We're always amazed when we walk through salvage yards here in Southern California, where rust-free 20- to 50-year-old iron sits languishing until its date with the crusher. Vehicles on the eastern half of the country-where rain, sleet, snow, and salt take their toll-are usually so rotted by the time they're 10 years old that you could cube them in a trash compactor. That's why we freak over cleanly built East Coast examples, such as Steve Crawford's '81 CJ-8.
All of the Jeeps Steve has previously owned were built by Tim Dockery of Timco in Murphy, North Carolina. Although Dockery is now retired, Steve managed to talk him into building one last Rock Hound before he hung up his wrenches. The result is a completely restored, nicely customized truck that gets used all over the Southeast.
At first glance, the most noticeable feature is that the tub has been shortened 1311/42 inches behind the rear tires. In addition, the front axle and steering box have been moved forward 3 inches to create a 107-inch wheelbase, and a shackle reversal was performed on the front. The body tub was cherried out, and anything that wasn't sprayed with Line-X got fogged with pearl white paint. For boingage, a set of 211/42-inch Superlift springs relocated on top of the axles makes room for 38-inch Super Swampers.
Other niceties, such as an 11:1 compression '70 AMC 390, four-wheel discs from Wagoneer pieces, and reupholstered factory seats provide the stop, go, and comfort. We're glad to see a 19-year-old vehicle in great condition, but if Steve ever loses the better part of judgement, we're sure he could just hook up the front Warn 8274 and rear Ramsey REP 8000 to solid points and rip the thing in half.