Twenty-four Garage-bound Features
Either you get sucked into the "Jeep Thing" or you don't. For those of you nodding your heads, the next 13 pages of Garage Projects are for you. For those of you who are clueless as to what we are talking about, go bolt something else onto your TJ.
We requested that you send in pictures and stories of your garage projects - you know, those Jeeps that come home on a killer deal and soon take over your garage and years of your life. And you, our faithful (if not cantankerous) readers, responded in a big way. We received so many pictures and stories that two of us had to write this.
What better way to start an intro into a story such as this but with our own life-draining garage project. For five years, Trasborg's M-715 dominated his tiny garage. With only an inch of clearance between the hubs and the sides of the door and a few inches between the tailgate and the garage door when it was down, the 715 ruled the garage. No space for parts or working on anything else, no room for anything but the 715. He gave up the non-running engine to knock $500 off the $1,400 asking price and scored a truck that hadn't seen pavement (or likely any usage) in a decade for only $900.
There it sat for five years. He bought it on a whim after reading one of former Jp Editor Rick Pw's stories and had big plans for it. However, a parade of CJs got in the way, and it wasn't until the tail end of 2004 - with four and a half years of parts gathering - that the 715 got the first wrench on it. A year later, with all-new and rebuilt everything, the thing was drivable.
With more man hours on it than the complete assembly of a new Jeep, the 715 is now on (and off) road. For some reason, Trasborg thinks that is an accomplishment. For the same wacky reason, all the Jeep owners featured in this story, and many more of you who didn't send anything in, know that feeling too. Without further ado, here's our blowout of Readers' Garage Projects.
Beautiful (For a Bullnose)
Lee Tidwell of Bowie, Maryland, sent us in a ton of pictures featuring his son's '73 Jeepster Commando. Looking at the pictures of when it was dragged home, we thought it looked pretty good. Then we got to the pictures that showed the extent of the rust. One thing led to another, and soon Lee and his son, Jason, had the whole thing torn apart. They rebuilt it with an AMC 360, TH400 trans, wide-track AMC-20 rear and Dana 30 axles. They set it up for spring-over, put a full cage in it, and added onboard air. To top it off, they added a killer paint job, which made this three-year project really stand out.
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Mike Gardner of Baltimore, Maryland, submitted this CJ-abomination. It isn't actually a garage project because he lives in an apartment. Rather, the frame and motor hide behind his parents' pool, while the body is on the side of the house. All the separate parts are kept covered with tarps until Mike gets a weekend off so he can work on it. He scored two Jeeps off eBay, a '45 CJ-2A and a '46 CJ-2A. He is working on the '45 and using the '46 as a parts-Jeep right now.
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Long Nose Five
This '74 CJ-5 comes to us from Live Oak, Florida. There is a lot to be said when someone sees a Jeep, knows that it is a piece of crap, and still buys it. Such is the case with Dan Oxford, who is a glutton for punishment and poverty; the frame was straight, but that was about it. All the mechanical parts needed attention, and the body was totally shot. Using a Novak Adapters rebuild kit, he was able to rebuild the Dana 20 transfer case with no problem. That went so well that Dan decided to get an SM-420 adapter kit from Novak for the Jeep, which then necessitated a custom crossmember. He tells us that the body and front axle are still junk, but he loves every minute of owning this Jeep, poorhouse and all.