Restored, functional Kaiser/Jeep J-trucks are about as rare as a 50th wedding anniversary in Hollywood. With that said, you can't help but respect Travis Massey's extraordinary built-to-perform '69 J2000.
Above and beyond the rarity of this rig is the fact that Massey, a pipeline welder from Salinas, California, resurrected this rig in his garage after it was totaled in 2001, and he completed almost all of the work himself with the ultimate goal of creating a truck that fit his 'wheeling needs perfectly. Not content to simply restore the rig, he put together a plan for integrating a number of performance and durability mods. The result is a massive, unique rig that solicits exclamations of awe from all who see it.
Massey's J-truck rolls on 44x18.5 Denman Ground Hawg tires mounted to custom 16.5x12 wheels. The front fender openings were stretched 3 inches to provide more tire clearance and a 1-inch body lift was installed before multiple coats of Dodge Patriot Blue paint and four coats of clear were applied to the exterior. Massey fabbed the rear bumper, which features a hitch, tow points, and backup lights, as well as the front bumper, which sports a prerunner bar, tow points, and a winch mount for the Ramsey 10,000-pound worm-drive winch.
Big-block engines are always good, and the J-truck has a potent one under its hood resting on custom motor mounts. It's a 454ci V-8 bored 0.060 over, and it's fitted with forged TRW pistons; an Edelbrock cam, aluminum heads, and intake manifold; a Milodon oil pump and pan; a Speed Demon 750-cfm four-barrel carburetor; an MSD distributor, coil, spark plug wires, and 6A ignition box; Hedman Hedders; and a 3-inch-diameter exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers. A pair of Exide batteries and a 93-amp alternator round out the underhood mods. The estimated 500 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque are routed through a rebuilt NV4500 transmission, which sits on a custom crossmember.
Things are beefy, yet simple, up front. A Rockwell 2 1/2-ton axle sports a Detroit Locker, a pair of custom 15-inch-diameter brake rotors with dual piston calipers, and dual steering stabilizers. The axle is located via a heavy-duty track bar with spherical rod ends. The suspension is comprised of Superlift 12-inch-lift leaf springs (mounted to a custom front spring hanger/crossmember and the frame in the rear) and 14-inch-travel aluminum shocks (bolted to custom mounts). Steering system components include a Dodge pitman arm, heavy-duty drag link with spherical rod ends, and a beefy tie-rod with 3/4-inch rod ends.
Massey went crazy on the interior, replacing the stock components with a custom layout designed to suit his specific wants and desires. Custom aluminum door panels and a custom aluminum dash with a slew of VDO and Auto Meter gauges are obvious, but there are also less apparent items like power windows, door locks, and mirrors integrated into the cab. Other mods include Beard suspension seats, a Grant 14-inch steering wheel, custom carpet, a floor-mounted Tuffy security console, a full rollcage, and a Pioneer/Rockford Fosgate/Alpine/JL Audio/Boston Acoustics audio system.
Massey wanted the rear Detroit Locker-equipped 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axle to stay glued to the ground, no matter what the terrain, so he fabbed a custom three-link suspension. It consists of Skyjacker 6-inch-lift leaf springs, custom shackles with rear 12-inch drop-out arms (lockable, for street travel), 14-inch-travel aluminum shocks, and a quick-disconnect rear sway bar with 0.50-inch spherical rod ends. The axle is located under the truck via an upper "Y" link made from 2-inch-diameter 0.170 DOM tubing and lower links made from 2-inch-diameter 0.250 DOM tubing. To enhance flexibility, the upper links sport 1.25-inch spherical rod ends, and the lower links are fitted with 0.75-inch spherical rod ends. The Rockwell axle also features 13-inch-diameter rotors and single piston calipers.
An NP205 transfer case with 32-spline output shafts split the torque to the Rockwell axles. This capable 'case is sandwiched between a pair of custom driveshafts, both of which feature beefy 1410-series U-joints.