Just for Fun

Fun stuff that we do just because we can!

Mountain biker? Camper? Outdoor enthusiast? This Jeep is for you.

Using exclusive Jeep performance parts and custom accessories, Mopar designers transformed a 2020 Jeep Gladiator into a fun concept vehicle for mountain bikers.

Loaded with nearly 20 performance parts, the Gladiator Top Dog Concept was created for passionate mountain bike enthusiasts, but it’s also attractive to anyone who likes to have everything but the kitchen sink in one vehicle.

A hot-dog roller grill, y’all. Buns and mustard not included.

Painted K-9 Blue, the Jeep “Top Dog” concept expands the cargo-carrying abilities by removing the standard cargo box and replacing it with a custom PCOR flatbed storage system. On the passenger side of the storage system, pull-out drawers securely store tools and supplies that mountain bikers need when out on the trails.  Interior storage shelves, exterior lighting switches and extra power supplies are within reach.

On the driver’s side of the storage system, a battery-powered refrigerator and electric hot-dog roller grill stand ready to refuel riders for the next section of challenging trails.


On the driver’s-side of the PCOR storage system of the Jeep Top Dog Concept, a battery-powered refrigerator and electric hot-dog roller grill stand ready to refuel riders for the next section of challenging trails.

Not just for bikers, but Jeep’s Top Dog will appeal to you if you are

Above the cab area, two rack structures provide additional storage space for tools and equipment. Dual concept exterior task lights are mounted on each side and a set of traction mats for vehicle recovery and extraction are also attached to the storage racks. On top of the rack structure, a dual bike rack provides a safe way to transport the Trek mountain bikes to the trails.

It also features a JPP two-inch lift kit with FOX shocks that provides increased ground clearance, augmented by 17-inch JPP beadlock-capable aluminum wheels and 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires. Concept steel “high-top” fender flares provide additional clearance at all four corners.

Powering the Jeep Top Dog Concept is a 3.6L Pentastar V-6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a eight-speed automatic transmission. On the front end of the Jeep Top Dog Concept is a JPP Rubicon bumper, which holds a concept two-inch steel grille guard, inspired by the Jeep J6 concept and the exclusive JPP 8,000-lb-capacity Rubicon Warn winch that includes 100 feet of Spydura synthetic rope.

The concept hood is accented with custom black Mopar hood latches that feature the Jeep Willys logo. A JPP snorkel helps direct cool air into the engine when off-road conditions threaten normal air inlets. A pair of JPP five-inch, off-road, LED lights installed at the base of the A-pillars help illuminate the trail.

On the passenger-side of the PCOR storage system of the Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept, pull-out drawers securely store tools and supplies that mountain bikers need when out on the trails. Vast interior storage shelves, exterior lighting switches and extra power supplies are within easy reach.

Fortified with Jeep Rubicon details and upgraded Katzkin leather

Body sides are protected by JPP rock rails, customized with welded two-inch steel tubes, similar to the front grille guard design. Black door sill guards feature a raised Gladiator logo and help protect interior sills from scratches and scuffs.

A second JPP Warn winch is installed at the rear of the Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept. Just above the rear-facing winch, a roll-out storage drawer carries a foldable ladder used for access to the dual bike rack.

Inside the cabin, the exterior color theme of K-9 Blue and black is continued with an instrument panel that matches the body color. In addition, black Katzkin leather seats, armrests, shifter boots, steering wheel and the parking brake handle are accented with blue stitching.

Mopar stainless-steel pedal covers with black rubber pads add a bold flare and plenty of traction to the accelerator and brake pedals. Just below the pedals are Mopar all-weather floor mats installed throughout the cabin area.

Are you ready to hit the road with this dressed-to-the-nines Gladiator?


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Mercedes-Benz hosted a virtual Concours-style show with several celebrity guests via the Zoom application. The platform allowed friends of Mercedes to showcase their cars and collections and benefit the American Red Cross during the coronavirus pandemic.

