Jurassic Park Jeep at the Auto Show with Freedom Boat Club |

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Jurassic Park Jeep at the Auto Show with Freedom Boat Club
Jurassic Park Jeep at the Auto Show with Freedom Boat Club

The old jeep was dirt cheap. Its restoration came at minimum expense. But the result is priceless.

When Daniel Haralambou purchased a rusted, beaten up 1995 Jeep Wrangler in 2015, he was told it was only good for parts. That turned out to be true.

As long as the part is a role in the next Jurassic Park movie.

“I wanted a Jeep I could restore all by myself,” said Haralambou, who works as events director of Freedom Boat Club Jacksonville. “I have never done anything like this before. Once I got started, I thought it would cool to fix it up to look like the Jeep in the original Jurassic Park movie.”

Indeed, Haralambou’s effort is so close to the original that people sitting in the vehicle might expect to feel the ground tremble under the thundering footsteps of a T-Rex.

This weekend, Haralambou’s handiwork will be on display at the Jacksonville Auto Show, which runs Friday-Sunday. Visitors will have a chance to sit in the vintage remake, take a photo, and imagine the ground quaking underneath.

“The kids just love it,” Haralambou said. “For people who love the movies, and there are many of them, seeing the Jeep is like meeting a celebrity.”

But no Hollywood plastic surgeon ever performed a better makeover of an aging star. Haralambou purchased the vehicle, a white, rusted Jeep with 240,000 miles, for $1,000. It did not run. He turned to YouTube for lessons on welding, purchased a used transmission, built a painting booth out of a tent used for tailgating and invested an additional $3,800 in the effort.

“I purchased the Jurassic Park logo off the internet,” he said.

The entire effort took seven months to complete. The final product was so close to the movie original that it has been accepted into the Jurassic Park Motor Pool, an international organization devoted to honoring realistic facsimiles of vehicles from the wildly popular movie series.

Haralambou plans on using his classic Jeep Wrangler in upcoming promotions for Freedom Boat Club as well as local charity events.

“We like to make our events family friendly and having Daniel’s Jeep on site will just be a great attraction,” said Freedom Boat Club Jacksonville owner, Lisa Almeida.

As successful as he was with his Jeep restoration, and all that he learned in the process, Haralambou says he will not try to replicate it. He has another project in mind. He is currently in the market for an old van. But, once again, not for personal use.

“I want to recreate the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine,” he said.

As Scooby might say, “Rots of Ruck.”

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