The Archetype: TMR Customs Build DIY Buggy


When the North American economy took a serious downturn in 2008, many people were affected. Jobs and homes were lost, companies closed … it was a depressing time. From the ashes, though, new beginnings rose.

As a part-time hobby, brothers Tim and Mike Rogers had been building unique off-road products. Four-wheeling enthusiasts for many years, their experience as fabricators and tool and die makers gave them a good foundation to build on.

When the economy crashed, both brothers were laid off from their full-time jobs building custom automation equipment. What initially seemed a devastating blow turned into a blessing. Instead of seeing it as a setback, they saw an opportunity to turn their passion into a successful business. And so, TMR Customs, short for Tim and Mike Rogers, was born.

The Archetype is a DIY builder’s dream, and was built using kit components TMR Customs offers to the public.

Tim and Mike took Jeeps out on the local trails and taught themselves how to work on their vehicles. Their father had an old Cherokee that the family would use, which lit the fire.

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Rogers brothers didn’t have many “pro-drivers” or dedicated off-road icons to look up to. The off-roading niche in Canada is small when compared to the monster that it is in the United States.

They bought a Jeep and started exploring, which led to getting stuck. Tim and Mike definitely recommend to never wheel alone. Being stuck alone on the trail meant long nights and interesting stories. Later came more Jeeps and lots of wrenching and learning. These guys are true do-it-yourselfers that cut their teeth and figured it out.

TMR immediately began expanding its product line. And, although their company had humble beginnings in the basement of their parent’s basement, today, they have a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with in-house CNC machining capabilities. Constantly developing new products, TMR Customs has an extensive product offerings including some of its top products such as link suspension kits, rod end packages, and many DIY components.

As years of wheeling, upgrading, and repairing Jeeps went by, Tim and Mike decided it was time to build something new. “We wanted something we could wheel harder without the worry about body damage,” Mike explains. “With the explosion of Ultra4 Racing we wanted to build a car inspired by King of the Hammers because that’s what most of our customers aspire to in their own builds. It was also a great way to feature our new, do-it-yourself tube chassis kits, and showcase a ton of our builder parts.”

Being a true King Of the Hammers rig, The Archetype can handle high-speed desert runs as well as extreme rock crawling.

The Archetype Flagship Vehicle

TMR Customs built The Archetype as a flagship vehicle to show the capabilities of its components. The brothers designed and manufactured a new race buggy chassis that can compete in the Ultra 4 series as well as many others.

The TMR Customs Race Series DIY Chassis is built from CNC laser-cut and notched 2-inch diameter and 0.120-inch wall drawn over mandrel (DOM) tubing. Each kit comes with a complete set of blueprints and a step-by-step manual. The individual tubes are laser-etched with part numbers to make assembly simpler than an Ikea bookshelf.

Not many places this vehicle can’t go.

Through the six-month build process of the buggy, TMR Customs designed and manufactured the DIY chassis to accept popular and common GM LS truck engines and GM transmissions. An Atlas transfer case is at home as well. The wheelbase can range from 110 to 120 inches depending on suspension links.

The chassis is also designed to accept all sorts of different shock packages; air shocks, coilovers and more. Brackets, floor panels, seat, and battery mounts are all optional accessories to help round out the build.


Building the chassis is just the beginning. TMR Customs went on to build a full custom link suspension both front and rear. Supporting the weight of the vehicle is handled for Radflo 2.5-inch remote reservoir coilovers at all four corners.

To add the needed shock control, Radflo three-inch, three-tube bypass shocks were used. Radflo two-inch hydraulic bump stops and TMR Customs limit straps keep the shocks and suspension working in their designed range.

The shock valving and spring rates were all specifically tested and tuned for optimal performance. Currie Enterprises‘ anti-rock sway bars keep the body lean to a minimum, and PSC Motorsports hydraulic steering components keep the vehicle pointed in the right direction.


Currie Enterprises F9 housings provide the serious beef The Archetype needs for the extreme use it experiences.

