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1963 Jeep CJ5 - What Swedes Do During Winter

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 1, 2002
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Contributors: Jon ThompsonAnders Odeholm
Photographers: Anders Odeholm

Nicely turned-out Jeeps are no big deal. We see them all the time, from all across the country, right? So ordinarily we might not have paid much attention to the '63 CJ-5 you see here.

This one, though, deserves a bit of attention because it's a reminder that enthusiasm for Jeeps, and loyalty to them, is a world-wide phenomenon. This little burgundy CJ, you see, has spent its life first in Brazil, and then in Sweden. That's where owner Andreas Wilson, of Malm, found it in 1992, rusting away in Gteburg, on Sweden's west coast. Andreas, who builds prototype cell phones for Ericsson, the Norwegian cell phone company, paid the owner $2,000 and hauled it home to the huge underground garage he shares with 15 like-minded buddies.

The CJ had been used as a farm tractor in Brazil, and had led a very hard life. And except for a set of non-standard wheels, it was basically stock. As you will see as you review the photos on these pages, it hasn't remained that way. Andreas refers to his CJ as a "rolling restoration." That's because of the seasonal extremes in Sweden. The place is gorgeous during the summer, so that's when Andreas drives his Jeep, and did so even when it was tired. But the winter is referred to by Swedish gearheads as the garage season, and that's when Andreas works on the Jeep.

That's an AMC 304ci V-8 parked under the CJ's hood. It's lightly stressed with an Edelbrock cam, intake manifold, and carburetor, but runs well enough to propel the CJ along smartly.

For instance, during the second winter he owned it, Andreas bought a 304ci AMC V-8 and a TH400 transmission to replace the worn-out stock engine and transmission. To get the extra length required to make this combination fit, he fitted the longer fenders and hood from a later-model CJ. All that done, he fired his new motor up to discover a distinct lack of oil pressure. A rebuild later, and with the fitment of ported-and-polished stock heads and an Edelbrock cam, manifold, and carb, a Carter high-volume fuel pump, a Motorcraft electronic distributor, and a custom five-core radiator, Andreas was ready for another summer of Swedish 'wheeling.

He found great ways to use his new horsepower, but he also found that the '63's stock suspension left a great deal to be desired. Plus, he was noticing an annoying vibration from the stock rear driveshaft. All of this was added to his to-do list for the coming garage season: replace those old axles and do something about the suspension.

PhotosView Slideshow
Yes, that's a CV joint at the top of the rear driveshaft. Andreas salvaged that from a Cherokee. Note the sturdy crossmember that was fabricated to carry the transfer case.

Andreas bought a set of Dana 44s equipped with ARB lockers and 3.73 gears, and at his local salvage yard, he found a set of control arms from a Range Rover. As soon as temperatures plummeted and the snow started to fly, he jacked up the Jeep, got out his welding equipment, and went to work. He removed the stock axles and all the old suspension, welded on mounts for the new control arms, and boxed the frame. While he was at it, he also welded on the necessaries for a set of coil springs, front and rear, from a Volvo 240 sedan, and he didn't stop there. He also lengthened the CJ's wheelbase by 1.5 inches. He also made sure that a proper set of disc brakes was at the ends of each axle. These consist of rotors from a Russian Lada Niva and calipers from a Volvo 240, which are actuated by a master cylinder from a Ford Granada. Next, he added Pro Comp shocks and driveshafts, complete with constant-velocity joints, from an '83 Cherokee. He added a Mercedes-Benz steering box and a steering column from an '81 Buick Skylark topped by a steering wheel without pedigree that he bought at a swap meet.

To put his horsepower and traction to the Swedish mud, Andreas installed a set of 15x10 Mickey Thompson wheels and some 35-inch Super Swampers. And to cope with the fact that his new 44s were 8 inches wider than his Jeep's stock axles, he added plastic fender extensions to keep the Swedish licensing officials happy. Finally, he sprayed on some magenta paint, installed a pair of Procar seats, added a Clarion stereo and a quartet of speakers, and strapped on a pair of stainless-steel Jerricans.

Andreas now says his Swedish CJ, by way of Brazil, is finished, and that's OK with his 15 buddies, who believe that he's gone overboard making it too pretty. Whatever the reasons, he's done with it, and is looking for something else to work on during Sweden's long, cold garage seasons. Like maybe build something even harder-core, something his pals won't make fun of, and something he can equip from junk yards. Should be interesting, eh?


Vehicle model Andreas Wilson, Sweden
Type '83 AMC V-8
Displacement (ci) 304
Aspiration Edelbrock 650-cfm carb on Edelbrock Performer manifold, stock exhaust manifolds, 2.5-inch exhaust tubing with crossover pipe
Transmission TH400
Transfer case Dana 20
Front Volvo coil springs, Pro Comp shocks, custom panhard rod, Range Rover control arms, Mercedes-Benz steering box
Rear Volvo coil springs, Pro Comp shocks, custom panhard rod, Range Rover control arms
Front/rear Dana 44, ARB Air Locker
Ring-and-pinion 3.73:1
Wheels (in.) Mickey Thompson Alcoa 15x10 wheels
Tires Super Swamper TSL/SX 35x15

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