Americans rally with donations of cash, services for 'Project Fearless'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – RK Motors Charlotte, one of the nation’s premier restorers, re-sellers and builders of classic, muscle and high-performance cars, spearheaded a project to restore and customize a classic Ford Bronco in honor of fallen hero, US Navy SEAL Chief Adam Brown.
The truck was part of a “Give Forward” campaign where the public donated $65,319,660, while RKMC and other corporate sponsors including 5-Hour Energy, RoushYates, BDS Suspension and ESAB provided parts, services and additional funds for “Project Fearless.” The 1991 Bronco was recently completed in the RK Motors Performance Center, located in Mooresville, N.C,. and unveiled to Chief Brown’s family.
“When I first heard of Chief Brown’s incredible bravery, I was moved by his sacrifice,” said Rob Kauffman, owner and chairman, RK Motors, LLC. “While his service as a Navy SEAL was admirable, his battle to overcome personal demons to reach the U.S. military’s top tier was inspiring. We felt compelled to help rebuild Chief Brown’s Bronco as a tribute to him and his family. It was just the right thing to do.”
Adam Brown’s story was chronicled in the New York Times bestselling book “FEARLESS,” by Eric Blehm. Killed in action during 2010 in Afghanistan, Chief Brown died placing himself in the line of fire to protect his unit. These actions saved the lives of several of his men. The 12-year US Navy veteran was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his heroism. He is survived by his wife and two children.
“We understand that Mrs. Brown bought the truck for Adam and he loved driving it,” said Joseph Carroll, RKMC CEO and president. “But overseas tours made it difficult to maintain it. With his friends and other sponsors, we returned the Bronco to duty for his family as a symbol of Chief Brown’s life.”
The 1991 Ford Bronco was the model's 25th anniversary year. With its fuel injected V8 engine, it was considered a cutting edge American off road truck. Now clad in custom bodywork, “Desert Tan” paint and upgraded throughout, the “Project Fearless” Bronco was transformed into virtually a new vehicle.
“The initial goal was to simply restore the truck,” said Darell Johnston, RK Fabrication and Team Leader for the Bronco Project. “But as we got to know the Brown family, their vision to make the truck something much greater, much like Chief Brown lived his life, took the build in a new direction. So we stripped it down to the frame and methodically began building the ultimate go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle. It’s a true reflection on the man we’re honoring.”
RK began its renovation with the Ford’s heart. The original V8 was replaced with a new 5.0L “Coyote” Aluminator engine that churns out over 400 HP. It is connected to a Transzilla T56 six speed with a Centerforce dual friction clutch sending power to a 241 GM transfer case with slip yoke eliminator.
The rear end was replaced with a Ford 8.8 unit using Yukon 31-splines while the front axles get their power from a “Detroit Locker” sporting 4:56 gears. The suspension features a BDS lift system, Warn locking hubs and a Power Slot brake system.
The team wanted the exterior of the Bronco to reflect the truck’s capabilities, so the body was prepped for a new “Desert Tan” finish. The Bronco now has a one piece fiberglass hood that flips forward to open, fiberglass wheel flares, custom bumpers, a Warn M12000 winch, “ammo storage” boxes on rails and custom Superbright LED lighting. The side trim and emblems were smoothed and deleted for a more modern appearance. The “super truck” rides on 18”x12” Fuel Off-road wheels wrapped in 38/15.50/18 Nitto Mud Grappler tires.
The interior was not left untouched. It was enhanced with custom Corbeau seats, custom panels, hand fabricated dash, LED accent lighting, Classic Instruments’ aviation-style gauges, a Vintage Air climate control system, Kenwood touchscreen stereo sending tunes to the Alpine speakers, subwoofer and 5-channel amplifier, as well as various military hardware touches.
The vehicle was displayed to the public for the first time this past weekend at the RKM Collector Car Auction, from Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in the Charlotte Convention Center. It will be next shown at the Charlotte International Auto Show from Nov. 21-24 in the convention center, also.
For more images of the Bronco, please follow http://myclassicgarage.com/social/profile/operation-fearless. Those interested in RK Motors Charlotte or the vehicles available in its inventory, can visit www.RKMotorsCharlotte.com or call 704-596-5211.
A brief bio on Adam Brown
Navy SEAL Chief (SOC) Adam Brown was killed in action in Komar Province, Afghanistan, on March 17, 2010. In true "Adam Brown Style" he died a true hero, placing himself in the line of fire to protect other members of his unit. Adam’s Special Ops Assault Team was assaulting an enemy compound, an operation Adam had performed many times.
The U.S. Forces were engaging the enemy in a fire fight, when a portion of the U.S. soldiers were pinned down by very heavy fire from the enemy compound. In an effort to protect his men, Adam charged the enemy from a better vantage point, drawing fire away from his pinned down comrades. His selfless action relieved the fire on his men, but it unfortunately resulted in Adam being struck by enemy fire. One other member of the American Team was wounded, but Adam’s heroic action saved the other men. The enemy compound was captured and all enemy combatants were killed in the action.
Adam was a 12-year veteran of the United States Navy, with several tours of duty overseas. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX – the counterterrorism unit that took down Osama bin Laden – there was a fun-loving country boy from Arkansas whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey. An undersized daredevil, prone to jumping off roofs into trees and off bridges into lakes, Adam was a kid who broke his own bones but would never break a promise to his parents … until he grew older, and his family watched that appetite for risk draw him into a downward spiral that eventually landed him in jail.
Adam was a man of extremes, whose determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love and support of his wife. He was a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.
Anyone who knew Adam would tell you it was important to him that his legacy be remembered and his story be told. He spent the latter part of his life helping those around him haunted by the mistakes he made years earlier. Adam was an incredibly strong christian who loved the Lord and served him until his last, mortal breath. The majority of the members in his unit perished when the Chinook helicopter transporting them was viciously shot down while on a mission in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, only a few short months after Adam's death.