You don’t have to spend a fortune to build a vehicle worthy of a feature in Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road. Chris Shearer has less than $5,000 in his ’58 Willys, but he supplemented his money with hard work and plenty of ingenuity. Need a cooler? Chris cut the can off the top of a jerry can. Need an overflow tank? Chris used a rum bottle.
When he found the Willys sitting in a field in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, in 2009 it was bone stock and relatively rust free. Over the course of last winter Chris scrounged for parts and his brother-in-law Mike Flake did all the welding. They got plenty of help from their friends in the Red Deer Jeep Packrats to get Eight Lug Thug rolling in time for the long trip from Alberta to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari.
1958 Willys Pickup
Engine: 350ci Chevy V-8 on propane
Transmission: 700R4 4-speed automatic
Transfer case: NP241 with JB Conversions slip yoke eliminator
Front Axle: Ford high-pinion Dana 60 with 4.88 Yukon gears
Rear Axle: 14-bolt with Yukon spool, 4.88 gears, and disc brakes
Springs & Such: 3-link front with 41⁄2-inch TJ coil springs, 1-link rear with 41⁄2-inch JK coil springs, Bilstein 7100 shocks
Tires & Wheels: 41x14.50R17LT Super Swamper Iroks on 17x9 Pro Comp steel rims with Bulletproof beadlock rims
Steering: PSC full hydraulic with single-ended ram
Other Stuff: Warn 8274 winch, rum bottle overflow tank, FC-170 bed, wrench for transfer case shifter