- Reader Emails: 1946 Willys CJ2A, Bronco II to Ranger Conversion, 1978 Ford F-150 Daily Driver, and More
Reader Emails: 1946 Willys CJ2A, Bronco II to Ranger Conversion, 1978 Ford F-150 Daily Driver, and More
Four Wheeler readers share their thoughts, memories, and opinions.
This Is Betty
Well, here we are with our 1946 Willys-Overland CJ2A in Moab. We have been to Moab twice and once to the Flatfender Fall Colors event in Colorado. So I thought I would drop you a line. We have two 1946 CJ2As. One I have had since 1972, "Old Red," my beater. The one in the photo is Betty, that is what my wife named it. Got it four years ago. The wife found it. She dragged me out to look at it, just had to have it. So we bought it and became personal friends with Kaiser Willys. You know the story.
Everything is manual, comfort is one step above a covered wagon. It's fun to drive. Don't have to worry much about anyone stealing it—they wouldn't know how start it or drive it. We drive it about once or twice a week.
The wife has her own windshield wiper—driver side is vacuum operated, and the passenger side is manual. Hey, but it has a soft top and a heater. When you only have 60 hp, you have to plan your trip, but we have done a lot of off-road with it. It's not a rockcrawler, and you have to be careful if you start getting too far off camber.
When we went to Colorado for the Flatfender Fall Colors run, we had traffic stopped. People were stopping to take pictures. Just think, when was the last time you saw 50-plus flatfenders all lined up going down the road? We get a lot of high-fives when we are out on weekends. How many high-fives do you get in your Rubicon?
The Jeep Wave? Us old iron guys know what that is. But you have to be careful waving back. Taking a hand off the steering wheel can be risky.
Always love seeing the latest mag in my mailbox and finally decided to send my truck in. It's been a 10-year project, but man, did it pay off. It started as a very beat Ford Bronco II I got for a few hundred bucks with a blown automatic transmission. Got it going and drove it like that for a few months and then swapped it to a five-speed. Ended up putting a Dana 30 and leaf springs under the front a year later, but that didn't last long. Now it's sitting on Ford Super Duty axles, a Dana 50 and Sterling 10.5, locked front and rear. It's got a three-link front suspension (courtesy of Barnes 4WD) with 14-inch-travel, 2.5-inch coilovers. The rear has 6-inch Skyjacker leaf springs and oversize shackles. It has 39x12.50R17 Kanati Mud Hogs, which do surprisingly well in everything I've taken them through. I swapped the tired 2.9L out for a junkyard 351W and added a Comp Cams Xtreme 4x4 cam along with a Holley Truck Avenger 670 carb, eBay shorty headers, and an HEI distributor with an Intellitronix ignition box on the side. Soon I will be ready to swap the C6 trans and NP208 T-case out for my T19 and NP205 to really get some use out of the power. Right now I'm also working on an exocage to protect my investment in case of a rollover. It's a never-ending project, but it will be done one day! Copper Crawler is the name of the truck. Forgot to say the Bronco II body was swapped out for a 2WD Ford Ranger cab.
Pair of Classics
Just read your article on older 4x4s, and I've got to agree entirely. My truck is 28 years old (with an older 350 and TH350 trans, LOL) and is driven daily all over Oregon. The 1995 YJ is one I built for my wife. We also have a 1970 CJ-5 with the original Dauntless six in it that I'm doing a frame off on.
I just finished reading you Firing Order story on older vehicles (Nov. '20). I'm glad to see that there are other people that not only admire older vehicles, but actually use them as primary vehicles. Bravo! I attached a picture of my 1978 F-150 that I bought in 2002 to use as a daily driver to work. It had been somewhat restored in 1996 and was a one-owner vehicle sold by a retired dentist. I enjoy working through the nuances of the mechanics of the truck such as a (gasp) carburetor as you stated. The truck has been on a couple of 800-mile journeys (one-way) from Montana to Colorado with only one issue. It needed a voltage regulator. Thank you for bringing older vehicles to the limelight!