Like many of us, Will Heaton is a Jeep enthusiast. Living in Seattle, WA has given him plenty of opportunities to explore the Pacific Northwest behind the wheel of his favorite vehicle. But one day something strange happened. Will got tired of going slow and creeping over rocks in low range. Maybe he’d watched one too many reruns of Talladega Nights or Dust To Glory, but Will wanted to go fast. And when we say fast, we mean really fast.
Apparently, Heaton is the kind of person that, when he commits to something, goes at it full-throttle and has no problem turning things up to 11. Will wasn’t going to merely bolt on some bypass shocks to his Jeep and call it a day. Nope, that wouldn’t come close. He wanted way more speed than any stock-based Jeep could deliver. What he had in mind would take some serious skill and fabrication work.
Heaton isn’t stupid, either. He had no intentions of dropping off his Jeep and a wad of cash at some unknown fabricator, and hope for the best. He doesn’t have the word “sucker” written on his forehead. Rather, he went straight to the top and enlisted Craig Stewart of Stewart Race Works to construct his go-fast Jeep. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Stewart Race Works builds the most radical prerunners on earth. They combine the capabilities of a Trophy Truck with the comforts of a full cab, power windows, air conditioning, a luxurious interior, booming sound system. and lots of amenities. Think of them as a luxury vehicle with the ability to blow through 3-foot-deep whoops at 100 mph. They are labor-intensive and extremely complicated, with a price tag of over $500,000.
Stewart Race Works was originally going to perform a moderate build for Heaton, but that quickly changed. Heaton shared that while he did want a Jeep that was fast in the rough, he also wanted to race it. Heaton and Stewart Race Works, they decided to go all out. The original tub of the Jeep was maintained, along with some of the frame rails, but the rest of it was built from scratch (including a one-off IFS front suspension). The result is an absolutely bump-gobbling machine that can fly through the desert at warp speed.
True to form, Heaton decided he would not only go desert racing, but enter the longest desert race in the United States: the General Tire Best In The Desert Vegas To Reno. While having never raced before, he decided to take on its 534 miles solo, without any driver changes. Ambition eventually collided with reality and Heaton smashed into a rock, severely damaging the front suspension. Not one to let a setback like that stop him, the welders were broken out, the Jeep was patched back together, and it limped to the finish line to take second in class. Way to keep 100, Will.