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The Flores/Campbell '76 CJ-5.
A GM 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and an ARB provide plenty of strength in this lightweight application. The 1/2-ton housing has been reworked to mount the quarter-elliptical springs and shock up high to keep them from getting caught on the rocks. The differential cover has been reinforced and disc brakes were added to improve braking and keep unsprung weight to a minimum.
A GM ZZX crate engine breathes in through a factory TPI manifold and out through Corvette OEM headers. An Electromotive distributorless ignition system provides the spark and mounts cleanly to the firewall. Compressed air for tires and the ARBs come from a late-model A/C compressor converted to pump air. The four-wheel disc brakes are operated with a GM master cylinder and no power assist. The brake pedal ratio was calculated so that the vacuum booster could be ditched.
Here you can truly appreciate Campbells craftsmanship. The orange tube frame chassis has all the strength and ground clearance you could ask for combined in a lightweight package. The transmission crossmember has been tied into the frame yet can be removed to facilitate servicing the TH350 or Dana 300 transfer case.
The tube frame allows for massive amounts of travel without a huge lift because the frame is contoured to permit the axle to travel farther up than a stock frame. Fuel, air, and brake lines all run along the main chassis tube for maximum protection. Dual Rancho shocks work with Wrangler springs to plant the 35x12.5x15 BFG tires mounted on 15x7 Center Line Hellcats on the rocks.
Two Beard racing seats hold the driver and passenger in front of the Auto Meter gauges. A bumpercar-like steering wheel with a pad has been mounted to keep the passengers forehead from meeting the dash and to dissuade the copilot from holding onto the rollbar.
What makes a Jeep a Jeep? Is it the looks or the components? Is it the body or the frame? Its certainly not who builds it because AMC, Bantam, Chrysler, Ford, and Willys have all made Jeeps at one time or another. There are so many parts out on the market now that you could even build one of your own from scratch. Mike Flores and Shannon Campbell have come pretty close to doing just that with this Vanilla ShakeandTangeloPearl colored CJ-5.
This 76 CJ-5 retains the factory cowl of the Jeep Mike competed with in Four Wheeler
A Jeep is a look and a utility common to all vehicles that have worn the name. No matter how much you re-engineer it or how much you improve upon it, you cant remove that mysterious force that has made them so capable off road for 60 years. Tube frame, stock frame, swapped-in drivetrain, paint it any color you want, drive it over any terrain, and the results will always be the same. Its still a Jeep.