Jeep Wrangler JK
Seven years ago, Kenny Hauk came up with the idea to build the sickest 4x4s on the planet, combining styling cues from the hot rod industry and incorporating them into off-road creations.
To fuel his passion for off-roading vehicles with flair, he founded Hauk Designs. Kenny has showcased his building skills with numerous creations and now he’s back with the Project Phóinī&x.
The one-of-a-kind custom Wrangler JK is a no-holds-barred rock crawling beast whose dirt prowess is unmatched. It’s already won numerous awards at various car shows and perfectly blends a rock crawling monster with hot rod beauty. “We always gravitate towards something that has not been done or that others say cannot be done,” Kenny reveals. “It makes us want to do it more and push the design envelope. We called it the Phóinīx because it rose from the ashes of a discarded Wrangler destined for the scrap heap.”
With each of their builds, the Hauk Designs team makes sure to create something that demands attention without looking overly accessorized. “Many Jeeps and 4x4s tend to look like a parts catalog threw it up,” he admits. “We shoot for a cleaner from-the-steroid-factory appearance. These machines can take you off the beaten path and allow you to explore and discover amazing places. We try to find the perfect mix of off-road capability and on-road driving comfort, and we end up with the ultimate go-anywhere machine!”
The Wrangler JK was chosen for this particular build because of its excellent frame strength and modular design, and their sister company, River Raider Off Roads, has a large line of parts for Jeeps which were used in this build. Project Phóinīx also goes beyond the Hauk Designs Dune Raider models they’ve fabricated for numerous customers. According to Kenny, the lines and design are very similar to the Dune Raider, but they’ve stretched it further and added more power.
“I wanted to build one that was longer, meaner and with even more power,” Kenny notes. “We have taken this thing on terrain that mountain goats fear to tread, as well as through the heart of major cities around the U.S. I wanted to build something that would be fun everywhere you go, but ultimately allow you to escape off-road and enjoy raw power in style.”
With a build time of about four months, race-and competition-proven parts that will last the life of the Jeep were used. River Raider 3/16” thick steel body armor protects it from any environment it’s tackling, while a custom River Raider weld-in roll cage protects riders in case the Project Phóinīx happens go beyond its limits. ICON shocks and 16” coilovers help it tackle tough terrain, as well as its 44” tall Pitbull Rocker Tires wrapped around 20” TIS 535B wheels. The windshield was laid back 10” and the seats dropped 4”. The team also stretched the body a total of 19” and the wheelbase extended by 24.” A Hauk fold down tailgate was added, while a power boost under the hood was provided with a Magnuson Supercharger that peeks out from the hood.
“My favorite parts of the build are the roll cage and the supercharger,” Kenny says. “The roll cage has amazing lines that give it a very futuristic look. The supercharger popping up through the hood just screams power and give it an aggressive ‘I’m here to eat you attitude look.”
So far, everywhere the Project Phóinīx has been since its unveiling at the Jeep Beach event in Dayton, FL resulted in a massive crowd, admiring all its unique features - and more recently served as the centerpiece at the DUB Garage booth at this past year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV. While Project Phóinīx will soon end its cross-country tour and be back in the hands of its owner, others can get the same build for around $120K.
But according to Kenny, right now there’s a waiting list for customers wanting this version of the Dune Raider, which just goes to show that Hauk Designs is definitely doing something right in the custom 4x4 market. They also recently signed a contract with a network and have begun filming a new series called American 4x4, which focuses on the Hauk Designs crew building their insane 4x4 creations then taking them out and putting them to the ultimate test.
GEAR: Jeep Wrangler JK