My old ’81 Cherokee Chief, aka “The Chevvy”, had seen better days with many trips to Fraser, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, tinny on top, loaded with outboard motor, fuel and supplies in the back, as well as a Jayco caravan in tow. As my wife’s shopping wheels and school bus, it was showing the signs of age with rust coming through in all the usual places. At the time, transport inspectors were getting active in our area, writing out defect notices, so I decided to take him off the road and sort out repairs sometime down the track. Time flies, so Chevvy sat and deteriorated somewhat more and, wondering what to do with him because values on those old FSJs were like zilch, I got the brilliant idea of importing a LH drive “Townside” J10 Long-bed from the States and use all the RH components to convert it.
J20s were imported to Australia in the late ’70s and through the ’80s, mainly as cab/chassis and the J10 title was given to the Australian CJ trucks. At the time they were know as J10s because of the badging, Christmas treed from the USA parts department… typical Oz Jeep thinking!
Enter jeeptruck.com… After a few months I found one that looked good and following a phone call to convince the seller (aka “Buckshot” Genderon) this was not a Nigerian scam, the deal was done and “Jethro” was shipped to Oz.
He turned out to be a goodun and I couldn’t wait to get the spanners out.
Lifting up the floor mat, not a bit of rust to be found. Paintwork was tired, wiring was a bit dodgy under the hood, it had a bench seat out of a ’53 Oldsmobile or something and the front chassis rails were a little bit butchered for fitment of a winch bar, but there was nothing too seriously wrong!
Next step was to load him up to transport to our workshop for blasting and painting, figuring I would do the assembly back home in my shed.
Chassis and body parts were blasted with the only rust (or lead filler) found in a couple of small holes in the turret.
Prior to painting, I sorted out the firewall to mirror the Australian conversion of the Chief. First step was the undersides of the cab and bed, blasted, primed, coated with about 2-3mm of Polyurea elastomer and finished in two pack poly body colour.
Topsides of the panels, dash parts, chassis and axles then painted. The cream colour is primer only.
A few additions/modifications were done. Bar to take a rotating beacon for when I take him on construction sites, a rear bumper and tow hitch fabricated, and a front winch mount detailed into a factory front bumper courtesy of the Chief.
“Work” work has taken precedence over my rebuild for the last few years, meanwhile Jethro is waiting patiently to be finished….. oh! and I picked up an XJ from the damaged auctions with a tight 4.o EFI engine for a cupla bucks, so Jethro might see an engine swap and auto tranny when I get back to him.