A Jeep JK8 With Military Inspiration

Story and Photos by Dan Sanchez

With the fear of an apocalyptic end to 2012 (thank you Mayan calendar), the VWerks Recon pickup truck may have doomsday preppers selling their minivans to store one of these in the bunker.

This custom-built, military-inspired vehicle is made from a 2011 Jeep pickup that has a M2 machine gun mounted to the bed and features armor plate and a full rollcage. The combination seems like the perfect match of off-road capability, acceleration of a V-8 and the firepower to repel any attackers looking to steal your stockpile of peanut butter and jelly.
VWerks built the Recon as a test bed for its military and off-road accessories. It put together what it thought was a great combination of parts and accessories, starting with a Hemi V-8 engine conversion. The 5.7-liter Hemi makes 390 horsepower and 407 pounds-feet of torque, giving the Recon more than enough power to accelerate quickly and climb some of the steepest terrain with ease. The engine is also fed with a functional cowl induction hood that contains heat-extractor side vents.
The factory Jeep JK suspension has been modified with a VWerks 4-inch lift kit, which consists of a 1.5-inch body-lift and new coil springs. A Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 front axle replaced the factory JK unit, while the rear was replaced with a Dynatrac Pro80 axle, outfitted with a Detroit Locker. Both axles use 5.38 gears and ARB air lockers. The 39-inch tall BFG Krawler tires are mounted on 17-inch diameter Hutchison beadlock wheels, and a PSC front-steering Ram Assist is also used to provide precise steering. A set of front and rear Genright fenders were also added to allow the large tires to gain maximum approach and departure angles when encountering steep terrain.
The military appearance and function to the Recon includes a VWerks 7/16 bed armor plate. It not only protects the occupants, but it also provides a sturdy platform for the machine gunner perch. The custom-made full-bed cage provides overhead protection and a wide array of mounting points for tools, storage and hardware. The rear also has a custom-stitched canvas cover that conceals the bed from onlookers who might want to steal any additional ammo or items you’ve scavenged during your daytime post-apocalyptic excursions.
Of course, it’s hard not to notice the Replica M2 machine gun on the MK93 machine gun mount with ammo can. There’s also an M240 adaptor for a 600-round ammo can and a 360-degree rotary mount that was provided by Crane Technologies. It’s enough protection and firepower to take on a city full of fast-running zombies -- and have fun doing it.
Just in case you need to haul a tank or tow a vehicle out from a steep highway ditch, VWerks added a military-style rear bumper with a variety of towing and recovery attachment point combinations. There’s even a Warn 9.5ti winch that can be operated from inside the cab. But the inside of this vehicle isn’t full of armor or even a metal dash.

The interior is where the military theme gives way to additional comfort and convenience. Two-tone Katzkin leather upholstery and VWerks floor mats provide a plush feel. All the instruments and gauges are factory JK Wrangler and include all the comforts you’d expect from a 2011 Jeep.  But Mopar half-doors allow an open view of terrain and a dash-mounted switch operates a set of powerful PIAA 520 ATP lamps that can expose any threat hiding in the darkness.
The Recon is definitely a vehicle that makes an impression. It’s when you step back and admire the capabilities and accessories on a vehicle like this that you wonder why some warlord would prefer to mount a machine gun on a pole and weld it into the bed of an old Toyota pickup?

All kidding aside, the potential for full military applications of the Recon isn’t hard to see. Even some toned-down versions of it -- obviously without the machine gun and mounts -- could be great for hunters or even farmers who constantly need to haul hardware through difficult terrain. While the Recon is more than the JK8 pickup, it’s a serious vehicle that has lots of potential for just about any purpose.

VWerks sells the Recon as a turn-key vehicle -- ready to take on whatever challenge you may have for it.

VWerks’ 4-inch lift kit consists of a 1.5-inch body-lift, new coil springs and Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks. BFG Krawler 39-inch diameter tires are mounted on 17-inch diameter Hutchison beadlock wheels.

The interior features two-tone Katzkin leather upholstery and VWerks floor mats to provide a plush, comfortable feel. 

