Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

’78 Jeep CJ-5

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 1999
Share this
893large+1978 jeep cj5+front view
894large+1978 jeep cj5+front right view
895large+1978 jeep cj5+front end view
896large+1978 jeep cj5+front view
897large+1978 jeep cj5+engine view
898large+1978 jeep cj5+dashboard view
899large+1978 jeep cj5+axle view

At first glance, this Jeep looks unimpressive, but looks can be deceiving. As proof, this bare-bones CJ runs on Hacker-Pschorr racing fuel (note the fender decal) and has the ability to conquer just about any trail around. We happened to cross paths with this rogue four-wheeler in Johnson Valley, Oklahoma, and Telico, where it put on quite a show for our cameras.

Mark Lloyd of Covington, Indiana, is the man responsible for resurrecting this unruly 4x4 and transforming it into the tough machine you see here. He said, I bought it for $400 in 1993, and the dang thing caught on fire on the way home. Fortunately, he had just pulled into a station to get fuel when it happened and was able to extinguish the fire without much damage. Upon inspection of the engine compartment, Mark noticed a rat's nest was responsible for the blaze. He pulled the body off in the winter of 1995 and sandblasted everything down to the frame. Then, in the fall of the following year, Mark crashed it, and the vehicle was totaled.

This 78 CJ-5 started life with a six-cylinder engine, a three-speed tranny, and open diffs. After the crash, Mark decided to make a few changes and build a serious hard-core beater. With the help of his buddy JB, the local 4x4 wizard, Mark swapped out the six-banger for the AMC 360 V-8 mill and bored it 0.030 inch over with a running compression of 9.5:1. The powerplant was fitted with Perfect Circle pistons and an Edelbrock camshaft. Fuel and air mix through a four-barrel Quadrajet sitting on top of a stock intake manifold. The nasty fumes are expelled through stock exhaust manifolds into straight duals without mufflers. To keep this rig on the trail an extra long time, Mark swapped the original fuel tank for an 18-gallon fuel cell bolted to the bed. Underhood electrical upgrades consist of Bosch Platinum spark plugs connected to Accel 8mm solid-core wires, and an AC Delco battery stores the juice.

The mill sends an estimated 230 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque to a Borg-Warner T-18 tranny. A Dana/Spicer transfer case directs the power to the pumpkins: a Dana 44 in the front and a 60 in the rear, both with 4.10:1 gears. The differentials are locked and loaded with a Detroit out back and a Power-Lok up front. Getting power to those axles are custom driveshafts made out of 2-inch, 0.120-wall pipe. The pumpkins are capped with 16.5x6.75 Budd steel wheels screwed to 35-inch BFGs. Three-quarter-ton Chevy disc brakes are there to slow down this bad boy.

The suspension consists of a Superlift CJ 2 1/2-inch lift kit up front and a Ford Ranger 1 1/2-inch in the rear. Rugged Trail shocks from a 12-inch Chevy front lift damp any abuse. To help keep this rebel in line, steering mods include a custom tie-rod (1 ¼-inch solid bar), a drag link, and a steering arm.

Frame modifications were necessary to build a protective armor for this machine. Mark cut 14 inches off the frame in the rear and replaced it with rectangular tubing. A custom tubular-steel skeleton, consisting of nerf bars, front and rear bumpers, and a brushguard were welded on for trail defense. The body, though fairly protected, is regularly assaulted by various rocks, trees, roots, and other trail hazards.

The paint job (Allis-Chalmers implement paint with flames) is a by-product of an overabundance of time and a lot of Miller Lite, according to one source. When asked about chromed or powdercoated parts, Mark told us they've all fallen off or rusted. The interior of this beast is a functional, bare-bones setup with RCI bucket seats and gauges by Stewart Warner.

Don't let its appearance fool you. If you encounter this tough CJ-5 on a trail some day, you'd be wise to give it a wide berth. It's built for hard-core wheelin and will conquer anything that gets in its way.

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results