A Work of Art - '51 Flattie Style
Kevin Hawkins is well-known in wheeling circles as a builder and driver of Jeeps that work. His first flatfender was affectionately called the "Frog," owing to its green paint and the way it would hop effortlessly over obstacles with its 1/4 elliptical springs in back and gutsy little Buick V6. When he set out to build this '51 CJ-2A, he knew it was going to be bigger, better, and still green, hence the name Bullfrog.
Instead of using the complete CJ-2A body and frame, Kevin procured a YJ Wrangler frame, cut off the back third, and tubed it. He then started a two-month buildup, hoping to finish in time to bring the Bullfrog to Easter Jeep Safari in Moab where he leads the Pritchett Canyon Trail on Big Saturday.
Currie Enterprises built the hybrid 9-inch frontend with trimmed and skidplated housing, Dana 60 knuckles, and Wilwood disc brakes. A Currie high-pinion 9-inch third member was built with 4.88 gears and a Detroit Locker. The Currie reverse-cut Dana 60 rearend has Currie disc brakes, 4.88 gears, a Detroit Locker, and a heavy-duty cover. Kevin built a reinforced bridge over the third member to attach the triangulated upper rear control arm.
Although Kevin's first flattie had 1/4-elliptical leafs in back, this time around he wanted to use coilovers. Sway-A-Way 2.5-inch coilovers and Sway-A-Way hydraulic bumpstops reside at all four corners. Kevin worked a long time dialing in the valving and spring rates so the Bullfrog would work in not only the rocks but also while moving fast across the desert. The rear features a three-link design with long lower control arms and a triangulated upper arm. The front is four-link with long upper and lower control arms. Front and rear Currie Antirock sway bars allow the Bullfrog to be tuned perfectly when on slickrock, boulders, sand, or whatever. HM rod ends were used on the heavy-duty control arms, tie rod, and drag link. Kevin performed lots of tricks when fabricating the suspension. Check out the photos to see some of them.
To turn the 39.5-inch Interco Irok bias-ply tires mounted on Walker Evans Racing 17x9 beadlocks, a 4.3L Chevy V6 was installed under the fabricated aluminum hood. The trusty V6 was mated to a Chevrolet Turbo 350 three-speed automatic tranny and a 3.8:1 Atlas transfer case. Tom Wood's custom driveshafts delivered what power there was to the front and rear ends.