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Verne Simons: 1949 Willys CJ-3A

The Ultimate Rigs of UA 2011

Driver: Verne Simons
Co-Driver: Trent McGee
Stomping Grounds: Peoria, AZ
Trent McGee and Verne Simons are two former fulltime magazine guys who can never seem to get enough wheeling. These days Verne is a fulltime biologist and parttime freelance writer, while Trent has found his home peddling quality off-road products at Daystar. Though the hustle and bustle of daily life keep them busy, both manage to break away for the weeklong wheeling fest that is the Ultimate Adventure. Since Trent has actually attended every UA to date, he knows what the trip entails and plays storyteller/historian for those who can’t remember which year he may or may not have been duct-taped to a chair. We surely appreciate their help on the trip, as their experience makes the trip run more smoothly each year.


  • Engine: ’84 Buck V-6 even fire bored 0.040 over, Howell fuel injection, GM HEI, Advance Adapters headers, Edelbrock muffler, Griffin radiator
  • Transmission: T-18 with Advance Adapters chain control linkage
  • Transfer Case: Dana-18 with Advance Adapters Saturn overdrive
  • Front Axle: Narrowed Dana 44, Dutchman axleshafts, CTM U-joints, Warn hubs, ARB Air Locker, 5.38 gears
  • Rear Axle: Offset Dana 44 from a ’78 Jeep Cherokee Widetrac, Detroit Locker, 5.38 gears


  • Springs & Such: (Front) Spring-over axle with YJ leaves, Daystar greasable shackles, Daystar bumpstops; (rear) spring-under with 31/2-inch YJ BDS leaf springs, Dynatrac U-bolt flip, Currie shackles, Daystar bumps, Rancho shocks
  • Tires & Wheels: 35x12.50 BFG KM2s on 15x8 Champion beadlocks
  • Steering: Power conversion


  • Tom Wood’s drivelines, Herm the OD Guy’s OD shifter, 3/4-inch body lift via Daystar CJ-5 body pucks, boxed frame, Smittybilt roll bar, Warn 8274 winch, custom bumpers, Aqualu aluminum body, 841/2-inch wheelbase, 79 inches tall, 3,600 pounds