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Fabstock 2008
Story and Photos by Ricky Berry

Back in September of '08, Dan Dubose of Blue Torch Fab in Birmingham, AL, received a Private Message on Pirate4x4.com's forums about Viktor Whitlow, a young Army Reserve Veteran who had his Jeep vandalized in the parking lot of his college campus. The vandals broke into his Jeep TJ, destroyed the interior and cut up the seats, slashed the tires, spray painted all over it, including painting "Soldiers are Murderers" on the hood.

Two years ago, Blue Torch FabWorks, Inc. put together an event they called "FabStock 2007". FabStock was a one weekend buildup helping a fellow wheeler to fix his Jeep after some unfortunate happenings. When the guys at Blue Torch heard what happened to Viktor, they decided to take this project on and help get his Jeep back up and running better than before, FabStock style. Other vendors started pitching in any way they could to help with the effort, and soon FabStock 2008 was underway!

Volunteers rolled into the Blue Torch shop early Friday morning to help. They began disassembling the Jeep, and before long there was a big pile of old parts on the floor. The interior was completely stripped, and the axles and suspension were out from underneath. Most of the day was spent disassembling and doing the time-consuming task of grinding off old brackets to make room for the new parts. The guys knocked off a little early and sat down for some awesome grub. Everyone got some of Glenn Peters' chili, and some of the best BBQ we've ever had, much less had in a fab shop.

Saturday's work load looked tremendous and very intimidating, but lots of volunteers including Ian Johnson of Xtreme 4x4 were signing up to help the BTF crew get it done. Terry Moore was there to show some support with the big Snap-On truck inside the shop, with all their latest tools and gadgets on display. Workers began by putting the suspension back under it. Rubicon Express donated one of their top-of-the-line Long Arm suspension kits for the build. Also, Currie donated an Anti-Rock sway bar for the Jeep to keep things stable on, and off the road.

After the suspension was finished being installed, work began on the roll cage. For this cage, Blue Torch worked with Troy Johnson from The Fab School to engineer a cage so that it can be used as a D.I.Y. cage kit that will be available for purchase from Blue Torch soon. Much time was spent documenting each measurement and bend on this cage so progress went slow.

Tom at PSC Motorsports sent one of their Hydro Assist kits to go on the Jeep, complete with steering ram, steering box, hoses, and reservoir. Steering won't ever be a concern with this great setup.

A little bit of work went on under the hood as well. The guys at True Flow sent an awesome intake system for the 4.0 to help it breathe a little better and push out some more power! Also, PPG painted one of the BTF battery boxes for the build. This was definitely the coolest looking part to go on the Jeep.

After the main fabrication work was done, it was time to install some of the bolt-in parts. The new hood and fenders were put on the Jeep to replace the dented up ones that were battered by the vandals. Then, the interior was starting to go back together. PRP sent in a set of seats for the front and a bench seat for the back. Also, since the tires were slashed, the Jeep will be rolling on some 35" Interco TrXus tires that are wrapped around a set of bling 17" Pro Comp Xtreme simulated beadlock wheels.

Since Blue Torch was hosting this build, it's only natural that they would install a few parts of their own. In addition to the roll cage, BTF stepped up with a set of crusher corners, and BTF rocker guards. BTF also put their weld-on bumper, winch plate, and stinger on the front in order to mount the new Warn Endurance 12.0 fan-cooled winch, with Viking synthetic winch rope.

Sunday was spent trying to tie up the loose ends. By the end of the day the Jeep was sitting with everything installed, ready to go to the paint shop. FabStock 2008 was a success. Big thanks to everyone involved, especially the volunteers that put in the work to get this Jeep done.

For more information on this event, check out the FabStock 2008 thread on our forum:
www.pirate-4x4.ru/forum/showthread.php?t=719900

Or check out Blue Torch FabWorks, Inc at:
www.bluetorchfab.com