Maybe the top heading should read “where da f#@% did I put that bit?!!!”.  This is the most satisfying part of the project, slowly seeing him morph into something like he looked back in 1958.  Certainly worth the blood, sweat and busted knuckles from spanner slips, and I’m probably more excited than the PO when he took delivery from the Willys dealer back when.  I’ve done a few restos over the last 40+ years, but the full frame-off ones give you the best buzz, albeit leaving the bank account a bit dryer than the initial budget plan.  Engineering/painting/electrical work have all been part of my livelihood over the years, from my beginning as an Engineering apprentice in the RAAF at the ripe old age of 15 back in ’66.  My first one was a ’56 FJ Holden (the 225 with the button upholstery) that I bought for $50 with a machinery defect notice.  Sold a year later with a two-tone enamel paint job for $250, but now probably worth $20K+…… that’s why I find it hard to part with any precious metal these days.

Enough rambling… back to Fergus.

Every bearing, oil seal, gasket has been replaced along with engine, transmission and transfer case rebuild.  Bolts replaced with stainless or grade 8.8, new tyres, windscreen glass and body rubbers.  Seats were only metal pans when I got him so I’ve reshaped the cushions in two grades of foam and upholstered in marine vinyl.  I do my own upholstery work since my wife taught me how to feed material through the machine without stitching my fingers to the work.  On the “to do” list is a canvas canopy to resemble the original, complete with straps to the footman loops, not press studs and vinyl like the Bestop ones… I reckon those look a bit like an after-thought, but look OK on later CJs and Wranglers.  He will probably spend most of the time topless though, checking out the topless girlie Jeeps on Flinders Beach.

The pics below show various stages of his assembly, but I am yet to get him registered and road tested.  I’ll get some “pose” photos and videos to post then…

Dons-Jeep-Garage-1958-cj5-01      IMG_1101

IMG_1070      IMG_1087

IMG_1071      IMG_1041

IMG_1022      IMG_1047

IMG_1073      IMG_1049

IMG_1104      IMG_1218

OK… so I took him for a spin around the block and top gear sounded like a lawn mower that had run over a pile of rocks.  As I don’t have a hoist to whip the box back out, but hoping that Santa will be kind next Christmas when I finish the shed extension, it was up to (the infamous) Moss Street to see Dick Ralston to get it sorted for me.  Job done.

Next thing #1- Fit the Solex, #2- Fit the electric wipers, #3 – Get him registered, #4 – Organize insurance

The Solex – Bolted up OK, but the stock throttle lever relied on the linkages coming over the top of the rocker cover and the RH conversion linkages worked from below on the right hand side of the block.  The lever needed to move upwards under throttle, so I had to weld a small piece onto the lever to reposition the locating pin.  The Solex also need a pressure reducing valve to be fitted, so a new set of lines had to be bent up to suit.

IMG_1316  IMG_1317  IMG_1319

Windscreen wipers – The after-market electrical ones bolt straight into the Vac mounting holes, so run some wires, in parallel, to the two units and down to a switch… piece of cake!  Test ’em… they work, so bind up the loom and track it through the original vac clips around the windscreen frame, through the outer panel and fire wall… done!  Fit the blades in the park position and do a test run.  They run out of sequence with one a bit slower than the other, so power off…. but they don’t stop… what the &%$#!  They finally switch off in the park position after about 3 minutes when the sequence of the two different speeds match in stroke positions?????

After a pee and a cup of tea, my grey matter kicked in. They are under constant power to hold the blades in the park position, right?  The “S” connection runs 12v to earth through the switch, right?  So because the sweep was out of sync, one was trying to switch off but still getting power in the park position from the other one because they were wired together… dumb-ass.  Solution – a double pole switch or separate switches for each motor.  I did the joint between the two at the top of the windscreen and needed to run another wire…. so cut out the nice job of the original loom binding and conduit and start again.


Before I did the wiring loom on Fergus, I drew up a schematic of the circuits.  I’m a bit ferral about circuit protection so “THE DON” theory on wiring; main feeds through circuit breakers, then relays for heavy current, and individual blade fuses for each component to make potential fault finding a bit easier. I made up a swing-down circuit board under the dash to keep all the bits in one place and also save the neck cramps when working on it.  The electric wipers, plus a windscreen washer pump, weren’t considered in my initial plan so I had to use an in-line fuse there, bugger, it was all looking neat before that.  The windscreen washers will be good to spritz the faces of any passengers on a hot day, when the ventilating windscreen is open.

Rego – Roadworthy certificate done!  Next get a third party certificate on-line from Suncorp.  Hit a road block when it asked for the body “type”.  Roadworthy certificate called it an “open tub”.  Phoned Suncorp and the lady said there is no such thing as an open tub, you’ll have to ring the Transport Department for a description.  Transport department said it can only either be a wagon (but it had no doors), a van (but it had seating for 4), a truck (but it couldn’t carry goods), or a convertible (but it wasn’t a pink Cadillac)…. hold on, I will check with my supervisor. He came back and said call it a “soft-top”, but ring Vehicle Standards Department to confirm first.  Vehicle Standards did not get to work till 10 o’clock and when I got through to them the bloke said “yer, soft top sounds right, see ya”.  So back to Suncorp, got a different geezer and told him it was a “Convertible”.  Third party certificate done!  Back to the roadworthy place to get the certificate redone because you don’t want to front up at the Motor Registry with two bits of paper that don’t match…. Fergus now legal to drive on the road.

Insurance – Still waiting…. the broker told me the first company he tried (Allianz) didn’t want to know about it.  Insurance Update…. Shannons classic car insurance want me… got all 7 vehicles/bike full comprehensive insurance for about $200 more than I’m paying for comprehensive on the MX5 and third property only the Monaro and MGA. They even accepted the GPW and Fuggly for agreed value as projects.  Sooweet!

So here he is waiting for his first cruise down the freeway…….


Just found an oil leak… transfer case, front yoke. This happened when I did the first install but fixed it with some gasket goo under the big washer.  Dick must have missed that when he refitted the transmission.  It looks like it is leaking through the keyway or threads…. the seal is new around the yoke.  I tried to get mainly OEM or NOS parts for the rebuild because the Punjabe, Mahindra repo bits can sometimes be a bit ho-hum.