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Readers Project Jeeps - Garage Shots

Posted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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We've all had our hands in a project that never seemed to get done. It doesn't matter if it is a complete frame-off restoration or the engine swap that never ends, we've all been there. Whether it was our own or a friend's, we have all felt the pain. It seems misery really does love company, or we all like seeing other Jeepers triumph. Whatever the reasoning, last time we ran a reader's rebuild story, the response was tremendous. So, we've been collecting Jeep Shots submissions that show the before, during, and finished product of your projects and we've finally got enough to run a full story. So without further ado, enjoy the triumphs of your fellow readers over the black hole that a Jeep project can become.


Singing the Blue
Ervin Paddock of Butte, Montana, did a full frame-off restoration and didn't put the body back on the Jeep until the '84 Chevy 305ci V-8 was bolted to the TH400 transmission and bolted into the frame. The power steering, hanging pedal assembly, and brake master cylinder all came from a Chevy car. The seats were grabbed from a Monte Carlo, and it's got a Chevy steering column and custom dashboard. A rear Dana 44 and front Dana 25 were grabbed from a CJ-3B which got 11-inch drums off a Wagoneer. The under-seat gas tank is augmented by a second tank out back and gives the Jeep almost double the range. Other cool features are a tilt front clip and a custom rear bumper/tire carrier.

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Top of the World
Milton Bretz of Godley, Texas, sent us some pictures of his '71 Jeepster project and another five or six projects he's got floating around; he's a real glutton for punishment. Milton spent a lot of time and blew through a ton of actual film to send us a couple of hundred pictures of his Jeep. He didn't tell us how long it took him to build, he just mentioned the word "years" a few times. Now Milton's Jeep is riding on 37x12.50R17 BFG Krawlers. Even after he first put the 350ci Buick V-8 between the framerails, he went through several years of trial and error. Today the Buick V-8 is Howell-injected, DUI-ignited, and backed by a TH400 transmission bolted to a Dana 300. Power goes out to a front Dana 44 and rear Dana 60 with 4.88 gears and Detroit Lockers. Some custom fender work and a six-point rollcage round out this awesome Jeepster.

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Tent Shots
While the tent itself might not look that cold, when we tell you that Clint VanNoy built this '43 GPW in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, you might get the same shivers we did. Clint bought the Jeep sight-unseen from some guy in California, had it shipped up to Alaska, and started on the frame-off. He has swapped in a 225ci Buick V-6 bored 0.030-over with a mild RV cam, aluminum intake, Offenhauser valve covers, and a Holley 390cfm carburetor. A T-90 hands off to a Spicer 18, which then goes to a front Dana 30 with an OX Locker and a rear Dana 44 with a Detroit Locker. Both axles benefit from 4.88 gears, Warn hubs, and a set of 15x10 wheels wrapped with 33-inch Super Swamper Boggers.

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Iowan Pen Pal
Bruce Cockram (yes, that's his real name) of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, basically took a YJ body and frame and then bolted his '83 CJ-7 stuff to it. At least that's what he tells us. He cut the frame at the arch and added steel tube out to the rear, then lowered the body on the frame for a lower center of gravity. Power comes from an AMC 401ci V-8 with a Howell throttle-body fuel injection on it. An NP435 provides a good workout; rowing gears and a 4.3:1 Atlas II send the power out to the Rockcrusher Dana 60 front axle and shaved GM 14-bolt rear. The axles are hung from a three-link wishbone-style front suspension and a four-link double-triangulated rear suspension. The wheelbase is set at 110 inches and a full-hydraulic steering system pushes around the big 42-inch Super Swamper TSLs.

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Dave's Custom
Dave Seger of Fruita, Colorado, has a ton of time into this '82 CJ-7 if the pictures are any indication. A full frame-off restoration (with the frame getting powdercoated) led to this 35-inch-Cooper mud-tire-shod specimen. The 258ci inline-six was mildly warmed up with a Clifford cam, header, and aluminum intake topped with a Howell fuel-injection. The stock T-176 and Dana 300 still handle gear splitting duties, while the front and rear Dana 44s with 4.56 gears, ARB Air Lockers, and ARB differential covers put power to the ground. A Rubicon Express 4 1/2-inch lift works with an M.O.R.E. 1-inch body lift to clear the tires, while a M.O.R.E. rear bumper and tire carrier handle spare tire duties. The rear inner wheelwells were clearanced to accept a TJ rear seat, and the full-width axles keep the tires out of the new 'wells.

