When you’re rolling around the streets of Dubai, supercars are a dime a dozen. So if you’re a wealthy Sheikh that wants to have something unique, and equally badass, you have to get creative. And that’s exactly what one particular Sheikh did when he decided he wanted the ultimate high horsepower sand toy. He ended up with a heavily modified two door Jeep Wrangler called the “UAE1,” and it’s impressive to say the least.
The shops he commissioned to build the UAE1 are Offroad Evolution and Evo Manufacturing, both owned by Mel Wade. They’re considered the pioneers of the cantilever suspension and coilover conversions for the Jeep JK’s and are responsible for numerous high-end Jeep builds from all over the world. Wade wanted to build the Sheikh something special but wanted to do it using products off the shelf from his EVO Manufacturing line. But considering the situation, he did have to add a few unique touches that won’t be found on any other Jeep.
Between Offroad Evolution and EVO, Wade essentially has a full-service 4×4 shop and they can do pretty much anything that would ever need to be done on a Jeep. Throughout the UAE1 build, you will see all sorts of EVO body armor including rock sliders, bumpers, inner fender liners and so much more. The main goal of the Jeep was to make it have supercar performance in the sand, but it also had to look the part. Apparently, they wanted it to look fast even when it was standing still, and I think Wade and his crew managed to achieve that.
One of the many things they did to achieve that was to change the profile shape of the Jeep. They chopped the top by two inches and also tilted it back which gives it the resemblance of a “fastback.” You really don’t notice it much when looking at it head on, however, if you look from the side you’ll immediately notice a difference. Something else you might not notice at first is the fact that both the frame and body of the two-door Jeep was stretched by a total of 9 inches. By doing so, that meant they also needed a custom built roll cage, although it still resembles the one that came from the factory.
Being that the Sheikh wanted a supercar for the sand, there’s no way the stock 3.8L V6 was going to cut it. Of course, Mel and his crew provided yet another example of that by installing a 6.1L Hemi V8 under the hood of the UAE1. Unfortunately, exact power figures weren’t released but we do know it supposedly has more power than Mel’s personal Ultra4 race vehicle which is rated at 575hp.
All that power requires that the running gear get beefed up so there’s no need to worry about snapping axles while out in the middle of the desert. Wade and his crew opted to use Dynatrac high-pinion Prorock 60 axles front and rear which should be more than enough to handle the abuse this Jeep will likely face.
Speaking of abuse, that brings me to one of the biggest upgrades on the UAE1, the suspension system. Even in stock form, the Wrangler is a very capable machine, but this is absolutely one of those “go big or go home” type situations and considering that money wasn’t a concern it’s hard to come up with a reason why not. So for this, Wade used an off the shelf trailing arm four-link system that’s inspired by the hardcore off-road racing vehicles for the rear. This system is capable of as much as 20 inches of wheel travel and while it may not be the 36-inches you see on a Trophy Truck, it’s at least 6 inches more than you’ll see on a stock Ford Raptor. As far as the front suspension components, they opted to use a Double-Throwdown coilover and bypass conversion that offers 14 inches of wheel travel, matching that of the Raptor. To maintain adjustability, King shocks were installed on all four corners. All of that put together should provide one hell of a comfortable ride, as well as be able to handle jumps, whoops, and any other harsh terrain one might encounter out in the desert.
Regarding the interior of the UAE1, they decided to continue with a functional, yet minimalist style. So they custom built an aluminum dash with spots for two iPads to be fixed inside, both of which are loaded with LeadNav software which is the same system you’ll find in the top of the line desert race vehicles. And when you combine that with the RacePak gauge system, you have the makings of a true high-end desert machine. However, they still wanted to maintain some of the original factory looks so they kept the stock steering wheel and shift levers.
Once all was said and done, the Sheikh was so happy with what Wade and his crew accomplished that he had them build a four door Jeep truck to use as a chase vehicle, and that was based solely on pictures because he hadn’t taken delivery of it yet. Instead, both vehicles will be shipped together so they arrive as a package deal. Although, “deal” may not be the best choice of word there considering the cost of doing something like this.
All Photos: DrivingLine