By Jon Crowley
While at the 2017 Rally on the Rocks event in Moab Utah, we bumped into a custom built Arctic Cat Wildcat that caught our attention.
This full custom Wildcat build was the brainchild of Dean Bulloch of D&P Performance. In 1978 Bulloch opened the doors on a high-performance snowmobile shop in Cedar City, Utah. Bulloch was very successful at helping promote snowmobile racing all over Utah with Arctic Cat snowmobiles a part of that success. When Arctic Cat came into the sport UTV market back in 2011, it was natural for D&P Performance to add the Wildcat to their offerings.
But Dean is much more than a businessman, he also has a long race career that spans NHRA, drag bikes, snowmobiles, motocross, trials and, of course, rock crawling. He has an amazing 169 wins over the years, to go along with an untold number of second- and third-place finishes (including a second place at the 2015 King of the Hammers where he beat me – see 2015 King of the Hammers UTV Race Recap).
Dean has raced in a Wildcat 1000 and more recently a Wildcat Sport at King of the Hammers, and has had great success with the Wildcat Sport in the last few years. But to be competitive, he knew that he needed more horsepower and suspension than the Sport could deliver. While the prototype Wildcat XX (see QUICK LOOK AT THE NEW 2018 ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX) has been hitting a few desert races, Dean felt that this chassis was designed more for desert and knew he could design and build a better car for King of the Hammers in 2017.
With the introduction of the 2017 Arctic Cat XF 9000 snowmobile, Dean found the powerplant that would be the heart of his new Wildcat. The XF 9000 utilizes a new 3-cylinder turbo Yamaha engine (similar to the Yamaha YXZ1000R) except it is turbocharged and mated to a Team Rapid Response CVT Clutch instead of a manual transmission.
The turbocharged four-stroke high-performance 998cc utilizes 3x41mm throttle bodied electronic fuel injection system with dry sump lubrication and lays down over 200 horsepower! Dean got some assistance from Arctic Cat engineers on how to get the ECUs from the snowmobile and Wildcat Sport to communicate together as there are some things that a snowmobile has that a Wildcat doesn’t and vice-versa.
With gobs of horsepower in the back of the Wildcat Sport chassis, Bulloch needed to figure out the suspension. Dean favors a a-arm type suspension front and rear for rock crawling instead of trailing arms. With a trailing arm in the rear, the suspension can often hang up on a ledge or rock before the tire can make contact. With the a-arm in the rear, the rear tires are basically unobstructed.
You will notice that the shocks on front and rear arms are mounted on the lower arms to allow for a longer shock that stands up more vertical. The achieves more wheel travel and better shock performance. Dean worked with Elka Suspension on the shock package and utilized 2.5-inch Stage 5 Elka shocks front and rear.
The car has a 98-inch wheelbase and is 68-inches wide (a Polaris RZR XP Turbo has a 90-inch wheelbase and is 64-inches wide and a Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs has a 102-inch wheelbase and a 72-inch width for comparison). Front suspension wheel travel is 21 inches and the rear has 18 inches.
Other than the large, dual-fan radiator up in the bed, the car looks like it came off the Arctic Cat assembly line. I believe that Dean is definitely on to something here. Incredible stock power on pump gas. front and rear a-arm suspension with excellent suspension travel and a 98-inch wheelbase have this car looking unbeatable on paper.
With Textron taking over the dirt side of Arctic Cat (see Textron Announces Acquisition of Arctic Cat), we would love to see this prototype vehicle get some attention and eventually make it out to consumers.
Dean Bulloch and his longtime co-dog Karl Mumford had planned to race 2017 King of the Hammers in this car, but plans were put on hold when D&P Performance had a fire that destroyed much of the business in late 2016. The aftermath from the fire consumed Bulloch’s attention for several months and plans to race had to be canceled. We are looking forward to seeing Bulloch’s Wildcat in action and hope to see him and Karl at the 2018 King of the Hammers!