An excruciatingly long 24 hours pass before I can see this Jeep… my mind racing with the fun that will soon be had with this Scrambler. So much more room than the CJ-5 and 7s that I had been searching for. This could be a real family fun rig with room for the kids and all of our gear. Never mind that my wife and I haven’t been camping in 15 years and my small children have never been in a tent.
Upon first inspection, I am pleased to see that the Jeep is just as the owner had described. No rust, no filler, nary a dent or scratch, and equipped with a very clean engine swap that looks nearly factory. The two significant, non-factory appearing changes include a set of Hooker Headers with glass-pack mufflers and a 33-gallon fuel tank. All other features of the Jeep are stock and well preserved.
Not having driven a Jeep for decades, I was amazed with the way this Scrambler handled. It got up to 70 mph quickly, drove straight with no wandering and without the choppiness that I remember from my brother’s sainted CJ-5. The long wheel-base really makes a difference on the highway. I will say though that the mud traction Coopers combined with Hooker Headers and the glass-packs exiting ahead of the rear wheels make for a loud highway ride. While test-driving the Scrambler on the highway, an 18-Wheeler passed me and seemed to silently glide past!
Two test-drives later and check in hand, I became the proud new owner of this 1981 Jeep CJ8 Scrambler and 4x4Review has her newest project vehicle.
In the months ahead, 4x4Review will provide coverage of a series of upgrades designed to prepare this Scrambler for use as a family-fun oriented off-roader. The Jeep will not be a hard-core rock-crawler. Rather, this Jeep will be a family rig. It must be safe, reliable, capable and comfortable for a family of four.
Duties will include trail driving and some light duty rock crawling. Being in Texas, it will be expected to travel long distances without riding atop a trailer, and must haul camping gear, recovery gear and other necessities for the family.
Target Trail: This Jeep will be built with a target trail in mind, such as the famous Rubicon trail or Moab, UT. The Jeep will be christened on that very trail with the whole family in Summer, 2010.
So, there you have it friends. The story of a boy, a dream and how a Jeep CJ8 Scrambler can be used to blur the space / time continuum. As we look forward into the future, the 4x4Review team’s newest project vehicle will go through several phases of development beginning first with roadworthiness. Stay tuned for the next article as we have a number of key suppliers involved in helping the Scrambler drive cooler, brake better and stop leaving a Hansel & Gretel trail of oil drops where ever it goes.