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Salvage Auto Parts & 4x4 Projects - 4x Forward

Posted in Features on July 1, 2009
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Photographers: Greg Hutson

There's really nothing like a new beginning, whether it's the change of seasons, a new job, a different 4x4, or best of all, a new treasure that pops into your life. They all give me the same giddy feeling, the excitement and rush of adrenalin just like attempting a new line on a rock face in the desert or powering through an unconquered mile-long muddy road in the woods. Just doing these things is fun, and accomplishing anything makes me happy. But it just so happens that this sort of stuff usually starts in the spring. This year is no different. Spring has sprung.

For some people it's spring cleaning that excites them, but for me, spring collecting gets my blood pumping. I round up all the other people's deserted treasures. As I write this on the last day of winter, I look forward to tomorrow, as it's my mom's birthday (Happy birthday, Mom!) and the first day of spring. So sort of like a season opener, it's time that I get to work finding another project to spruce up the backyard with.

Yep, I sometimes can't ignore the treasures that pop up under my nose. My friend Greg Hutson and his friend Arv are rebuilding a Willys Wagon on a Suburban chassis and needed to get rid of the detritus left over from the swap. Never one to say no, I agreed to help and be the repository of said riches.

Lucky for me, I first had to clean my trailer off and had a great time sorting through its last load of goodies from five years back. I'll get to those projects too, but first I had to rescue Greg and Arv's misguided cast-offs from becoming cheesy recycled steel doodads from China. After reseating the 16.5 trailer tire with ether and a prayer, I set off to salvage a piece of Americana with the feeling that spring fever gives me each year. Thankfully Arv had a forklift at the site, as a frame, axles, transfer cases, and transmissions can be a royal pain in the back to lift and load. In a matter of minutes, my trailer was overflowing with quality trash of vehicular dissection. I was in heaven.

Yes, the whole experience made me happy, and that "spring is sprung" feeling got me going enough to sequester the new load of treasures into the far corner of the backyard, next to a 5-foot-tall stack of other Jeep frames and bits. Tarped and tethered, the new piles of goodies will have to wait their turn to be tended to. I have plenty of other projects that require my time, such as the wife's CJ-7, the Jeepster, a red 3/4-ton GMC, various rusty flatfenders, and the bent, broken, and busted remnants of my very first Jeep. So I figure that in another five years I'll be cleaning the trailer off for a new load of goodies, probably right around spring.

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