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1962 Jeep CJ5 - Mellow Yellow

Posted in Features on August 1, 2008
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The cage was fabricated by Shawn himself and ties into the frame at six locations. The rear fenders were cut to allow more legroom with the front seats, which are also tied into the cage.

CJ-5s are the ugly duckling of the Jeep world. They don't have the style and nostalgia of a flatfender nor the wheelbase and storage space of a Wrangler. They are still incredibly capable whether in stock form or heavily modified. CJ-5s also can be purchased for next to nothing, and with some hard work and vision, that ugly duckling can turn into a swan. That is exactly what Reno, Nevada's Shawn Kelso has done with his '62 CJ-5.

Shawn started by fabricating his own frame out of 4x2.5-inch, 0.125-wall rectangular box tubing. Then he added crossmembers, body mounts, and motor mounts for the 4.3L V6. The engine is equipped with throttle-body fuel injection, an Affordable Fuel Injection chip and wiring harness, roller rockers, and a roller timing chain. The short engine fits nicely under the early CJ front sheetmetal and makes plenty of low-end torque. Power is transferred through an SM465 mated to the original Dana 20 with a Novak adapter. The transfer case is stuffed with Dana 18 gears, an upgraded intermediate shaft, twin sticks, and an offset rear output.

The dash is made from 3/16-inch aluminum and is fitted to the cowl with button-head screws. It holds Auto Meter gauges and switches for the winch and ignition.

High Angle Driveline driveshafts link the Dana 20 to Dana 44 axles liberated from a Wagoneer. The drop of the Wagoneer rear axle matches the offset transfer case and widens the stance of the '5 for improved stability. Both axles are loaded with ARB Air Lockers, 4.88 Yukon gears, Great Lake Offroad diff covers, and disc brakes. The front uses Warn chrome-moly axleshafts, while the rear 'shafts are from Moser with Mitchell Differential full-floating hubs. More Wagoneer parts are found in the suspension, with stock Wagoneer leaf springs mounted atop the axles and coupled with Fox 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks. The springs are affixed to custom mounts and stretch the wheelbase to 94 inches.

T&T Customs crafted the rear quarter panels from 1/8-inch steel and recentered the rear wheelwells back to accommodate the stretched wheelbase. The sliders are also from T&T Customs and are made from 3/16-inch steel. The unique front fenders were custom-built and skinned by Shawn, as were the stinger and rollcage. The Rust-Oleum Sunburst Yellow on the tub was sprayed in a makeshift paint booth in Shawn's garage. Inside the CJ-5, the parts robbing from other Jeep models continues. A 3/16-inch aluminum dash holds a Cherokee tilt steering column and a host of gauges from Auto Meter, while swing pedals from a YJ fill the floorboards. A custom 11-gauge transmission tunnel was fabricated to allow the drivetrain to be tucked up between the framerails. Behind the cheapo parts-store bucket seats, a 16-gallon fuel cell from Summit Racing is sunk in the Durabak-coated tub for a lower center of gravity. The cell feeds the V6 through a Holley inline electric fuel pump and -6 braided stainless steel lines with AN fittings.

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The tubular front fenders fend off jagged rocks, and the lower hoop tells you that this is a CJ-5 and not another flatfender wannabe.

The rolling stock consists of 36-inch bias-ply Irok Super Swampers that are big enough to offer reasonable ground clearance without scattering drivetrain components. The tires are mounted on modified Hummer rims. The stock Hummer rims use an internal mechanism that locks the inner and outer beads, but they leave the vulnerable hubs exposed because of excessive backspacing. Performance Cryogenics recentered the rims, and Shawn added a reinforcing ring to keep the rims from bending when they encounter rocks. A Saginaw power-steering box from a Wagoneer turns the Swampers. The box connects to a host of Rockstomper components, including the drag link, tie rod, and steering arms.

Although early Broncos and FJ40 Land Cruisers have exploded in price in recent years, you can still buy a clean CJ-5 for a few thousand dollars. The money saved on the initial purchase can be used to make a more capable trail vehicle for the same overall investment. All it takes is some vision, talent, and hard work. Just ask Shawn Kelso.

Year/Make/Model: '{{{62}}} {{{Jeep CJ}}}-5
owner/Hometown: Shawn Kelso
{{{Reno}}}, NV
Engine: 4.3L OHV V6
Transmission: SM465

transfer Case:
Dana 20 with Dana
18 gears
Suspension: Spring-over with
Wagoneer springs
and {{{Fox}}} shocks
axles/Differentials: Dana 44 with ARB
Air Locker
Ring-and-Pinion: 5.38
Tires/Wheels: 36x13.50-16.5
Irok Super
custom recentered
Hummer beadlocks
Estimated Value: $9,500
PhotosView Slideshow

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