Jeepin’ spoke with Allen Wiseman, the owner of OX Off-Road, about the company, its products and the thrills of off-roading.
Allen, where are you from, and how long have you been a Jeeper?
I grew up in Small Town, U.S.A, a place called Wilmington, Ohio. Although an aircraft mechanic by trade, I have done a few different things before OX. I was an aircraft mechanic, DC9 aircraft instructor, dabbled in real estate — buy, fix up and sell — a classic car dealer, and managed a machine shop, just to name a few. As you can see, nothing has kept me captive too long. I guess I jumped around a bit because I have a passion for learning new things.
As far as my hobbies go, I have always had a vehicle in the garage to fix up or restore, and for the last 15 years I have played poker semiprofessionally.
I’ve been a car guy since I was a little kid. My dad fixed up and raced cars as a hobby the whole time I was growing up. He was a bit of a workaholic and always had us kids helping. I can remember block-sanding cars for him in the fifth grade. I had some 4x4s when I was younger but never a Jeep until I owned OX. Some of the best times I can remember as a teenager were spent off-roading in the woods with my best friend’s CJ that we had put a 304 in and gave a spray can camo paint job to. Now, one of my favorite times of the year is my workcation at Easter Jeep Safari out in Moab, Utah.
What inspired you to start OX Lockers?
I didn’t personally start OX Lockers, but was lucky to get involved with it early on and was hooked on the concept from the beginning. I worked with the company that produced them, along with many other unrelated products, and I had always felt it didn’t get the attention it deserved. Around 2008, the OX product line was sold to a company, and because OX lockers was not the company’s first priority, things started going poorly.
In late 2009, the opportunity came about for me purchase the company. It was in the red and bleeding badly. From my involvement, I knew it was due to lack of attention, poor management and absentee owners. I was certain it would be a quick turnaround if I could purchase the company. It was a great product and all it needed was someone to give it the attention it deserved.
I purchased the company and started giving the product line the love it needed in 2010. Things got turned around almost immediately with the ousting of the old management. We shortly after introduced the new shifting systems, electric, air and the manual backup device. We have seen fantastic growth annually ever since.
What are your biggest sellers?
Currently our main products are the selectable locking differentials and axle shaft U-joints. We sell ring and pinions and axle shafts to complement our products; however, we do not manufacture them.
What makes your products stand out from others in the Jeepin’ community?
Our products are designed to make the customers’ vehicles more capable and durable, so our bling factor is not quite the same as a cool-looking bumper or grille. People don’t always notice our products until they see their performance on the trails. Additionally, we are made in the U.S.A., using the best materials and processes to make them as tough as we can.
As far as what makes us stand out from others in the same category, I would have to say it would be our durability and versatility. Using the same mechanically selectable locker, it can be shifted manually with a cable and shift lever, electrically or pneumatically, by switch.
What’s the best part of your work?
The designing and building is the fun stuff. Figuring out ways to make things better — and stronger — is what I enjoy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
First, I would like to thank our customers for their support. It means a lot to me, personally, when I hear a customer talk about how much they like our products. Second, I would like to apologize to all our hopefully soon-to-be GM corporate 14-bolt locker customers. We announced it was coming and then got involved with the Mahindra Roxor OE locker project, and unfortunately, the 14-bolt got set on the back burner due to lack of resources. We hope to get back on that soon. Additionally I will drop a teaser, we are working on a new product line that is in testing right now and we should be able to let the cat out of the bag later in 2019!
Nuts and Bolts
Allen Wiseman is the owner of OX Off-Road, a manufacturer of selectable locking differentials, axle shaft U-joints and other parts and components for Jeeps and other off-road vehicles. ox-usa.com