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1981 Jeep CJ7 - Domestic Bliss

Posted in Features on December 1, 2004 Comment (0)
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1981 Jeep CJ7 - Domestic Bliss

Part-time fireman and full-time spouse and dad Michale McClure of Garden City, Kansas, had family on his mind when he built this CJ-7 for his wife. For unspecified reasons, the Jeep's original cost was free, according to Michale. After four months, however, the cost of the vehicle rose precipitously, as the average-Joe Jeep morphed into the agile - and family sanctioned - trailcrawler you see here today. Mrs. McClure, however, had something else in mind for her new 'crawler and quickly bestowed it with the moniker Rock Star. Ah, domestic bliss...

But we digress. What was once a blank canvas quickly began to take shape once the '94 Chevy 350 engine was dropped in. The heads were ported and polished and a Crane Cam was dropped in. A Flowmaster 2-1/4-inch exhaust with Hedman headers was installed for performance. The engine was coupled to a TH350 transmission fit with a B&M shift kit and RV converter. The tranny was then mated to the Dana 300 transfer case with twin-stick shifter. A custom 20-gallon fuel cell replaces the OEM steel tank. Finally, Tom Wood custom driveshafts were installed to transfer power to the axles.

The rockin' suspension contains a slew of custom touches, including a Dana 60 frontend with 5.86 gears and 30-spline Detroit Locker with Yukon axle shafts. A Dana 60 rearend with the identical configurations was placed aft. The suspension was modified by Michale and built up with SOA Skyjacker springs, with the frontend moved forward 2 inches and the rear springs moved back 11 inches. A torque arm bar was installed to prevent front spring wrap. The fully boxed frame was extended to accommodate the 105-inch wheelbase. Front disc brakes and rear drum brakes help stop the rig when it's veering off-course. Up front, Doetsch shocks soak up the boulder-strews trails, while Bilstein 5150s dampen the rear. Rolling stock includes Trail Ready 15x10-inchers enveloped in 15x15R39.5 TSL Super Swampers.

No budding rock star is complete without the appropriate garb, and this one is no exception. The all-steel Jeep was lined with Speedline spray-on liner both inside and out. Other exterior modifications include a tailgate welded shut, tube fenders, custom bumpers, and a Speedlined tub, all of which was performed by the very industrious owner and his fabrication shop, Bent & Twisted. A Warn M8000 winch was installed for recovery purposes.

The interior is immaculate, yet modest, so as not to distract from the highly functional body. Sun gauges, Ford Escort seats, gray-cloth upholstery, and Speedliner carpet provide some aesthetic appeal. The rollcage and aforementioned seats are tied into the frame so that the passengers are semi-permanently affixed to the rig should the road become turbulent. As for the stereo, this rising star would prefer to listen to the sound of its own voice - the motor.

A family man at heart, Michale counts his dad, wife, and children, among his best off-roading buddies. He is, perhaps, most content when out of the blaring spotlight, 'crawling with the people he knows and loves best. Mrs. McClure, however, has higher aspirations for the capable Jeep, preferring to wield her rig like a rock star. But let's not quibble: This Jeep has something for everyone.

SPECIFICATIONS
Year/make/model: '81 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-7
Owner/hometown: Michale McClure/Garden
City, Kansas
Engine: 350ci Chevy
Transmission: TH350
Transfer case: Dana 300
Frontend: Dana 60 with Detroit
Rearend: Dana 60 with Detroit
Suspension: Custom suspension using
YJ springs
Ring-and-pinion: 5.86
Tires/wheels: 15x15R39.5 TSL Super
Swampers/Trail Ready
15x10-inch bead locks

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