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1978 Jeep J-10 Honcho - Off Road Artist

Front View
Jordan May | Writer
Posted February 1, 2009

A Jeep J-10 That Sets The Standard

For the past 50 years, Denny Lloyd has been involved with Jeeps. Recently, he put the finishing touches on a 1978 Jeep J-10 Honcho rebuild. As you can see, the truck definitely caught our eye. You don't see many J-10's driving around, and even fewer this beautifully built. Denny has created a machine that is both ready to run Baja and take home trophies at auto shows.

When Denny started this project in 2001, his original intent was to simply do a few minor fix-ups and be done. As enthusiasts, we know completing a project is hardly ever done. For Denny, the truck turned into a complete frame-off restoration. In the early '80s Denny owned and campaigned a J-10 race Honcho out of his 4WD shop in the then SODA race series in the Midwest. His success in racing lead to greater projects and what eventually brought his family to the West Coast.

During his racing years, Denny became good friends with Curt LeDuc. Curt knows a few things about building a race inspired machine, with his vast experience racing both the CORR and SCORE circuits. With LeDuc's help, the project took on an entirely new level of badassness. When we met up with Denny to shoot his truck and learn about his story, we realized he isn't your average off-road guy. He is a true enthusiast with fabrication and dirt in his blood. He pulled out a three-ring binder about 4 inches thick filled with pictures, stories, technical information, user manuals and even the original classified ad he purchased the truck through. If this truck ever goes up for sale, rest assured the new owner will know its entire history.

In Denny's words, "I am not a very good storywriter, but if someone is interested I can provide hundreds of step-by-step shots of the entire project from day one. I started by reversing the front shackles and mounting points for softer travel. The front spindles were changed to accommodate F-150 5 x 5.5 bolt pattern with 5/8-inch wheel studs. The first suspension was a 4-inch lift kit, but I found it to not be very compliant, so I had Deaver Spring construct me a custom set of springs. Soon after I added King triple bypass shocks and pre-runner series shocks. While I was getting this setup, Curt was building the entire chassis and cage out of 1 3/4-inch .120 wall chromoly tube. I then had a 44-gallon custom fuel cell made from a template I created. When it came time to tackle the interior I called Mastercraft and added their Rubicon seats and belts for safety. The entire dash and gauge cluster I custom made including mounts for a new Jeep Wrangler heater unit.

The Honcho originally had a 360ci motor in it. I sold that and replaced it with a warmed over 401ci motor. It is connected to a Ken Mogi rebuilt Turbo 400 transmission that I mounted a Dana 20 transfer case. The front axle is completely rebuilt with NAPA chassis service parts and includes 4.56 gears and a Tru-Trac diff, and Wilwood GM III aluminum calipers. The rear axle is a Dana 60 that was built by Currie Enterprises. Curt added an upper truss for strength and Wilwood brakes went on as well. It has matching 4.56 gears and a Detroit locker."

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