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Like Father, Like Sons
This is a dual-owner, father and son Jeep project. Jim is the dad and Kirt is the son. Kirt lives in Oakfield, New York, and he tells us that when he was young Jim used his FC to plow and haul wood, but thanks to the New York winters, it didn't last long. This '59 FC-150 was built to have fun with and drive every day. It has a swapped-in 225ci Buick V-6 bolted to a T-90 transmission and original Spicer 18 transfer case with a Warn Overdrive. It still has the stock axles and leaf springs with swapped-on 31x10.50s wrapped around some white spoke wheels. The bed that Kirt's son is measuring is a JayHawk dump box, just like the dump bed that used to be on Grandpa Jim's FC all those years ago.

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Jimmy Sahara
When we came up with the name for this submission, we figured it would be a slam-dunk. Richard Regel's '88 Sahara has a 4.3L V-6 out of a GMC, so it makes sense. When we went back to read it, it almost sounds like a porn name. Sorry, no cheesy music or fuzzy dice here, just a solid YJ with a great engine choice. The 4.3L has been hopped up with an Edlebrock Performer aluminum intake and cam fed by a 390cfm Holley carburetor. Sanderson shorty headers get the gasses on their way and an MSD ignition system lights the spark. An SM465 is bolted to the NP231 via a Novak adapter. An electric fan with thermostatic controls hangs off the aluminum radiator. Richard built custom wood panels for the all-new Auto Meter gauges, and the project took him just under four months to finish.

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Rock Zombie
Mike Linehan of San Diego, California, tells us that this '68 CJ-5 has come back from the dead twice. He bought it nearly stock, swapped in a Dana 30 front axle, and after breaking stock axle shafts and wearing out seals, broke both rear axle shafts and front hubs on the Rubicon Trail. Then he rebuilt it with a 4-inch Superlift lift kit, a shackle reversal, an SM420 transmission and it got hit by another driver making an illegal U-turn, bending the frame. Now it rides on a Throttle Down Kustoms frame with Poison Spyder tube fenders, Off Your Rocker corner guards, and a custom belly skidplate to fend off any other drivers or rocks. The Buick V-6 was rebuilt by Ed Hale with 0.040-over pistons, a Comp RV cam, Offenhauser intake with a 4bbl carburetor, a Pertronix ignition, and custom headers. The Spicer 18 transfer case still handles power splitting with the front Dana 30 benefitting from power steering and an OX Locker. Meanwhile, the Dana 44 rear has a Detroit Locker and Summers Brothers full-floater kit.

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Happy Birthday!
Josh Dahl of Ocean Springs, Missouri, got a killer birthday present a couple of years ago: this restored '82 CJ-7. He and his dad got a deal on it and planned a paint job to breathe new life into it. For four straight months they worked on it to try to get it done in time for Josh to drive in on the first day of school. They missed the deadline by two weeks, but it serves duty as a daily driver. The 258ci engine still hands off power to the four-speed manual transmission and Dana 300 transfer case. The Dahls added a 2 1/2-inch Skyjacker lift, a 1-inch body lift, and a set of 33x12.50 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws for the stance, as well as a healthy dose of blue paint for just the right look.

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Steal CJ
Taking one of the better pages from the Jp magazine play book, Charles Brown of Decataur, Texas, found an '83 CJ-7 with an engine and transmission swap already done. Then he bought it. Taking one of the other pages from the book, he then went ahead and tore it apart anyway. The previously swapped-in 4.3L Chevy V-6 bolted to a 700R4 and NP231 were retained. The axles were also sourced from a YJ, with a Dana 30 in the front and a Dana 35 in the rear. A 3-inch lift clears the 33-inch Dunlop mud tires on 15x10 aluminum Eagle wheels. Charles wanted a Jeep that could play somewhat hard, but look good doing it, so he tore the Jeep apart to paint it, and that's where most of his money is spent. All said and done, he's into the Jeep for under $5,000.

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Send Us Pics!
If you want to see your project in the next Garage Shots, make sure to take a before, during, and after picture and send them in. Be sure to include the specs on the components and parts you used to build the Jeep (even if they were stock). You can send them in to or snail mail them to Jp magazine c/o Garage Shots at 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA, 90245.


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