Down at the ends of the suspension links is some serious beef. Currie Enterprises fabricated F9 housings handle power delivery to the wheels Both front and rear differential assemblies are loaded with 10-inch diameter 6.20:1 ratio ring and pinion sets. The front end utilizes 300M 35-spline axle shafts and the rear uses 300M 40-spline shafts. Tom Woods Driveshafts bring the power down to the yokes.

Body Panels And Wrap

The body panels are TMR Customs production pieces wrapped inside and out with a full TMR Customs themed wrap designed by ehMedia. The interior wrap is one of the brothers’ favorite parts of the rig. “It really makes it look finished,” says Mike. 

The grille is an all-fiberglass narrow Jeep JK piece. Head and taillight duty is handled by Rigid Industries lights. The entire chassis is bare steel-coated with Mavcoat Steel Shield.

A Race-Inspired Interior

TMR Customs offers body panels and dash kits for their DIY chassis kits as well.

The interior is full on race-inspired. Autometer gauges inserted into a TMR Customs Dash Kit keep the driver and co-driver in tune with the vehicle. Mastercraft 3G race seats keep butts firmly planted, and the custom 12-volt unlimited switch panels give occupants the control they need.

The driver grips a Grant Steering wheel with a quick disconnect and the passenger gets the honor of holding on to a TMR Customs’ “Holy shit” handle. For rear view duties, Convex mirrors are strategically placed. Interior lighting is handled by a set of KC HiLites‘ Cyclone LEDs. You’ll notice there is no radio; this is so the driver and passenger can rock out to the sultry sounds of the LS engine.

Powertrain, Exhaust, and Transmission

Under the hood is a GM LQ9 6.0-liter V8 engine. The motor internals were kept stock for reliability. Air gets sucked in through a custom four-inch tubing inlet system capped with a K&N air filter.

Exhaust is pushed out through Magnaflow headers. To keep the motor cool, TMR Customs used its in-house built mounts for a Ron Davis performance radiator. Fuel is delivered from the JAZ fuel cell using an Aeromotive phantom fuel system, and an Optima Yellow Top battery keeps the electrical system happy.

A trusty TH400 automatic transmission with a reverse manual valve body handles directional and speed changes. A Ron Davis heat exchanger keeps the trans cool under extreme use. Power splitting duty goes through an Advance Adapters Atlas race case.

Tires And Wheels

All the go-fast goodies don’t mean a thing if you can’t get any grip. TMR Customs decided to put traction to the ground using a full set of 40×13.50/R17 Maxxis Competition Trepadors wrapped around Trail Ready’s 17-inch racing beadlocks.

No project is ever truly complete. There is always something, even if it is small, or a repair that needs to be done. TMR Customs plans to add a few more things down the road, including rock lights, window nets, and the like. Even with a handful of items still on the list, The Archetype has been valued at $100k. Racing ain’t cheap.

When asked what their fondest memory of the build was, the brothers said it was when they were still finishing up the buggy on the trailer as it was about to head to its maiden voyage at a local race. “We ran it for the very first time at the race while it was still missing some body panels and bump stops, but we took first place!” the guys explained. They also said this was the most stressful times.

TMR Customs out with a previous vehicle we featured, Chris Vandenbush’s Toyota Tacoma.

The brothers are real automotive enthusiasts. Off-roading, hot rods, and motorcycles are their passions, and both have fond memories of going to car shows with their dad and his 1967 Mustang.

They believe that the off-roading culture is exploding worldwide. “We’ve seen a massive increase in the number of customers that are wanting to join the DIY crowd. With forums, social media, and online videos it makes it easy to learn most mechanical tasks – from welding to parts installations,” Mike said.

Tim and Mike, and TMR Customs, would like to send a huge thank you to its staff and sponsors for helping to make this dream become a reality. Currie Enterprises, Radflo Suspension, Trail Ready Beadlock Wheels, PSC Steering, Advance Adapters, and Factor 55 all played a huge role.

About the author

Jake Headlee

Jake's passion started at a young age wrenching on cars with his Dad. Obtaining that glorious driver's license sparked his obsession with grease and horsepower, and the rest is history. Soon, he was a general mechanic and suspension specialist, and currently designs and modifies products for the off-road industry. Jake enjoys rock crawling, desert racing and trail running, and writing in his spare time.
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