I have noticed a trend forming, people want to drive a cool old stock Jeep. A lot of these people have rock crawlers but they want something stock. They wouldn't necessarily drive it to work, but maybe after work and on weekends they aren't off on some hardcore trail. I plan on a few of these builds, but this is the first.
The only before pics I have are of the chassis. That's how I bought it. I brought the complete chassis directly to the blasters, motor, trans, axles and all. I'll snap a couple pics of the original tub so you can see why we decided to replace it.
When I bought the Jeep, it only had 3 of those cool tires on it. I searched high and low, but could not source a fourth. The original wheels wouldn't fit with the disc brakes anyway so new wheels and tires were purchased.
Here are the only three pics I have of the chassis before we tore it down. If you click on them, you can see them in full size.
As with your other builds, I will be watching. My next-door neighbor has an original (he was the original owner) '66 CJ5 V6. He said he owned if for a year before he could afford to buy the heater for it...:Wow1:
Their simplicity is so timeless and appealing. I told him that when the time comes, I want it.
This build isn't going to be very involved, after all, it's a simple Jeep. Probably one of the easiest restoration projects out there. Maybe an Austin Healey Sprite would be easier. We've only had a couple weeks of hands on work and the thing is about 60% done.
As stated earlier, this is a 1974 CJ. It is from the early AMC era when things were in flux. Not only were the manufaturing processes and design heavily altered during this changeover, but the style itself and associated image or brand was being tinkered with. The earliest of Jeeps, we can all agree, were military influenced and purpose built for rough environments with minimal parts and light weight. The second iteration came after WWII when Jeep needed to figure out how to sell them to civilians. Ranchers and farmers were the primary target. Then came the lifestyle era where Jeep marketed the CJ as it was now called to the weekend warrior. During this time, the average weekender was very rugged and willing to go places and do things that seemed like pioneering. I wish I lived back then...
This Jeep comes into a new era where Jeep started marketing with beer and bikini clad coeds hanging off the roll bar. Graphics were added and invariably, there was a beachball involved.
Which brings me to my dilemna. The replacement body that we purchased, although of the same year, has no tailgate, while the one we replaced had a tailgate. I am torn. Should I modify the tub and add the tailgate? My mind is already made up, and we're going to mod the body. But as this Jeep will be for sale, it's a risk that may not pay off.
So now to the actual build. We started with a pile of junk and another pile of new parts. I usually mock up as I go along to avoid surprises. Here is the chassis being disassembled and inspected while the front disc brake conversion is being mocked up.
The chassis was completely stripped down and then inspected for cracks, etc. I put the frame up on my large welding table to do the work and found so many cracks and twists it was almost worth throwing away. But I had time and no money...
The frame was twisted about 4 inches from one end to the other and two of the crossmembers were completely separated at one end. After much heating, cutting, pounding, welding, grinding it was finally straight and sound. I even took some time to reinforce the frame in the commonly known weak areas and fully welded the crossmembers and all the bracketry. Care must be taken if you don't want it to LOOK modified.