I drove my first Jeep in 1977 while doing summer volunteer work. I was 14 years old and didn't even have a driver's license. It didn't really matter since the vehicle was a retired Willys donated by the Army. The Willys was more rust than metal, spent more time being fixed than being driven and was generally considered a minor minion of Satan himself. Needless to say, I loved it. It met a horrible end when an incoming tide caught it on the beach sinking it hopelessly in the sand. Someone told me that the Army sent a sky crane chopper out to extract it, but managed only to break it in half in the process.

The first Jeep I actually owned was arranged for me by my stepfather in 1983. It was an old postal truck that a business associate of his had rather successfully converted into an off-road vehicle. It was two-wheel drive, but was extremely light and had enormous sand tires that allowed it to float across most loose terrains. The right-hand drive steering was quite a conversation piece and it proved to be an extremely reliable Jeep. I paid a whopping $1,300 for it and definitely got my money's worth.

Ironically, the initial product idea for Primal Effects was born about the same time although I hadn't realized it yet. In 1984, while working as a graphic designer, I was commissioned to do the cover art for a board game that involved rival car gangs in a post-apocalyptic world (a la Road Warrior). Among the various conceptual sketches delivered was a drawing of a muscle car with machine guns in the headlights and vicious-looking tusks protruding from the front bumper. The client bought some of the concepts, but this one image was tossed back in the portfolio and didn't see the light of day again for another 11 years.

In 1993 I bought my first-ever brand new car. I figured I deserved it after such a long and distinguished line of used rides which included a '71 Vega, a postal truck and a white Chevy station wagon that my friends dubbed the Albino Rhino. I bought a 1993 Jeep Wrangler with every option available except for the Sahara paint and interior scheme. In the Summer of 1996, while sketching paint schemes for this Jeep, my old portfolio resurfaced and the light bulb came on. The biggest hurdle was to figure out exactly how to fabricate the tusks. Lots of possibilities were considered, but time and money prevented any of them from becoming reality. The idea was put on the back burner for yet another 4 years.

In March of 2000, while on a road trip to Ft. Myers, Florida, disaster struck. A tire failure on the interstate at about 75 mph resulted in a sick rollover accident that totalled the Jeep. Despite tumbling six times and leaving a forty-yard debris trail, I walked away with only a sprained thumb thanks to Simpson 5-point restraints!

I had the tangled mess towed back to my house where I began the process of dismantling and sorting every salvageable part. I also started searching for another '93 that would become the host for all the transplant parts. Within two weeks, I found it. A teal Colorado rock crawler that somehow ended up in Jacksonville, Florida. The process of merging the two vehicles began. It goes without saying that there isn't a lot of rock crawling in Florida, nor is there much swamp land in Colorado. I'd have a tough time finding two more unlikely candidates for this operation.

While pulling the intake manifold on the wrecked Wrangler, it hit me - CASTING! I scrounged a scrap piece of sculptable foam and began mocking-up the first tusk. To keep things simple, I made a symmetrical unit that could be both left and right-handed to save tooling costs. Because I was designing a product to fit a Jeep front bumper, it was a pretty safe bet. One size fits all - all the way back to 1941.

Then came the task of finding a foundry that could handle the project. After six foundries said it couldn't be done (an industry technical phrase for "I don't want to bother with it") I located a small family-owned operation in Washington state that was interested in the project. They helped educate me on what could and could not be done and very quickly produced a sand-cast set of prototypes that would be tested before the investment in permanent tooling and molds. Despite many productions runs since, that original prototype set still graces the front bumper of my Wrangler.

I don't actually remember how long it was, but I wanted to live with the prototypes for a while and get unsolicited feedback before I bit the bullet on the big costs. It didn't take long at all. On day one I had people stopping me in traffic wanting to know what they were and where I got them. I have to admit, it was pretty cool having so many folks so interested in what I was doing. When Jeepers and other off-roaders starting asking me where they could get a set, I knew I had to move forward.

I committed many thousands of dollars of my own money to cover the cost of tooling and a couple of final test sets. After checking them out and ensuring everything was good, I had to come up with the additional funds for starting inventory (thanks Dad for the investment). I then built the first Web site and started taking orders. Only a self-employed business owner could really understand how thrilling it was every time one of those e-mails came in indicating an order. The magic has never worn off.

Now with product in twenty states and three countries, it was time to change gears. A good friend of mine and kindred whacko, who isn't much of a Jeep fan but loves his Hummer H2, came into the picture. He loved the idea but was disappointed that the existing product could not be easily modified to fit the H2. To start with, the vehicle has no front bumper at all. Instead, the cowl and front impact zones are integrated into a wedge-shaped nose assembly that tilts forward to open the hood and absolutely defies any attempt to mount anything other than the optional factory brush guard and a small handful of aftermarket accessories.

It was clear that there were only three options - design a clunky adapter for the Jeep product, carve up the front of a $50,000 SUV, or repeat the entire design and tooling process for the Hummer. Fortunately my friend had the resources to cover the new effort. Suddenly, Primal Effects was a two-product company! The Hummer line is still in its infancy and is not yet running on it own momentum, but we have a marketing plan in place and its just a matter of time.

As for the future, I have a number of ideas that need resources and time. An inexpensive snorkel kit, a unique headlight treatment that goes very nicely with the tusks, and a couple more surprises are in the soup. Check back now and again to see how its coming along.

Thanks to our customers for getting us this far, and thanks to those reading this but who haven't purchased yet for taking an interest.

What is Primal Effects about?

True off-road vehicles are not really known for style. It could be said that they are the purest expression of form following function - lots of utility with very little given to comfort or beauty.

Street machines have their wings, neon and ground effects. Why can't we have a style all our own? That's where Primal Effects comes in. We took our cues from nature and developed a product that truly brings out the beast in your rig!