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Big-Budget Builder

Front Drivers Side View On Rocks
Jordan May | Writer
Posted July 11, 2005
Photographers: Christian Lee

Father and Son Team Up to Transform This 1976 Jeep CJ-7 Wrangler

It was a beautiful day on the rocks as the 37x13.5R17 Goodyear M/TR tires climbed over all our obstacles of the day with ease. Allied Racing Wheels' "Rock-A-Thon" 32-bolt bead locks kept us from having to perform trail repairs even when running as low as 8 psi. A backspacing measurement of 5-1/2 inches was required to achieve the correct scrub angle for the tire.

Nearly 30 years ago, a stock AMC Jeep CJ-7 rolled out of the factory with no idea about the transformation it would go through in its future. Several years later in 1992, Randy Conway and his son purchased this Jeep from its original owner and the transformation process began. What does a $40,000 makeover look like, you ask? Over the next 10 years this CJ-7 has been a perfect example of what you can achieve with a little time and patience during your build. Not to mention visiting the local ATM machine on several occasions. 1976 meets 2005, as we show you what this father and son team's trail rig is made of.

We had the pleasure of spending some time with Randy and his '76 AMC Jeep CJ-7 recently in Cougar Buttes, California. The sun was beating down a scorching 102 degrees F, as we watched Randy twist and turn his Jeep through the high-desert rocky terrain. As a member of the Drifters Jeep Club for more than 12 years, Randy was no slouch when it came to knowing his way around the trail.
Finally, after many years of reconstructing this '76 CJ-7, it was time to test it on the trails. All of the long hours wrenching on his rig and countless dollars being yanked from his wallet were paying off. With help from Tri County Gear, Randy's son, and their many friends, the Jeep proved to be a worthy contender on any adventure it would set forth to conquer.

The original '76-style AMC fender flares just wouldn't cut it on the trail with 37-inch meats underneath this rig. Replacing them with late-model Jeep TJ-style flares kept mud and rocks from slapping the driver or passengers with debris. This image also gives us a good shot of the custom-fabricated rollcage installed by Randy and his son supplied by OR Fabrication.

The Black Diamond Suspension System kept Randy right where he wanted to be: rubber side down. Shooting out the back is a 2-1/2-inch Spintech Performance Muffler, which keeps the rumble at a pleasant level. Around the back you can see a Durango 4x4 bumper and spare tire rack. Having a fullsize spare on the trail is crucial. Protection is also a must, not only underneath your rig but also around the body. Quadratec diamond-plate panels were added to keep that fresh coat of white paint flawless.

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