‘Ugly Jeep’ is one Serious Wheeler
What got you in to four wheeling? For many of us it was likely a cool magazine feature truck with aggressive tires and a big healthy V8 that we could happily picture ourselves romping around in. Generally speaking, teenagers don't have massive budgets to buy or build a high zoot wheeling rig, so it's only natural to be captivated by a real world rig that flat out works off-road. On this episode of Dirt Every Day, we'll revisit the legendary 'Ugly Jeep' that got 4-Wheel & Off-Road's Tech Editor, Fred Williams, hooked on wheeling!
Fred grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania where he regularly horsed around in an old rusty Forward Control Jeep. Over the years he ended up owning two Jeep CJ5's as well as a CJ7 and even a Jeep Cherokee XJ, just to name a few. As a senior in high school, Fred loved reading about all the cool rigs in the off-road magazines, but it wasn't until he laid eyes on the September 1989 issue of Four Wheeler Magazine that he was completely hooked on wheeling. What he saw was an old and very weathered 1951 Jeep CJ3A with big aggressive 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Belted tires (35-inch tires were monstrous in the late '80s) as well as a healthy all aluminum Rover 215 V8 engine with a simple Holley carburetor that seemed to work at darn near any angle.
The Jeep wasn't built like all the other bright neon colored trucks of the era that focused more on chrome and colorful shock boots than actual trucks that were built for serious wheeling. Instead it was mostly a flat brown with a few other previous colors showing in some of the bruised body panels and looked like the type of rig the average teenager could afford.
Check out the video below and find out why Fred was so captivated by this awesome old flat-fender Jeep and meet the man who built the legendary 'Ugly Jeep'!