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FROSTBITE | 2021 JEEP GLADIATOR

Words: KRISTIE REAL

Photos: DALE MARTIN | @DMARTY78

It’s been a minute since we caught up with Blake Boatwright. A lot has changed since his past features, including a move back to their home state of Colorado and having to close down the retail side of their automotive aftermarket business. But it wasn’t all bad given all the changes sparked his and his wife Victoria’s love for building custom Jeeps again. “We knew this next build had to be the biggest and best build we have ever done,” he elaborates on his latest creation titled “Frostbite.” The winter theme was chosen to celebrate their move back to the mountains and snow, showing off their love for the winter wonderland Colorado is known for.

With an intent to build a Jeep that could handle anything they threw at it, the Gladiator was the perfect base thanks to the extra space in the bed and the capability to tow snowmobiles up the hills in winter. “The elements that we live in up in the mountains helped determine a lot of the choices we made on this build,” Victoria admits. The first challenge was coming up with a way to protect the paint from being damaged by the snow, so they talked to their friend Jordan at Starwood Motors about hooking up the Jeep with the best paint job possible.

“They painted the Gladiator in their signature Azzurro Blue finish because of the protection it’ll provide against harsh winters and
trail riding in the summers,” he mentions. With paint secured, it was time to look at suspensions, which was easy given it needed to fit the 44×19.50R26 Intero Boggers he’d always wanted to run. JKS Suspension had a new long-arm suspension with front coilover conversion, which fit perfectly with the tire set-up and let him maximize the height to make sure they had zero rubbing. A set of 26×16 TIS F71 wheels finish off the rugged look.

“Another key part of this build was the bumpers and fenders,” he details. “The Fab Fours products set off the look and added the tenth to make the Jeep build bulletproof.” Then a Racktecs roof system provided the extra flair the exterior needed while BAMFled lighting added the eye-worthy accents. Precision Powder Coating used Prismatic Powders to finish off the Jeep with extra flair. Fun in the snow wouldn’t be complete without some good tunes, which is provided by a custom JL Audio system done by Colorado Car Audio.

Since the build was done during the pandemic, the couple ran into a part shortage during the project. But the setback caused the husband-and wife-building duo the chance to make changes on the fly, which only enhanced the overall aesthetic of the Jeep when everything was finished after seven months of hard
work and lots of flights for Blake. “He had taken 36 flights back to Dallas, TX, during the construction of this build,” Victoria mentions. “Between 36 flights back and forth to Colorado, delays, canceled flights, and lost luggage that contained parts, we barely finished it all on time, which was merely hours before it had to get on the transportation truck to SEMA 2021.”

But all the traveling and challenges were worth it when it was proudly displayed in the TIS booth that year. While the Boatwrights usually have their eyes set on their next customs after one project is done, this time, Black and Victoria admit that they are taking a break from customizing for a bit.

“In 2016 we set the goal of building a Jeep that was worthy of being displayed at SEMA,” she confesses. “Since then we have accomplished displaying five personal vehicles at SEMA, have been featured four times in magazines, and have met some incredible people along the way. We are so thankful for everything that the industry has provided us throughout the years. It’s time to set new goals and start working to achieve those!”

And when they get back to customizing, we’re sure they’ll bring their A-game and go above and beyond for that next rig.

Specs

2021 Jeep Gladiator FROSTBITE 

WHEELS/TIRES
• TIS Forged 71 wheels
• Interco 44×19.50R26 tires
SUSPENSION
• JKS long arm with coilover conversion
• Fox 2.5 piggybacks rear shocks
• Ford Dana 60 Gears
• Yukon 5.38 Driveshafts
• Adams driveshafts
EXTERIOR
• Starwood Motors signature finish paint Azzurro Blue
• Fab Fours front stubby bumper
• Fab Four rear bumper
• Fab Fours rock sliders
• Fab Fours ViCowl
• Fab Fours front and rear fenders
• Warn winch
• Monster hooks
• Racktec roof rack
• Yakima fat cat 6
• Kap King Floater caps
• Rhino hitch
• Infinite rule security locks
• True Ppike lug nuts
• Prismatic powders
LIGHTING
• Hid Projector headlights
• BAMFled lighting
PERFORMANCE
• Flo Pro exhaust
• R1 Concept brakes
INTERIOR
• PRP race seats
• Motobilt seat brackets
• PRP 5-point harnesses
• Lockerdown safe
• Alpine Restyle head unit
• Custom sub box built by MTI
• Jl Audio Amp And Subs
• Morel 38 limited edition 3-way
• Morel 38 limited edition – way
• Switch Pro 8100
BED
• ARE tipper
• Cargo glide
• JL Audio Media Master
• (4) JL Vex enclosed tower speakers
• (2) JL 7.7 enclosed tower speakers
• (4) JL 6.5 Marine Speakers mounted in the cargo glide
• Seadek topper
• Laka coolers
• Pro Eagle jack

SHOUT OUTS: We want to take the time to thank TIS Wheels for partnering with us and letting us display FROSTBITE in their SEMA booth. We are beyond grateful to have the opportunity to run the best wheels in the industry. We also want to give a giant thank you to all the sponsors that have partnered with us on this build. We are proud to be able to display so many incredible products on this jeep from industry-leading companies. This build couldn’t have happened without the countless hours Dion Casto and my husband Blake poured into it to make it happen.

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