Cutting Up a Rare Classic for Wheelin
Step By StepView Photo Gallery
There is nothing more disturbing to a classic-car buff than a guy that takes a torch and Sawzall to a vintage rig. But as off-road enthusiasts at heart, it is impossible to leave a vehicle in the original configuration, much less restore it to stock. We have no use for a collector car, but a long wheelbase like our 66 Jeep Panel Delivery with a V-8; now were talking climber, bogger, dragger, beater. It should be able to handle it all, and for a cheap initial admission price. A Panel Delivery is essentially the same as a Wagoneer except it doesnt have side windows, just panels. The 63-91 fullsize Jeeps (FSJs) are cheap for lots of reasons, like rust problems, poor gas mileage, gross emissions, and in some cases a lack of power and reliability. Thats not to say that there arent some jewels out there but for the most part FSJs are inexpensive. We were able to pick up our pseudo-rare one-of-445 66 Panel for $800. And it runs!
Thousands of FSJs have probably spent their lives toting the kids and camping gear to the mountains and maybe even over moderately difficult trails like Golden Spike and Hells Revenge in Moab, Utah. But the real joy of building one of these rigs is that almost no one takes them on really hardcore runs. When most people see a fullsize rig on Sledgehammer or Upper Helldorado, the heads turn, and even more so if its a vintage rig like our Panel. Mostly because they wont know what it is. So heres our rig, some of the mods weve made, and some FSJ tips that might be helpful if youre looking to build a beater. Keep your eyes out for the next issue where well get into some junkyard axles and bigger tires and wheels.
Panel Hack - Part 2