Near-stock Wrangler Unlimited Completes 53,000-mile Trip Around Africa

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It took nearly three years, but adventurer Dan Grec drove his Wrangler Unlimited through 35 countries along Africa’s coasts.

Many Jeep Wranglers lead hard lives. Their owners love them so much that they often drive their rigs on a daily basis. That alone adds a certain amount of wear and tear. Many of those owners also go wheeling in their Wranglers, which often ends with a part being broken or a fender being dented. Adventurer Dan Grec’s 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon has probably had one of the roughest existences of any JK. He recently got back from driving it down and up the west and east sides of Africa – all 53,726 miles of them.

Where did the man behind the site The Rode Chose Me start his ultimate test of Jeep durability? According to the FCA North America video above, at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan back in 2016. Dan Grec's JK Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited Overlanding Rig

After that, “I shipped my Wrangler across the Atlantic into Europe. I drove down and caught a ferry to Morocco. And then I drove for about a year and a half down the west coast of Africa, through about 15 or 17 countries,” Grec said. Once he reached the east coast, he kept going up until he hit Egypt. Dan Grec's JK Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited Overlanding Rig

It’s clear Grec’s Jeep has a lot of mods on it, but it’s not completely aftermarket. According to him, “This Wrangler is very stock driveline-wise. Stock engine, stock Rubicon axles and driveline, but what it does have is a lot of camping modifications.” Those range from solar panels to a dual-battery set-up to a fridge to a roof-mounted pop-up tent. Custom interior cabinets hold small, important items. To get him over rough terrain, Grec’s JK has a 2.5-inch lift and 17-inch steel wheels wrapped in 34-inch all-terrain tires. Dan Grec's JK Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited Overlanding Rig

Grec no doubt encountered difficulties during his 999 days in Africa, but his Wrangler didn’t cause any of them. “It never once let me down. It never once left me stranded on the side of the road.” Dan Grec's JK Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited Overlanding Rig

Where will Grec go next? He’s not sure yet. But wherever he decides to go, we have no doubt his Wrangler will be ready to get him there.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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