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1953 Jeep CJ 3A - Little Britches

Posted in Features on June 23, 2015
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Photographers: Justin Majich

When Editor Trasborg brought up recapping our on-going projects, a few of us kind of cringed a little bit. Some of these projects are, um, not well documented. There are none more so than Little Britches. It’s one of those projects that has a lot of potential for greatness, yet is not a high priority. Because of that, it kind of gets what it gets as far as parts goes, and the documentation leaves a lot to be desired. Oh well, that’s just how it goes sometimes. We get started on a project, life gets in the way, and said project now goes from long term to very long term. Even our dear editor’s memory isn’t quite infallible.

Little Britches was a trade. Trasborg got it from Average Joe (Josh Biggs) in exchange for Project Jeepster Resurrection (Part 1, July ’09; Part 2, Sept. ’09; Part 3, Aug. ’12). When he got it, Little Britches was a running and driving jeep. Josh had freshened up and dropped in the 283ci Chevy V-8 before the Jeep went to Trasborg. The engine and hood have some great fine-detail finishing touches that Josh applied, which will probably be totally wasted on Trasborg. The plans for it include Dana 44s with passenger-side offset differentials front and rear and to highline the hood in an effort to help fit the planned 35-inch tires, amongst other things. We’ll just go ahead and blame “life getting in the way” on why this project has kind of stalled.

The 283ci Chevy V-8 is in and fit under the hood with only minimal cutting. It’s bolted up to the factory T-90 three-speed transmission, with a Spicer 18 transfer case bringing up the rear. The clutch actuation is handled by a custom hydraulic setup that Josh put together. Trasborg also has plans for a Saturn/Warn overdrive to help out the transmission on those long highway runs between trailheads. Cooling is going to be handled by a Griffin radiator, which isn’t in yet, but at least the engine can breathe thanks to the dual glass-pack-equipped exhaust running out the back. If it ran, that is, it would be able to breathe. It hasn’t ran since Trasborg tore it all apart to start working on the steering. That’s just how it goes sometimes with these things.

Right now, the immediate priority is finishing the steering so we can get this thing running. Once it’s back up and running, the radiator can go in, but the front crossmember needs to move to provide clearance for the radiator. The radiator won’t fit between the headlight buckets of the factory CJ-3A grille, but it will fit between the headlights of the Omix-Ada GPW grille. So it will get some protection from the GPW grille Trasborg has sitting in his living room. After that, a custom rollcage will be going in to protect the passengers who are brave enough to ride in it. Trasborg is also working on collecting a full set of Jackman wheels to replace the generic steel wheels and junkyard donuts currently keeping Little Britches off jack-stands.

Good, Bad, and What It’s For
The good is that it’s a cool little project with a lot of potential. How much fun is it going to be cruising around in a V-8 flatty with glasspacks and 35s? The cool-factor is going to be off the charts. The bad is that, well, it doesn’t currently run, there’s an insane amount of work that still needs to be done to it, and when you’re juggling so many different projects, just not enough time to get them all done. As for what it’s built for, Trasborg just missed having a flatty. We think that the best answer for why you would build a V-8 flatty on 35s is, why not?

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