New Project: 1952 Willys Jeep

Lately I’ve been craving a project that can get my creative juices going, something that doesn’t involve computers, networks, or pretty much anything overly software-oriented. In fact, I need something that’s going to take my mind off of anything remotely related to that stuff, take me out of the work mindset.

Ever since I was a kid I wanted to rebuild/restore a car. The problem? As a Navy brat we never lived anywhere long enough to actually start a project with the reasonable expectation of finishing.

The other problem? I know next-to-nothing about cars. Seriously. I’m a total noob.

I do, however, have a total thirst to learn; I’m a sponge. In fact, I’ve spent several hours reading about restoring cars (especially old Jeeps). Anything I can get my hands (or web browsers) on, I’m there. Any advice I’m given, I’m taking.

For about 3 months now I’ve been looking for a project car. I thought about restoring a ’69 Camaro RS/SS (just like the one in Better Off Dead, or like this one), but realized that was probably way above my payscale. And if that weren’t too difficult, then the ‘65 Cobra Kit car was right out!

So, having owned a 1991 Jeep Wranger (and loved it), I’ve had some experience with the LEGO-like nature of the car, and thought it might be a great starting point. I noticed, for instance, that you can pretty much build an entire Jeep with parts from a magazine catalogue if you wished.

For the past 3 months or so I’ve been looking at Jeeps that might qualify. I was looking for something that might actually be running, perhaps not a “frame-off” restoration (though I thought that would be cool too). In general something that was worth restoring.

The day after Christmas, 2011, I found what I was looking for, for the price I was willing to consider.

Is it beautiful? No. But then that wasn’t exactly the point. It is, however, in good enough nick that I should be able to keep as much of the original pieces as possible, though. It will be a frame-off restoration, but as I think more about it I believe that it will ultimately be much, much better for it. I don’t want to cover up rust issues; I want to fix and prolong the life for as long as possible.

So, without further ado, here are the photos of the Jeep that I’ll be cutting my teeth on.

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3 Comments

  • Howard Marks January 2, 2012 at 15:08

    Have fun J. And good luck. My project car (1981 BMW 633i) tried to kill me on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway when the rear calipers stayed deployed and I boiled the brake fluid. by the time I got off the elevated highway (w just the handbrake) and stopped the disks were glowing bright red.

    Reply
    • J Michel Metz January 2, 2012 at 15:13

      Yikes!!

      I’m going to make sure that I do a *lot* of checking with people who actually know what they’re doing to make sure I don’t make any deadly mistakes. I’m planning on checking and re-checking at every reasonable point to ask people for looking over my work, especially when it comes to the engine, brakes, and electrical to be sure. The scenario you describe is definitely the one I’m going to aim to avoid.

      Reply
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