The VWerks Hemi V-8 engine conversion fits perfectly into the Jeep’s engine bay and provides 390 horsepower and 407 pounds-feet of torque.


Definitely a menacing-looking truck, the VWerks Recon has the performance and firepower for military applications or simply to rid yourself of zombies in a post-apocalyptic era. The custom-made full-bed cage offers mounting points for tools, storage and hardware. The rear also has a custom-stitched canvas cover that conceals it. 


this is one mean machine, but to be honest with everybody in here there wont be any apocalypsis.

1 i think id rather get one with the hard top instead of the soft top.
2 can we order any other machine gun? m134 mini gun...?
3. how much does it cost for all this?

4 can i get bullet proof windows?

LOL! just kiddin...

interesting, not one part is bulletproof?

Get rid of the 5.7 Hemi, and put in the 3L V6 turbo diesel. It out-accelerates the Hemi in the same vehicle, plus much better mpgs, which = better range

Wonder what it would be like driving down the highway at 70 or 80 mph? With those gears it may not even hit 80.

You know Zombies only live in big cities so you would have to drive between towns on the interstate.

Where would I be without my daily dose of Fiat?

Dodge Ram
Expensive jeeps
Dodge Ram
Expensive jeeps
Dodge Ram
Expensive jeeps
monthly sales figures
Dodge Ram
Expensive jeeps
Dodge Ram
Expensive jeeps
Dodge Ram
Expensive jeeps

Exactly. In my way of thinking, the only way a non-bullet proof military design makes sense is if was real fast and nimble off-road. That thing ain't.

I missed it the first time around... what is in the bottle behind the seat?

Even if it was armored, you can bring that thing to a halt with one bullet to the tires.

The oil filter is too easy to tamper with or damaged by a flying stone. Same with the wiring harnes.

5.38 gear x 39" tire x .70 Overdrive gear = about 2300 rpm at 70 MPH

Bummer that the factory fuel tank only gives you about a 4-hour driving range with the hemi. Better hope the zombies get tired or lose interest quickly...

Pretty neat. I would like one of these for rush hour traffic.

That's a cool looking jeep. I think that's the red jacket firearms logo on the seats. This would be another jeep made for them.

Cool Jeep but didn't they get in trouble for the one they made with a sock cannon on it?

I'd have to agree with DenverMike - a fuel filter jutting out into the wheel well. So much fore "bulletproof".

You're right, MikeH, that is definitely a Red Jacket logo. Looks like Will is getting rid of the Bronco and getting a jeep!

Here's the equipment list directly from VWerks.


Military inspiration would mean independent axles!

Seriously, what can you carry with this Jeep?

I see so many Toyota's with .50cal's mounted in their bed and about a dozen soldiers likewise. This Jeep cannot even carry just a few soldiers at a time...

Forget the gun, I'll take the rest of it. Just ship it now.

@oxi - quote "I see so many Toyota's with .50cal's mounted in their bed and about a dozen soldiers likewise."
If that is the case you'd better run for the hills, that must be a sign of the impending zombie apocalypse. I didn't know Wisconsin has been overrun.....
Unless, of course, you've grown a beard, sprouted a turban, and know the Qur'an backwards and forewards. That would explain your hatred of government, and American institutions like Ram, Ford, and GMC ;)


GM, Ford and that other brand are not "American" institutions...

They are private sector and publically traded and thus have nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution...

By the way Ford just announced a new $760 million plant in China and now GM is building their new Cadilac in China...

@oxi - I was pulling your leg on that one, but in the broad sense of the definition, and if you look at the fact that individuals elevate motor vehicles (and the companies that make them) to the level of a deity (yourself included), the definition fits.
a. A custom, practice, relationship, or behavioral pattern of importance in the life of a community or society
b. Informal One long associated with a specified place, position, or function.
a. An established organization or foundation, especially one dedicated to education, public service, or culture.

Maybe this is the definition you are most familiar with:
c. A place for the care of persons who are destitute, disabled, or mentally ill.

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