As Jeep owners look for ways to customize their vehicles and make them stand out from the crowd, the aftermarket has answered with custom grilles. But long before there were angry-eyed grilles, Kirt Stassi grafted a Willys grille onto the front of his CJ-6. When he first built the Jeep in 2002, he had a YJ grille on it (the origin of the CJ WHUH nickname found on the roof rack). Remember that 15 years ago, 3-inch-tube rollcages with speakers in them and Centerline wheels were pretty much standard issue on the trails of Northern California.
Kirt worked with a small shop called WFO Concepts, and as the shop grew so did his Jeep. He wanted the Willys grille for years, but WFO head honcho Trevor Huiskens told him that it would be too much work. Logic be damned, Kirt eventually got a Willys front end on his CJ-6. To mate the 1951 Willys grille to the CJ, the hood, front fenders, and inner fenders had to be fabricated from scratch. The sheetmetal work is amazing. Even looking at the inside of the hood you cannot tell that it was cut into three sections (by Ben Starr), combining the front quarter of the Willys hood to the rear half of the CJ hood and creating the rest from scratch. Your move, angry-eyed grille owners!
Oh, Ram Jetty, bam da lam! Power comes from a Ram Jet 350 V-8 cooled by a Ron Davis aluminum radiator with a mechanical clutch fan and a custom shroud from WFO Concepts. While Gen III engines are all the rage these days, it’s still tough to beat the bang-for-the-buck of an old-school small-block Chevy. It certainly isn’t giving Kirt Stassi any reason to swap it out.
The interior features a Tuffy Security center console between the heated PRP ostrich-skin seats. The polished dash is filled with digital gauges and a DVD player. Under the dash the shifters control the Offroad Design Doubler, and an aftermarket heater allows for winter wheeling in comfort.
The rear seat used to hold Kirt’s three kids, but since they are all grown now he replaced the seat back with an ARB Extreme fridge-freezer. For under the fridge, WFO Concepts built a toolbox to safely hold spare parts and tools for the trail.
Tim Dempsey built the 3-inch-tube rollcage. WFO Concepts ran all of the wiring through the cage for the stereo, CB radio, rear DVD screen, and switches for the ARB air compressor and air lockers.
The hood was cut into pieces by Ben Starr. Three sections and about 25 percent of the original Willys hood were retained, while the other 75 percent was custom formed from scratch. There is virtually no body filler in it!
Kirt is a regular fixture on Jeepers Jamboree, where he has been known to eat entire crawdads live, including the claws. He’s also infamous for dumping his beer in a random guy’s sweaty logging boot and chugging it.
The front axle is a high-pinion Dana 44 from a Ford F-250 that has been narrowed to 60 inches and fitted with six-lug Chevy outers. It is filled with 4.56 gears, an ARB Air Locker, chromoly axleshafts, and CTM U-joints. Trevor Huiskens of WFO Concepts built the front axle in his garage at home back in 2002. For perspective, WFO Concepts currently has three full-time employees who spend 40 hours a week regearing differentials and building custom axles.
The front suspension consists of rear F-150 leaf springs mounted to a WFO Concepts shackle reversal. The offset center pin of the Ford springs stretches the wheelbase and keeps the tires from rubbing on the back of the fenders at full compression. Pro Comp MX6 remote-reservoir shocks smooth out the bumps.
Out back a Rockcrusher high-pinion Dana 60 centersection was used with 4.56 gears and an ARB Air Locker. WFO Concepts built the axle to be 60 inches wide and fit it with Dutchman 35-spline chromoly semifloat axleshafts and Ford Explorer disc brakes.
The rear suspension uses F-150 leaf springs on top of the axle in conjunction with a WFO Concepts traction bar to eliminate axlewrap. Rancho RS9000 shocks provide the damping, and a Speedway Motors antisway bar straddles the custom 25-gallon fuel tank.
1975 Jeep CJ-6
Engine: 350ci Ram Jet V-8
Transmission: TH400 3-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Offroad Design Doubler (NP203 to NP205)
Front Axle: High pinion Dana 44 with 4.56 gears, ARB Air Locker, CTM U-joints, and chromoly axleshafts
Rear Axle: High-pinion Rockcrusher Dana 60 with 4.56 gears, ARB Air Locker, and Dutchman chromoly axleshafts
Springs & Such: Ford F-150 leaf springs and Pro Comp MX6 shocks (front and rear)
Tires & Wheels: 38.5x13.00-15LT Maxxis Creepy Crawler on 15x10 Centerline
Steering: Inverted T with Saginaw steering box and WFO Concepts high steer arms
Other Stuff: Ron Davis radiator, WFO Concepts custom 25-gallon fuel tank, ARB air compressor, dual Odyssey batteries, ARB Extreme fridge-freezer, PRP ostrich-skin seats with heaters