I have been into Jeeps and offroading since I was about 22. My first Jeep was a maroon 1981 CJ5 that I purchased from my father when he no longer cared to climb up into it. After a few years and a few thousand dollars later I regretfully sold it.
Took a couple years to focus on hot rods but got the Jeep bug again when a customer came into the liquor store that was willing to sell his 1980 CJ5. He came in a little too drunk one night and I was able to secure a $2800 price tag. I was so happy to have another one
Used it as a daily driver for a couple years until I was told of a mudrace in a neighboring town. I was terribly naive when I showed up to the race and decided that I could compete with the big dogs. I entered the 44 inch tire unlimited class with a vehicle sporting 33 inch mud terrains and a stock 304 v8. By luck I drew the very first run and embarrassingly failed to even make it out of the pit, getting stuck less than a foot from the tape.
This is where my stupidity got me into trouble. I decided what I needed was more power and that couldn't have been further from the truth. I pulled the engine the very next weekend and began ordering parts to install a chevy engine. Bought an engine that is probably worthless and is still sitting on an engine stand today. Also got a bellhousing, new clutch, motor mounts, headers, and basically spent $2500 dollars or so that I still haven't got any use out of.
The mounts didn't work with the transmission I had and after inspecting the completely rusted out frame I decided that the Jeep was no longer worth my time. So it sat, and sat some more. It was an unusual time in my life where I was more interested in snorting coke and courting every pretty girl I thought I could bag. While I wasted time and took years off my life the Jeep slowly filled with leaves in the yard
Fast forward 4 years and I'm out of the liquor business and onto an actual job. A couple friends of mine had heard of a wheeling spot in Arkansas and asked if I could get the jeep back together in time to make it. After all the months sitting I had it back running and driving in nine days.
After having a great time in Devils Den we found a new spot, Disney, Oklahoma. This place has trails for the most basic 4x4 to the tallest rocks you could ever hope to drive up. Not too mention it's half the distance away. Watching what a real offroad vehicle was capable of I set out to make mine more formidable.
I ordered a set of 35x10.50 Super Swamper Boggers, a winch, 4.88 gears, a spool for the rear axle and a locker for the front along with chrome moly axle shafts throughout to handle the size and weight of the tires(72lbs each). First trip back I broke the driveshaft going through a deep pool within a few hours of being there but in the short time I wheeled I could tell all the hard miles I'd driven had taken a toll on my old 304.
A new engine was in order and this is where this build begins. The plan is to freshen a larger 360amc engine, replace the transmission with one more suited for crawling and to possibly stretch the wheelbase to better handle the rocks. Not sure if wheelbase stretch will happen or not tbh.
I plan to detail the build in this thread and update as often as possible. If anyone has any questions or critiques I'll try my best to answer them. Hopefully this project turns out as good as the potential it has