MJ LegacyWhen Jesse Snodgrass’ friend passed away, he inherited this ’89 Comanche. While this is never an ideal way to end up with a new project Jeep, Snodgrass was determined to do his friend proud. The MJ is outfitted with a 6.5-inch lift, 33x12.50 Maxxis Big Horn tires, and the differentials have been outfitted with 4.10 gears. The next set of upgrades include lockers, a slip-yoke-eliminator kit, and a winch bumper. While his friend may be gone, Snodgrass is keeping his memory alive with the build.
Stock RocksChip Rowland plans to keep his ’74 CJ-5 as close to stock as possible. The original 304ci V-8 still resides under the hood, and with only 94,000 miles on the odometer, there hasn’t been a need for a rebuild. Behind the V-8 is the BorgWarner T-15 transmission and Dana 20 transfer case. The original Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear axles are also still in place, although the front axle did get upgraded with a Lock-Right Locker. A mild 1/2-inch shackle lift makes room for 31-inch-tall Goodyear tires. Rowland also added that the Jeep originally belonged to the 1970s professional golfer Johnny Miller.
Stretching the DollarJames Wasicki of Elmira, New York, was able to build his ’84 CJ-8 from scratch for $18,000. How he got there was just as impressive as the modest build budget. It all started because he needed a larger Jeep, but didn’t want to spend for the pricey four-door Wrangler Unlimited. So, he got a title and VIN plate for an ’84 CJ-8 and went to work. The tub you see is actually all aluminum and comes from Aqualu. It’s mated to a Throttle Down Kustoms frame and an assortment of new and used CJ/YJ replacement body parts. He scored the 5.9L 360ci V-8 from a ’99 Ram that was headed to the scrapyard, and then backed it up with a 46RH transmission that was plucked from a ’95 Grand Cherokee. A Dana 30 and Dana 44 axle set are secured by 2.5-inch Old Man Emu YJ lift springs, which makes clearance for the 33-inch-tall Goodyear tires. We could write a book on all of the work and small upgrades that went into this CJ-8. Since Wasicki was able to save money by doing all of the work himself, it helped him keep the cost of the project way down.
Meet the MillersDave Miller of Wichita, Kansas, states that these are just three of the nine Jeeps in the family. Miller’s father started off the Jeep love affair in 1966 with the purchase of a then new CJ-5. Shown here is a bone stock ’48 Willys CJ-2A, which is parked in front of an ’01 Wrangler TJ. The TJ is outfitted with a 4-inch-lift kit, 33-inch-tall tires, bumpers, OX rear locker, and 4.56 gears. The red CJ-7 is a 1980 model that’s been paired with a 304ci V-8, 4-inch Rough Country Suspension, and 35-inch BFG mud-terrains.
The Fire JeepVinny Nava’s ’86 CJ-7 has lead one interesting life. He writes, “In 1986, the West Alexandria Ohio Volunteer Fire Dept. purchased a new CJ-7 from the local AMC/Jeep dealership to fight cornfield fires (the firefighter who took delivery of that Jeep is still there—he's the Chief). Although outfitted with a water tank and pump, it lived indoors at the firehouse for the next 29 years and was seldom used.
“As the Fire Dept. acquired more equipment including a brush truck, the rarely used Jeep had to go to make room. The owner of a Jeep dealership heard about it and purchased it with 4,500 miles on the odometer. It lived there for almost a year until I found it. In 1986, I was hired as a police officer for the Boca Raton Police Dept. in sunny South Florida. I drove a red ‘86 CJ-7 to the police academy. My Jeep was traded for a minivan when the kids came along, but I never forgot that old CJ and promised to get another one when I retired.
“Well, in 2016, after 30 years of service as a Law Enforcement Officer, I retired as a Lieutenant and bought the old fire truck CJ as a gift to myself. The water tank was removed and a nice set of wheels, a Bimini top, and stereo were installed. It has just over 5,000 original miles and only comes out on clear days. I guess you can say we are both semi-retired.”