Jeep owners dig the "slop shop" to customize their rides

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- You see them decked out and cruising the Houston highways. But they don't look like anything else on the road. Jeep owners are personalizing their rides not only for style, but ability as well.

Christian Hamilton is the owner of Jeep Slop Shop in Kemah. He's the one Jeep owners go to when they're looking to take their rides to the next level.

"98 percent of our business is Jeep Wranglers. Maintenance and repair, custom fabrication, custom suspensions," Hamilton explained.

He says accessorizing has come a long way over the years. It's the versatility of these vehicles that make them truly unique.

"They're the ultimate Mr. Potato Head," Hamilton said. "You can have it one way in the morning, and a total different way in the afternoon."

As many owners understand, personalizing your four-wheel drive can be costly.

"Most people build them, saying this is my Jeep, I'm not going to get rid of it. And they'll put a lot of money into it," Hamilton said.

"I put $12,000 in it last year, and it's steadily climbing," Chris Crain said. "By the time it's all said and done, I'll probably have 20 to 30 grand in it."

Craine uses his Wrangler for rock crawling and says his investment is worth every penny.

"It's the thrill, the adrenaline and watching what you can do with it," Crain said.

Once Jeep owners are bitten by the bug, the possibilities are limitless.

"I did the first lift kit to it, put it on 35's. Took it wheeling. It wasn't where I wanted it, so we took it back underneath the knife, put it to where you see it now," Crain said.

"They're changing bumpers out, lights, different wheels, different tires, axles, suspension. All the little nick knack stuff you can put inside the vehicle that they make for it," Hamilton said.

And many say no Wrangler is complete without a winch.

"If you have a winch on the front of your vehicle, you're able to self-recover yourself out of a sticky situation. Be it in the mud, the rocks, the sand," Hamilton said.

Besides the look and ability of these 4X4's, it's the owners that make them stand out as well. From Jeep meet up clubs, to charitable events, they say it's a comradery like no other.

"Driving 60 miles down the freeway with your top off, it's a whole different experience. Put your seat belt on, cruise down the beach and enjoy it," Hamilton added.

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