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1955 Jeep CJ5 - Scratch-Built Crawler

Posted in Features on May 6, 2005 Comment (0)
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Somewhere in this custom rock buggy, there's a piece of a '55 CJ-5 (we looked and looked but couldn't find it). Don Dunn of Yucca Valley, California, is the owner of this custom creation and tells us that as the level of difficulty rose on the trails he was running, the more modifications he had to make to his Jeep. As pieces of the CJ-5 fell to the wayside, a buggy was created that not only looks cool, but can crawl and roll over just about any hazard.

We found Don 'wheeling his buggy in New Mexico at the Chile Challenge. The event is held around the Old West town of Las Cruces, and the surrounding terrain holds an array of spectacular and extreme 'wheeling conditions. Don's buggy worked exceptionally well climbing, 'crawling, and articulating over some of the area's toughest obstacles.

Don used 0.90 chrome-moly to craft the 105-inch custom tube frame. He also fabricated the sheetmetal, including the Jeep-looking grille; the hood was purchased from JP Off-Road. Two Pro Rock 60 axles are attached to the frame via King 14-inch coilover shocks and a custom three-link suspension (front and rear). The Pro Rocks were built with 35-spline axle shafts, CTM U-joints, and a Detroit Locker up front and a spool in the rear, and both axles are geared to 5.36. Out back, the rear axle is also fit with a Howe fully hydraulic rear steering system.

A Chevy 350-cid small-block engine powers the buggy. Performance upgrades include Holly MPI fuel injection, steel crankshaft, H-beam custom rods, and TRW pistons. Power and torque are transferred from the engine to the axles by a custom-built TH350 and 3.8:1 Atlas II transfer case.

Helping Don with design and construction is the fact that he lives right down the road from the Hammer Trails in Johnson Valley. As soon as the rig was designed and crafted, it was driven down the road and tested out on the trail. If it didn't work, it was easily corrected back at his shop. The end result and fruition of his expert craftsmanship is this cool 'crawler.

SPECIFICATIONS
Year/make/model: ’55 CJ-5
Owner/hometown: Don Dunn/
Yucca Valley, California
Engine: Chevy 350-cid
Induction: Holly MPI
Transmission: TH350
Transfer case: Atlas II 3.8:1
Frontend: Dynatrac ProRock 60
Rearend: Dynatrac ProRock 60
Ring-and-pinion: 5.36
Suspension: King coilovers/
custom three-link
Tires/wheels: Super Swamper TSL
15/39.5-15LTs/10x15-inch
Allied bead locks

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