Celebrities included Jay Leno, walking through his impressive collection of Mercedes-Benz vehicles from a “factory hot rod” made in 1972 and an “ultimate luxury car” from the same year. Rap star Ludacris showed his AMG GT C Coupe which he says is his ultimate therapy.

Martha Stewart highlighted her GLS 550, which she called both “safe and practical” and says she drives daily. Rickie Fowler talked about speed and performance from his S 63 model while Madelaine Petsch talked about automatic parallel parking in Los Angeles thanks to her A220 sedan.

Hannah Elliot has a near-vintage 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL she loves for its personality and class. Cole Walliser showed off a beautiful 1991 two-door G-Wagon along with stories of a trip to Moab, Utah to go off-roading in it. Mike Kunz toured the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center to highlight his favorite, the 300 SL Gullwing from 1956.

Other classics included: a 1908 chain-drive Mercedes with a Benz Aero engine (nicknamed Rabbit-the-First), a 1956 300 SL Gullwing, a 1972 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor, a 1988 560 SL and a 1991 G 300 D. In addition, dynamic new models that were highlighted included the A 220, the GLS 550, the AMG S 63 Coupe, the AMG G 63 and the AMG GT C Coupe.

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Stuck at home? Got kids with you? Maybe a bored significant other or roommates? No sports to watch making your house unlivable? Here’s your solution: Diecast racing.

Yep, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and Tomica cars in a race. Sound stupid? That’s because you haven’t seen it done the way 3Dbotmaker does it. It’s professional quality video, true racing based on vehicle classes, with cars made by both the producers of the show and fans who’ve sent in their special favorites. Plus fun twists, like a Pontiac Fiero sneaking into the Ferrari challenge. Complete with full landscapes and little models of spectators and announcers to boot.

The high level of production plus the excellent (and often very fun) announcements made by the commentators make this a show about personality as much as it is about which car might win. My family found ourselves rooting for the underdog Fiero in the Ferrari races and for the high-flying Ford off-roader in the rally challenge.

3Dbotmaker is a homegrown company started when the principal, known as “3D” (versus his friend “2D,” the other announcer) saw his new hobby with his then four-year-old son becoming complicated. A lack of access to track materials and specialized items led him to invest in a 3D printer which then became a business as he began selling specialized track parts such as launch pads and accessories. This became a full-time business as popularity for homemade tracks grew. Then he began filming races with his father-and-son vehicles and tracks. Which led to the 3Dbotmaker Diecast series on YouTube.

That series now boasts a 166,000-plus fan following, a large Facebook group surrounding it, and a busy website full of accessories and how-to videos for various track making and race-setting information.

With my three kids, we’re finding ourselves watching whole series in one sitting. For example, we watched the full 2020 rally challenge in about an hour. That hour included stops to make popcorn and runs to the bathroom, but it was a fun hour. The Ferrari challenge, which just finished last weekend, was the talk of the week as we waited for the final video to release showing the last four cars completing the series race. I won’t spoil it as to who won, but it was a fiery spectacular.

Like any real life, real car race series, the 3Dbotmaker series includes track timers, slow motion replays, grids set up to average scores so that no position has advantage for the series win, and more. Looking past the fun personalities being created and the action packed racing on the screen, it’s clear that a lot of production work goes into the building, maintaining, filming, and testing of the race tracks used. Each series, while having a similar underlayment, has completely different track setups to match the intended race. The Ferrari series, for example, is a straight-up track with hard curves and a fast lane finish cycle. The rally track, on the other hand, has jumps, “dirt,” and extra points for “high flying finishes” over the finish line.

Another popular series is the DiecastRacingSeries, which often pits specific vehicles from the past against one another to revisit old rivalries and even period-specific race legends. More suited for more die-hard fans of motorsport, that site and channel is another great way to lose yourself into YouTube for a while.

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Kristin and Aaron play a game of Truths and Lies with a couple of humdingers. Kristin has the Charger Hellcat Widebody in her corner, hitting Aaron with questions about it that he can’t Google for answers. Aaron returns with a 500X with some zingers that befuddle. Whose got answers? Lets find out.

