My Jeeps

by Jon
(Central Montana)

I've got 2 Jeeps to tell you about today!

One is my '80 CJ5 and my '57 Willys CJ5 project Jeep. Sadly, my tried and true '80 is going to be sold soon. It is a really nice Jeep and will fetch a pretty penny I believe, and my dad needs the money to overcome some financial strains in this dreadful economy. It's hard for me letting it go because it was my first car and we have been through so much together. That Jeep has taken me places nothing else has, and has taken me out of places with a blown radiator a couple of times! It was gifted to me when I was only 13 years old, and I fell in love with it instantly.

The painful part was waiting 2 more years until I could legally drive! Ever since I was a little kid and got my first RC controlled Jeep, I have been a Jeep fanatic. Always been really partial to the flat fenders, but they are hard to come by and would not be very comfortable for a guy my size. My CJ5s are barely tolerable, but I have gotten used to them.

Since owning the '80 it has gotten a custom roll cage made by Throttle Down Kustoms out of Moore Montana, and a super rare Acme hardtop and doors in near mint condition. The top was originally tan, but I painted it black to match the Jeep's color better.

The story on the '57 started out before I even got the '80. You see, dad picked up the '57 when I was around 9 years old I think, and it is in wonderful condition for a 55 year old farm Jeep. There's no through the body rust, just surface rust. It had a hardtop on it so was not full of water at any time, and it was fairly well maintained for a farm truck. The old f-head four ran real good, but started to deteriorate as time went on.

I was originally going to work on it as a project with my dad until the '80 came along. Then there was a curve in the road, and after getting the '80, the old '57 was forgotten until the summer of 2009 when my younger brother came to stay with us for the summer and through dad's suggestion decided to take on the Willys project.

We drug the thing out of the weeds behind the shop and got it running, changed the oil in the engine, as well as the oil in the axles, transmission, and transfer case. It had that nasty whale oil they used back in the day. The stench that put out was staggering, and it was an olive drab green, which is quite a unique color for oil, aint it?

Later on that summer, my dad took the Willys on a short joyride out of town, and was coming down a long hill and managed to get it up to 70 (some guy behind him told him this) and ever since then the tired old motor just never ran right again. The thing only has 5:33 gears and is not made to go over 50mph
topped out. So my brother started pulling the engine out toward the end of summer. By the time that was done it was time for him to head back and live with his mother. So the Jeep project was put away.

Long story short, dad and my brother came to a big dispute about a year later and my brother basically abandoned us as well as the Jeep project. The body and frame were pushed back outside into the weeds, and the disassembled engine was stowed away in the shop.

I graduated in the spring of 2011 and started looking around for something to occupy my free time for the summer. I sighted in on the old Willys and thought to myself "I can't just let that thing rust away, it's too good a Jeep for that!" So I took on the project last summer, removed the body from the frame and that was about it.

I took on a job last summer and was just too busy working to have time to do anything on the Jeep. My plan for it at first was going to restore the old motor, but finances are tight and I happen to have another '57 Willys with a strong running 289 Ford V8, and it is even mated with a Borg Warner splitter box overdrive! This enables the Jeep to be able to travel comfortably at highway speeds, and gives it super low gearing for the trails which I love.

So this coming summer once college lets out, I plan to really hit it hard and get my Willys running. After my '80 is sold I am gonna be Jeepless and don't think I could last long without a Jeep in my life! I am going to box in the frame to handle the power of that V8. The frame on the '57 it is in is cracked in several places because of this.

For the body I am gonna blast it and paint it with truck bedliner. My dad has a '72 Bronco painted with this stuff and it actually makes the metal more durable and the beauty of it is that it cannot be scratched! We have drove the Bronco through dense bushes and it did not scuff the paint, while regular paint would be scratched beyond reasonable doubt if that happened! Not to mention, truck bedliner really makes for a tough, badass looking rig! It also acts as a body sealer to protect against rust, and it is cheaper than paint and can be self applied so no need to pay someone at the body shop. Why it is not more common in the 4x4 scene is beyond me.

I am a member of JeepForum and if anyone is interested in following my build thread on the 57, you can see it here:

If you are not a member of JF I highly recommend joining! That site has saved me loads of money on repairs and also many headaches as well.

That's about all I got to say on my Jeeps, will post pics of the Willys when it is done!

Larry's Comment: Thanks Jon! Looking forward to seeing the final touches on the '57 Willys.

Comments for My Jeeps

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bed paint
by: Kristin K

I was actually considering using Durabak for the exterior of my 85 CJ-7! My brother does autobody & is going to paint it gun-metal gray using normal exterior paint while ripping-out the carpeting & using black Durabak on the interior.
But your post has me thinking about using the Durabak as the exterior paint also!

Does it only come in matte colors or semi-gloss/gloss also? I never really looked into it. It is a great idea as it is made to "protect" your bed & under the body so why wouldn't it be a great product on the exterior? Another question. Did you just sand it down or did you have to primer it also?

I bought my CJ-7 while working in Utah so it is rust-free & I & my Jeep (under "My 1st Jeep with All the Goodies" in the Jeep Girls section of this site) are back where I live in PA & with the road-salt, etc. I want to do what I can to prevent rust taking over!

I actually planned on putting it in storage each winter & only running it in the summer but that wouldn't be any fun!
Thanks for sharing!

by: Anonymous

It does come in a gloss as well as a flat color. On my dad's Bronco the body is a flat forest green color, but when they painted the doors they accidentally put the gloss kind on. I haven't got to the sanding part yet, but I plan to use a sandblaster to do it, because it would take hours to sand off the body by hand! I am not certain, but I don't believe you have to use primer to apply bedliner, but don't quote me on that. Sounds like you got a nice project on your hands! Always wanted a 7 for the space! Having a little more leg room would surely be nice! If I ever get another CJ it will be a 7 for sure.

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