupants, but can be sloughed off during what VWerks calls "aggressive tactical driving." In fact, the front bumper is specially designed to "permit aggressive contact with other vehicles." We're not talking about everyday defensive driving here.

A 6-inch spotlight and wide-angle high-intensity headlamps are standard issue; an infrared auxiliary light package can be ordered. Tires are 35-inch BF Goodrich off-roaders with 17-inch rims. And those flame throwers? They're available, too, as an optional add-on, but, sorry, not in the U.S.!


Moab: Many say Moab is America's top off-roading location. What all agree on, though, is that Moab boasts some of the best and most varied four wheeling in the U.S. There are hundreds of miles of backcountry trails, most are left over from mining days. Four-wheel-drive enthusiasts can explore the mixed topography of deserts and canyons, motoring on tracks that range from a difficulty of a #1 (unimproved or rarely graded roads, 4WD or extra clearance needed at times; no special driving skill required) up to a #5 (locking differentials and tow hooks, front and rear, are necessary. A winch is urgently recommended, unless you travel with someone who has one. Expert driving skill is critical!).


If You Go: During Easter Jeep Safari, there are 4WD runs from sun-up to sundown each day. There will be some of the most sophisticated trail-vehicle technology you'll ever see. But it's also a down-home event, highlighted by camp-outs and cook-fires. Participants provide their own four-wheel-drive vehicles or rent them from a number of purveyors in town.