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Touring the Chicago Auto Show with Fadra Nally of All Things Fadra, Aaron finds out that orange and red clash, that Elvis had good taste, and that sometimes bling isn’t everything. Maybe there’s more to life than horsepower and torque?

Find Fadra at

And the Chicago Auto Show at

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Kia Seltos ad

Do you watch the NFL for the games or the commercials? Every year, companies spend millions and millions of dollars on advertising during the season, culminating with the Big Game. It’s easily $5M+ just to place the ad, not to mention the cost to create it, the agency fees, and so on. But considering that about 100 million people watch the game that determines the championship, even a fraction of that viewership will bring the numbers the manufacturers want in terms of exposure.

Our favorite commercials are about vehicles, of course. Remember the one about

Let’s start with that GMC Hummer and the one… the only… LeBron James.

Next, the Kia commercial for the new Seltos AWD SUV is hauntingly touching, and Kia is putting their money where their mouth is with a new campaign to help the homeless.  In this ad, rookie running back Josh Jacobs returns to the streets of his hometown (Tulsa, Oklahoma) to offer his younger self words of inspiration. Josh’s journey took him from homeless youth to first-round draft pick. Kia is donating $1,000 a yard in the Big Game, and proceeds will benefit Covenant House, StandUp for Kids, and Positive Tomorrows.

“Groundhog Day” is one of my favorite movies ever. Personally, I love the part in which he orders a huge breakfast with tons of pancakes and eats it all because it won’t matter… the next day he’ll start over. If you have not seen the movie yet, what are you waiting for? GO! Go now. Jeep nailed it with this spoof with the Gladiator and Punxsutawney Phil (who predicted an early spring today, btw).

We got to see this one at the Genesis GV80 SUV launch last week in Miami, and hope it’s the boost Genesis needs to give the brand the recognition it deserves. This handsome three-row SUV is gorgeous.

We had the opportunity to test the 2020 Hyundai Sonata with “Smaht Pahk” in Arizona in December, and it’s really cool. In this commercial, Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch, and David “Big Papi” Ortiz drive the point home with a cheeky and clever skit about this feature. It’s impressive, and in cities where they actually say “Wicked smaht”, quite practical.

At the Fully Charged Live USA event in Austin this weekend, we drove the new Audi e-Tron at the Circuit of the Americas, and we can attest to the effortless ride of this EV. The navigation is unique and the audio is a kicking B&O system. The EV enthusiast crowd is all over this message, and it’s contagious.

The other cool car we got to see at Fully Charged Live USA was the Porsche Taycan, so this fun commercial with a twist will have you smiling and wishing for a chance to drive it. And 616 hp (750 with Overpower)! This extended cut is even better than the one you saw during the game.

Lastly, while this isn’t a car commercial, it includes James Bond and Aston Martin. You can’t get much better than that.

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Emme Hall and navigator Rebecca Donaghe won the 2019 Rebelle Rally in, get this, a Rolls-Royce. This epic adventure was years in the making, and in this interview, Kristin talks with one of Drive Mode Show’s heroes, Emme, about the experience and how the Rebelle Rally changes lives.

Shown in this video are: Emme’s writeup on taking the Cullinan into the dirt –…

A snapshot of a writeup on the Rebelle Rally’s founder, Emily Miller –…

Video footage from the Rebelle Rally YouTube channel –…

A snapshot of the winners with their trophies –…

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In this video, Aaron and his Mini Me crew take the doors and roof off of a 2020 Jeep Gladiator. One of the things most appealing about a Jeep is the ability to drop non-essential items like doors, roof, and windscreen, for maximum fun. Actual time for the teardown was under 25 minutes, with several minutes spend looking for a dropped bolt.

Hint: don’t entrust an 8 year old with “holding fasteners” and filming (via GoPro) simultaneously.

Find out why the Gladiator was one of our Ultimate Family Vehicles pics here:…

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