Words: Kristie Real

Photos: Roman Racela

When Jeep enthusiasts heard that they were bringing back their Gladiator model, hardcore fans like Marco Albanese were already dreaming of what they would do with the new model. “I wanted a Jeep truck for as long as I can remember,” he admits. “So once the announcement was out and that it would feature heavier-duty axles (which would handle the caliber of our builds), it was an easy choice to start thinking about how it would be a dream platform for a future build.” For Marco, his builds are primarily daily drivers, yet are still lookers with an aggressive twist that can handle any terrain.
Before he could do anything to his new Gladiator, he needed to come up with a theme and chose to call it Hulk, given the early comics featured the superhero with spikes and that went with his SpikedJeep theme of past builds. Originally, the green was supposed to be a darker, military hue, but that quickly changed once Marco noticed similar colors on other builds. Striving to be different, he sat down with Rhino Linings of Las Vegas, NV, to come up with a unique green; a mix of the comic character’s green and Jeep’s mojito green offering.
Having relationships with companies is key to Marco’s builds as he was able to secure parts before they were largely available to the public, which helped him make Hulk into a larger-than- life build in a short amount of time. “Detail is key, and we plan out every detail before moving forward,” he describes. “But relationships are always very important to us, so it was natural to select parts from our favorite companies and then add parts from others we were huge fans of.”
While the Rhino Linings custom-colored exterior is what draws the eyes in, Marco made sure to choose parts that accentuate the prowess of the Gladiator. For him, highlights included: Hard Rock Offroad 24×14 H502 Painkiller wheels wrapped in Rolling Big Power tires, BDS 6.5”long-arm suspension lift with front/rear track bars, ZROADZ LED grille lights, Trex Grille, XKGlow headlights, Roadwire leather interior and the a Gibson exhaust that Marco says gives Hulk an aggressive-sounding exhaust growl. To help with the build and make sure everything was on task, he partnered with SR Designs. “Our goal was to have everything just really flow right with the build – from the green to the black accents, matching bumpers, fenders and even the bed, tire carrier and spikes. No detail was spared.”
While he absolutely loved the end result, anyone who sees Hulk in person is excited and snaps pics as well. “The Hulk gets more stares than a Lamborghini or Ferrari,” he admits. “I’m truly honored to have worked with such great companies throughout the process. It’s my favorite personal build to date that we’ve done at DH Customz.”

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