Just like with life, the build process for your perfect vehicle can take many twists and turns before reaching the end goal. There’s always build troubles, life events, family, and finances all to consider along the way, but when all is said and done, most enthusiasts will agree that no matter how many twists and turns came with the process, the end result was well worth it. For SoCal’s Tom Nasser, the acquisition of his ultimate off-road vehicle is just that – a bumpy, winding story of possibilities. But in the long run, Tom has his perfect off-road vehicle, this significantly modified 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
Photos: Nico Jarrett | Words: Lindsey Fisher
Tom’s enthusiasm for the lifted truck scene started as a teenager and led to the build of his first lifted rig, a 1990 2WD Toyota that featured a 3-inch body lift and 2-inch suspension lift, which sat atop 31-inch tires. Though the truck wasn’t his dream ride, Tom still drove it on a daily basis, enjoying every second of the thousands of miles he racked up in that time. When Tom graduated from college and got a “real job,” the Toyota was traded out for a thoroughly rusty 1969 Chevy Blazer for his next build.
Over the course of about eight years, Tom put his heart and soul (and wallet) into doing a frame-off body restoration on the truck and then beefing it up with a full roll cage, supercharger, 8-inch Skyjacker lift and whopping 37.5-inch tires. Even the interior and stereo system got a makeover. Ultimately, however, the overall mechanics of the Chevy were not upgraded and with about $50,000 sunk into the project, Tom was still chasing problems one after another. With three small kids and his family’s safety to consider by then, Tom made the tough decision to eventually sell his prized Chevy build.
Though a seemingly sad ending to Tom’s custom truck building days, it just so happened that around the same time he sold his Blazer, a friend of his bought a modern Jeep with some pretty sick modifications done to it. This appealed to Tom and inspired him to start looking in a completely different direction than he’d previously gone with his classic Chevy. This time, the build would be practical, family-friendly and include some modern creature comforts that lacked in the Blazer.
Pushing forward with the Jeep idea, Tom sunk any free time he had into researching the best way to go about the build, whether it was to have a shop build it for him or do some of the work himself while leaving some of it to the experts. Ultimately, Tom figured that he would spend a bit more by leaving it to the experts for the majority of the build but that would free him up for much needed family time as his last build sucked the life out of him. So the decision was made to make life a bit more simple and leave it to the experts to build his ultimate family ride, and after some more research the shop of choice would be 101 Motors in Tempe, Arizona.
While taking a couple days to think through the build with 101 Motors, Tom ended up coming across something he never thought he’d find, of all places, on eBay – the perfect Jeep as big as he wanted with all the modifications that he after and within his budget. This would save him a ton of coin AND time, and this Jeep was within 50 miles of his home. He had to jump at the opportunity to save both money and time so with financing handled, the highly-modified Jeep Wrangler Unlimited soon found its way into Tom’s garage.
As it turns out, the Jeep was freshly built by Rebel Off Road and was ready to take on the trails when the original owner, a Jeep enthusiast himself, fell on some circumstances that made it so he needed to sell his Jeep and sell it quickly. As they say, the stars aligned for both previous and future owner and both walked away from the deal better than expected. Now in Tom’s garage, the Jeep features everything from Rebel Off Road suspension components and TaraFlex axles to an array of Smittybilt armor and a custom red Katzkin leather interior. Of course as one would expect from Tom’s perfect build, the Jeep features 24-inch KMC XD Rockstar II wheels wrapped in 40-inch Toyo rubber and a hefty lift atop 12-inch King remote reservoir coilovers.
Beefed up with a Magnuson supercharger and custom tune, as well as Magnaflow mufflers, there’s no stopping this lifted Jeep on or off the trail, which is exactly what Tom set out for from the beginning. Safe for his family and a heck of a lot of fun to drive, we’re sure this modern Jeep won’t be giving way to another ground-up build in Tom’s garage, at least for a long, long time!
Owner: Tom Nasser
Vehicle: 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Hometown: Southern California
Rebel Off Road recon bolt-on coilover conversion system
12-inch King remote reservoir coilovers, front and rear
Custom red powder coat
TeraFlex Long arm suspension system including front and rear track bars
TeraFlex Dana 60 front and rear axles
ARB locking differentials Front and Rear
JE Reel 1310 driveshafts front and rear
Performed by: Rebel Off Road
Smittybilt XRC front fenders, corner guards and body cladding
Knuckles Off Road front bumper with grille hoop
Knuckles Off Road front skid plate
Knuckles Off Road rear bumper with angled tire carrier
Fuel Off-Road Jeep JK grille
AEV heat reduction hood
Rugged Ridge hood catches
Smittybilt XRC winch
AMP Research automatic steps
Wild Boar fastback hard top with dual power sunroofs
Truck-Lite LED headlights
Rigid Industries E-Series 50” LED Bar
Rigid Industries Dually D2 LED pods, two pairs
Recon LED tail lights
Recon LED Amber front turn signals
Performed by: Rebel Off Road
Final lighting side step and electrical work performed by: Essential Fabrication
Custom Red Katzkin leather upholstery
Custom painted Red Mopar interior trim pieces
JL Audio powered subwoofers x2
Audison tweeters and speakers throughout
Stereo system performed by: Traffic Jamz
System tuned and upgraded by: Meece Car Audio