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1981 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler - Jeeper's Dream

Posted in Project Vehicles on February 1, 2009
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Trailer queens just ain't our thing. We guess that's why our staff shares an affinity for rusty, dented, and well-beaten 4x4s that are functional and trailworthy.

However, we always appreciate a good-looking, squeaky-clean rig that's well used and ready to tackle the toughest terrain. When we found Gary Thorn running his super-sano Jeep Scrambler over the tough trails of Moab like it was one of the staff's rusty trail relics, we just had to stop and take notice.

Obviously not all trail rigs start off this way; they morph into these incredibly agile machines through bags of money, hard work, and lots of late-night wrench fests. This old Scrambler is a frame-off custom-built rig, and the quality craftsmanship that has gone into the Jeep ensures that it's going to last a lifetime.

It's not evident by looking at the Jeep, but this old CJ-8 has been reliably running the trails around Moab for five years. That's a great testament to a good builder and a skillful driver. Gary recruited one of Utah's renowned Jeep builders, Kevin Hawkins, for the Jeep's resurrection. The Scrambler was completely disassembled-all parts were stripped, painted, and then reassembled. Gary's idea was to build it right the first time so he and his family could explore and conquer the deserts and mountains of Utah in style, comfort, and safety.

PhotosView Slideshow
The aluminum belly skid is a functional addition to the Jeep, and it acts as a slider to keep the components underneath it protected from the rugged slickrock ledges around Moab. Tucked neatly underneath the skid is a rebuilt GM TH350 transmission and an Atlas 4.1 transfer case.

Tech Specs
1981 Jeep Scrambler

Engine: Ram Jet 350 V-8
Transmission: GM TH350
Transfer case: Atlas 4.1
Front Axle: Dynatrac Pro-Series 60, Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears
Rear Axle: Dynatrac Pro-Series 60, Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears

Springs & Such: Custom spring-over with 2-inch Rubicon Express leaf springs, Currie Enterprises boomerang shackles, Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks
Tires & Wheels: 39x14.5-15LT Pit Bull Mad Dogs,15x10 Champion beadlocks
Other Stuff: Rock Gear shifter grips, Howell power steering, Mastercraft racing seats and harnesses, custom aluminum spring plates, Hella headlights, Tuffy center console, J-Mar hydraulic hand brake, Currie Enterprises fuel tank, ARB fridge freezer, bedliner spray by Truck Dcor

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