This is Bill Mason’s latest Jeep: It’s a ’76 CJ-5, which happens to share the same birth year as Mason. It’s powered by the original 232ci engine that recently rolled a mere 49,700 miles. Some of the upgrades include a Bestop Supertop, Bestop doors, and Bestop seat covers to protect the original seats. The rust-free floorboards have been covered with Rugged Ridge floor liners, and KC Apollo Pro lights were attached to the front bumper.
David Bates’ ’72 CJ-5 has a particularly good story. He writes, “My wife learned to drive in a yellow CJ almost the same year as this one. So when we saw it for sale on the side of the road, I told her that it must be destiny and that our girls must learn to drive in a Jeep too. Well, $1,800 later and I was driving it home. As you can see, it was sporting two shades of primer gray, a bent wheel, rust patches that need fixing, and a windshield frame from a ’76 CJ that was held on by some interesting custom-fab metal brackets. After seeing the huge dent in the hood, I figured out that at some point the hood flipped up and smashed the original windshield. But I like the look of the ’76 windshield and made a few simple mods to make the brackets from the ’76 work. I worked nights and weekends and got it done in about six months. It's been a fun project and still has some work to go. I did most of the bodywork myself and painted it in the garage.”
Ron Peterson of Cedar Springs, Michigan, built this clean Jeep Comanche for his father-in-law, Gary Davis. Using parts from a ’98 Jeep Cherokee XJ, Peterson was able to combine the modern powertrain and styling from the late-model XJ with the classic Jeep pickup. Powering the truck is a high-output 4.0L inline-six engine, which is backed by an AW4 automatic transmission. A NP242 transfer case splits power between the Dana 30 front and 8.25 rear. Aside from the ’88 Cherokee Laredo leather seats, the entire interior was upgraded with late-model XJ components.
Troy Baker of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, uses his ’02 Wrangler TJ to wheel regularly with the Carolina Trailblazers. It’s equipped with a 4.0L engine, which is backed by a five-speed manual transmission. The stock NP231 transfer case was outfitted with an Advance Adapters NP231 slip-yoke eliminator kit. Attached to the back of the T-case is an Oliver’s Driveshaft ’shaft to propel the Dana 44 rear axle. Up front, the stock Dana 30 resides. Both differentials received Eaton E-Lockers. To clear the 33-inch Mickey Thompson MTZs, a Zone 4 1/2-inch suspension system was installed. White Knuckle Off Road sliders are welded to the frame, while a Barns Fab skidplate protects the underbelly. Rusty’s Off-Road Products bumpers, Gr8tops Exogate tire carrier, Metalcloak track bars, and a Warn M9000 winch round out the long list of upgrades.
Darren Maxwell of Fresno, California, writes that he is a long-time reader of the magazine (thanks, Darren!). His twin boys, Austin and Devin, finally convinced him to submit photos of his ’84 CJ-8 Scrambler, and we’re glad they did. Maxwell states that the Jeep was a broken-down heap when he first purchased it. One of the first upgrades it received was a fuel-injection conversion, which was soon followed by a 4.0L high-output head and Banks exhaust. A Detroit Locker out back helps with traction on the trail, while a custom cage keeps him and the two boys safe on the trail.