Hoonigan’s New Build & Battle Series Features Builds on a Budget

Blake Wiley and Kevin Butts with the 1991 Cherokee

Hoonigan’s brand-new series Build & Battle is bringing a healthy dose of reality and excitement to automotive build programming—and offering a chance for viewers to see what pros can do on a limited budged and short schedule.

This isn’t your traditional no-holds-barred competition build show. Two off-road pros—Blake Wilkey and Michael Cox—have strict build limitations. Each of their builds has to come in under $10,000 (all in), and they’re limited to 15 days total. There’s no giant team of behind-the-scenes helpers here; each of the pros is only able to select one mechanic to assist them with their work.

Another dose of realism? Wilkey, Cox, and their mechanics only have access to a basic garage set-up—no special machinery or obscure tools available. If you walked into the Build & Battle shop, you might mistake it for a weekend warrior’s garage. There are no bells and whistles, only the standard tools that most car enthusiasts are likely to have. And there’s also none of the drama that many scripted reality build shows rely on—this show is all about the builds, pure and simple.

Blake Wiley and Kevin Butts with the 1991 Cherokee

The two vehicles being re-vamped for off-road domination are a 1991 Jeep Cherokee XJ (Wilkey’s selection), and a 1992 Ford Explorer (Cox’s choice). With purchase prices of $2,000 and $2,500, respectively, these two vehicles aren’t exactly the cream of the crop—in fact, in the first episode, the Cherokee looks to have a fairly severe coolant leak, and the Explorer is suffering from misfires. The real excitement comes from watching the hands-on work that starts transforming these decades-old vehicles into competition ready off-roaders. Is it possible? We’ll all have to watch to find out.

The show is a competition (of course), and the two builds will be pitted against each other in a major showdown at the end of the series. They’ll be judged on build quality, ingenuity, and aesthetics, with the winner keeping their vehicle—and the loser selling their build to benefit The Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

K&N® is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the series. “Build & Battle really embodies the ideals that K&N cares about as a brand,” commented Phil Swire, K&N’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We believe in good quality parts, getting your hands dirty, and a do-it-yourself attitude. These aren’t really expensive or time-consuming builds—this is something you could do in a basic garage, just like installing a K&N air filter or intake system.”

You can find the series on Hoonigan’s Project Cars channel on YouTube, with new episodes dropping April 11, April 18, April 25, May 2, and May 9.

Michael Cox and Vince Scopen with the 1992 Explorer