Been lurking here forever and I figured I'd finally share the story of my Jurassic Park Jeep....
After three years of painting and slowly changing/adding parts to make it match the 1993 Sahara, here it is!
Back in 2005 at a midnight showing of Ghostbusters, I started joking to my friend Will about how funny it would be to run out of a place like the Stanley Hotel or some large building in ghostbuster uniforms, carrying smoking ghost traps, handing the manager a bill for $5000, and running away. Of course, we'd record the whole thing and put it on the internet. Will laughed and said he knew how to build proton packs. I owned a white Subaru Outback at the time and I told him that if he built the packs, I'd convert my car.
Flash forward nearly a year.
My friends Austin and Will and I are talking about doing something spectacular for Halloween. We decide to go with the Ghostbusters idea. In June I start researching lightbar laws, construction costs, and ways to convert my car temporarily, with nothing permanent.
By September 22 I have completed the first iteration of my Ectomobile. We roll it out and people start going crazy. It's on the cover of the local newspaper, radio djs are trying to find out who we are, and the general public thinks we're real ghostbusters. I decide to keep the car, as it's ridiculously popular and enjoyed wherever it goes.
Flash forward to this spring. My buddy Ben is driving around his uncles 1970s Land Rover, and I suddenly realize I have a strong desire for and open-top, 4-wheel drive car. It occurs to me that if I buy a jeep, I could easily repaint it as one of the Jurassic Park jeeps, thus restarting the cycle and creating a new movie car for the masses to drool over.
And so the story begins.
In June I started searching ebay, craigslist, cars.com, and many other sites for 1990s-era jeep Wrangler. I find a white 1990 for about $4000.
I needed to turn this:
All I had to do was swap out the rollcage for the right shape, bolt on the correct side steps, replace the wheels, seats, and repaint it.
In early July we start stripping the paint, pulling the car apart, and prepping it to be repainted.
We eventually took it all the way down to bare metal. I am guessing that one of the previous owners had rolled the jeep because there was extensive body damage to both sides, both rear corners, and the original color of the drivers door was actually red. We had to pull out all the bad body work and re-bondo everything.
I painted it using screenshots from the Jurassic Park DVD, but since then there have been a number of Jeep builds from all over that used HD rips of the movie for better brand accuracy and color correction. When I built mine, I had to decide if the main color should be gray or a sort of champagne color. I opted for gray, eventually proving to be inaccurate, but which I became comfortable with in the end.
Masking for the stripes...
Replaced the windshield, pulled out all the carpet and rhino-coated the entire interior, that way I can just hose it out whenever I want.
Refinished the front bumper and attached the corner horns.
Restored and painted the side mirrors.
Replaced every light, lense, hinge, bolt, grill, and rubber seal on the car.
Found a rollcage at a Denver junkyard that would fit.
Found sidesteps at the same junkyard
Sold off the old tires and rims, and replaced them with stock wheels and brand-new BF Goodrich tires.
Mounted spare tire and restored rear bumper and undercarriage.
Ordered graphics... lots of graphics!
Applied graphics. The side 18s were originally reflective, I have since had them replaced with decals that are a flat gray.
Installed foglights, and took an ironic picture!
Got seats from a 1992 Sahara and installed them.
Mounted rollcage and cb antenna.
Around this time I started scrambling to have the car ready to be on display at the Nan Desu Kan convention in Denver. I was working on making a set of props to go with the car, a makeshift pelican case and a weapons/survival kit like the one used in the movie. I bought an $8 gun case from wal-mart and filled it with deactivated grenades, signal flares, and a flashlight.
I had a large InGen logo made and stuck on the gun case, and I also had a set of these made up, one of which ended up on the windshield as sort of an easter egg.
On the day of the con, Shauna and Ben helped me mount the fender flares. I replaced the sun visors as well, now featuring InGen embelms. The jeep was finally 'complete'! Granted, I still have to attach the side steps, the windshield lightbar, and the front winch.
On the way to the con I picked up my license plates from ActionSigns and a set of windshield wiper arms from Mike at NAPA. Upon arriving in Denver, I talked to the executive director of the convention and the head of security for the DTC Marriott. They gave me permission to put the jeep up on the grass and let me park the Ecto in front of the main entrance. Both cars were incredibly popular!
My crown jewel of the con, getting the cars in a picture with this guy!
Since then there have been many many more little adventures with this car...
In Spring of 2009, I one again picked up the sander and drill to finish the work I began. I bought one lightbar for use with off-road lights, and made one to be accurate to how Jeep 18 looked. I also got around to getting the side steps painted.
I decided to use the second lightbar for convention and wheeling season. I've slowly found that I dislike the height of the lightbar off the windshield, and I REALLY don't care for the awful whistling sound that comes from the bar and lights while driving over 50mph. I'll be painting and mounting the light-less bar this summer. Finally got around to installing the winch. I bought it before the HD version of the movie was created, and before the correct model was found by Cyrix. I opted to keep it, regarding it as one of those little details that no one but us builders and fanatics could ever grip about not being exactly correct.
With CKline's incredible JP employee costume!
I pulled the interior a couple of weeks back and gave it a good long cleaning and scuffed it up for it's bi-annual application of herculiner. I try to make sure everything is clean and pretty on the cars every year, but last summer was spent building the new Ecto, and I completely neglected the Jeep. Once I had the liner on I touched up the paint on the ends of the rollcage, painted my center console forest green (the blue has just gotten too nasty and faded), and retouched the bumpers. Man what a difference a little touch-up work on the dings and scratches make for my perception of this Jeep!
But I've created a dilemma in pulling everything out of the jeep. When I first got it, I drove it around town all summer long sans rollcage, with the windshield folded down. I fell in love with that go-kart, zero-blind spot sensation, and I felt I lost a little bit of it every time I added something to the jeep. Initially it was just the roll cage that bummed me out. Then the black soft top hardware, and the lightbar, followed by the lights. I felt like I was getting boxed in, and that my gloriously-simple topless vehicle was becoming just another ordinary car. Now that I have everything pulled, I DON'T WANT TO PUT IT BACK TOGETHER! lol
The girls and I cruised downtown tonight, wearing WWII aviator goggles for a little experiment onto the highway (safety not guaranteed), but managing to drive slow enough the rest of the time to prevent discomfort from the wind.
We rolled through the streets of downtown Denver with the cage gone, and the windshield folded down. Everyone lost their ******* minds. Maybe because the Jeep stood out more tonight. I don't know. All I know is that we got several hop-ons, a ton of pictures, people running out into traffic to risk giving the girls high-fives, and even a cop coming on the PA to tell us "there are no dinosaurs in the mall" as we crossed 16th Street. Jesus christ. Now I am debating risking life and limb to drive a wildly unsafe, and amazingly awesome, Jeep around town, putting off replacing all the rollcage parts as long as I can.... oh jesus.
Yes,, I know I could add some tool boxes and a bloodied Jeff Goldblum for a decent #10 jeep
Last weekend was StarFest, the big Colorado science fiction con. Despite a little rain, it was a great weekend!
Clean interior is... pretty clean!
Snapped by a member of the SomethingAwful forums and sent to me. Hilarious.
I also found some time to get up to Boulder and drive into the mountains a bit.
You can get super high-resolution pictures of my Jeep here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/7245611...7618143299472/