Meet the Crew

michael crew

Name:Michael Lupino
Location: Virginia Beach
Vehicle: 1997 Jeep Cherokee, 4.0, AW4, with tires, doors, or no doors, and some junk in the trunk

Build Thread

I came into the Jeep scene on pure chance. I bought the Battle Wagon in early fall of 2007 simply because I wanted a 4 door SUV and I liked the way it looked. Up until this point I had pretty much only been interested Mustangs in all flavors. This was my first vehicle purchase that had more than two doors.

I thought it would be cool to put a mild lift on it and some tires but never got around to it. I drove and abused it throughout college and my early marriage. My wife and I almost sold it simply because of a bad radiator. I wanted something new at the time and we went back to the Mustang. She got hooked on the 5 speed ‘Stang and after our other old vehicle’s engine blew I got back in the XJ.

I started learning about all it’s capabilities and fell in love. There is nothing like the Jeep community and am glad to be a part of it. I hope this is just a way to give back from my experience.


matt crew

Name: Matt Taylor
Location: Virginia Beach
Vehicle: 1999 Jeep Cherokee w/ 4.5″ lift, 33’s, and a bunch of junk on it, just how it should be.

Build Thread

About Me: I’m a total gear-head. I love working on vehicles, driving, them, knowing about them – everything that encompasses being a car nut. I can honestly say that I’ve always loved Jeeps, especially the XJ. I remember when I was 7 or 8 years old, I was in the car with my dad, this old beat up ’84 Cavalier (ugh), and a XJ drove through the intersection we were sitting at. I told him, “Dad, one day I’m gonna have one of those!” Well, 5 years ago, that wish came true when I finally found “that one”.

Experience: All of my experience I chalk up to my dad. He and I spent 7 years taking a ’72 Chevy C10 from a straight-6 farm truck to a show winning, 350 powered thing of beauty, literally restoring it from the frame up. Combine that with spending nearly every weekend int eh garage with him until I was 24 and moved out and that adds up to quite a bit of time working on cars. I don’t know all there is to know about vehicles, but I’m always learning more.


kevin crew

Name: Kevin Hix
Location: Portsmouth, VA
Vehicle: 2000 Jeep Cherokee – 3″ of lift, 31s, rear locker and some other goodies.

Build Thread

I was bitten by the offroad bug from my very first “car” – a bone-stock 85 S-10 4×4 with a 2.8L and 235s. When I sold it in 2002, I upgraded to 87 Silverado with a 350 and 35s. Parking the truck in 2005, I tried life in a 72 Chevelle and an 05 Corolla – great cars but neither were destined to stay. In 2008, both cars were sold and I fired up the old truck again. In 2009, I started shopping for a smaller 4×4. I was thinking a used Liberty, RAV4 or CRV.

In short order, the suggestion of an XJ came along. Before I looked at them seriously, I eyed some TJs but I quickly realized that they were priced about 2½ times more than the XJs even though they had essentially the same drive train and other components. The XJ was it! Good engine, solid front axle, able to tow my ATVs, available with 4 doors, and a fantastic platform should I ever decide to build another offroad rig.

I’ve had my XJ nearly 4 years now. It was in great shape and I got a bargain on it but it’s been constant work and will likely continue to be. I’ve decided that catastrophic failure and the subsequent repairs is the “Jeep thing” they’re always talking about.

Despite all the sweat equity it’s taken to get my XJ where it is and keep it going, I’m happy with all I’ve learned and I’m looking forward to future mods and adventures.


tomme crew

Name: Tomme Connelley
Location: Norfolk, VA
Vehicle: 2003 Jeep Liberty- 4 inches of lift, 32s and a few other things.

Build Thread

I have been a “car-guy” since I was old enough to play with Matchbox cars. Even before I had a license I was into off-roading, being from the outer banks my family spent a lot of time on the beach and the first time I ever drove was behind the wheel of my uncle’s 1986 Dodge RamCharger on the beach when I was about 11, after that I was hooked. When I decided to get a four-by of my own, I wanted a Jeep but two things kept me from getting one, cost and the fact that they were so common…everyone had a Jeep, so I got a Geo Tracker instead. I had a lot of Trackers/Suzukis and loved the looks I got when they saw my Geo on 35s with 6 inches of lift and a snorkel  When Suzukis started getting popular I changed to an even more elusive 4×4 and bought a couple of Daihatsu Rockys. While I loved the rarity of the Daihatsu they were too rare to tear up off road and parts were really hard to come by so I was again in the market for a new off-roading toy and looked again a Jeeps. In keeping with my need for being just a little bit different I chose the KJ to build.


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