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April 2011 Mailbag: Letters to the Editor

Jp November 2010 Cover
John Cappa | Writer
Posted April 1, 2011

Jeep's Future If Readers Were In Charge and More!

Still a Reader
Hey Crappa, I've been reading your douche rag since inception. End it now, lock the door and throw away the key. Leave on a high note. You'll never be able to top the Nov. '10 issue.
Corey Kruchkowski

Dealer Envy
I found the Nov. '10 issue of Jp to be one of the best I have read in some time. I enjoyed your views on your approach to what Chrysler is doing wrong with the Jeep brand/image ("Cappa's Jeep Factory").

My grandfather had this crazy idea he could sell Jeeps in our small town 65 years ago, and up until June 9, 2009, my family ran one of the oldest Jeep dealerships in the country. For the last 10-plus years we have said that the "Jeep people" were in the minority in Auburn Hills.

Your articles are spot-on this month, and while I don't necessarily agree with the solid axle in the Grand Cherokee idea, I do agree Jeep needs to simplify the line-up and do some derivative packages. Lose the Compass/Patriot and engineer a small Jeep, to place under the JK. I can't put the name on the concept but there was a Samurai-sized Jeep concept in the mid to late '90s. That's my two cents.

As for the Trail Head question...I would say a '45 CJ-2A in Harvest Tan, but that's only because I have one in the garage.

Keep up the great work! Brandon Corwin
Corwin Jeep

Turin, You Got Your Ears On?
Congratulations guys on a homerun trio of articles on Jeep's future. Great stuff! Hope you had about 50 issues translated into Italian and mailed to Turin. Your articles got me thinking about my dream Jeep, which is a Wrangler diesel-electric. How about a 50 hp motor on each wheel, no drive train, just electric cables. That's 200 hp at the wheels, no drivetrain waste. Imagine, touch the accelerator (can't say gas pedal anymore), and get instant full torque. It would be all-wheel-drive, all the time. There would be plenty of power to run power tools at the job site, weld anything, and power the entire backwoods campsite. It would need a hi-capacity battery (which doesn't exist today, at a reasonable price), but it could be available in a few years. There is an electric car company (Tesla) that produces an electric sports car. It claims 0-60 in 5.6 seconds and 300 miles on a charge. How about a stock Wrangler DE (Diesel Electric) with that type of performance? I figure a 20 KVA gen set should be enough for normal driving, with battery backup for bursts.

Ahh well, it doesn't hurt to dream. How about translating this letter into Italian and sending it to Turin.
Ed Spivak
Albuquerque, NM

Perfect Willys Timing
My dream project is to restore/build a Willy's Wagon. I would like to build for medium rock crawling (35s to 37s) and drive the rig to the fun and back. I would like to hear your thoughts for engine, trans, transfer case, and diffs. Jp mag is my favorite. Far better than that Four... Oh, sorry, your sister mag I also get.
George Lemley
Phoenix, AZ

Hopefully you picked up the Nov. '11 issue then! We ran a feature on a '52 Willys Wagon ("Utility Camper") that does just that. It also doubles as a reliable tow rig. The owner uses it to tow a race trailer. It rolls on 37-inch tires and sports a Ford 351 Cleveland engine mated to an NV4500 manual tranny and an NP208 T-case. The front axle is a Dana 44 from a Wagoneer and the rear is a Ford 9-inch.

Of course if it were mine I'd build it a little different. I'd stick with a fairly stock GM V-8 TBI motor, the NV4500, and maybe an NP205 or NV241 T-case (preferably passenger side drop). I'd use a Wide-Trac Dana 44 from a '74-'79 FSJ up front and convert it to five-lug with Ford hubs and rotors. Out back I'd slap in a '74-'86 31-spline Ford 9-inch from an F-150. That way I could avoid expensive axle shortening/lengthening and run them as is. I'd probably go with something as low as 5.13 gears since I had the Overdrive tranny. I'd slap a Detroit Locker in the rear and I'd leave the front open unless I felt I really needed a locker. If I did, I'd slap in an OX Locker or maybe the new TJM locker.

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