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Friday, November 25, 2016

Josh's Antique 1980 Jeep CJ7 Goes From a Barn in Alabama - To A Full Frame Off Restoration

Dr Josh Gross - car builder

1980 Jeep CJ7 - 304 V8 - 4 speed - dual exhaust
New Jeep license and title

I meet Josh at a party about 10 years ago. We had a lot in common. Our wives are library science professors at FSU - we are trailing spice. We love rhythm and blues music - weird cars - and gadgets. Josh's real job at Florida State is a psychologist. He serves students every day. 

Josh has always talked about getting a Jeep CJ some day. He scans the Craigslist pages constantly. One day he listed a tractor for sale. No one wanted to buy it - but one guy offered a trade. So Josh ended up with a Polaris ATV - sort of a Jeep but not legal on Florida roads. After playing around with that - and trying to sell it - he tried a different angle. He offered the Polaris as a trade for a Jeep CJ. 

A guy in Alabama said he had a running Jeep sitting in his barn that came with the property - it did not have paper work. Of course I warned Josh many times about getting stuck with an un-registerable vehicle. I warned him that he might be buying stolen property. But Josh took the risk. 

This 1980 CJ7 Jeep is a rare bird. It has the stock 304 V8 engine in it. It also has the 4 speed transmission and stock dual exhaust. It has a little bit of rust - but nothing that can't be repaired. The frame is rock solid. The Jeep spent most of its years in Louisiana and then later Alabama. Now it is a Florida car.

Josh got a bill of sale and an old registration card in the glove box. He called to Montgomery and found a nice lady in the DMV who did a little computer search. The Jeep was legit and registered recently. He had the local police examine it and take the numbers. Josh took the letter from the police and the letter from the Alabama DMV to the Florida Tag Office. Wednesday - I got a single solitary picture from Josh of the new license plate and title. Mission Accomplished.

A company called in St Augustine specializes in frame off restoration of Jeeps. If I heard correctly - it is going to cost about $7000 for a complete makeover. All new seats - dashboard - body work - paint - tires - wheels - belts - hoses - wires - etc. Josh is going round and round about what color it will be. He has a chart of the original paint colors for 1980. I liked tan. 

In Florida - if a car it 30 years old - it can be registered as an antique. 

Josh and Melissa live on a private lake just 20 miles north of Tallahassee. I am guessing this Jeep will have a spot under their carport for a long time. 

This antique CJ7 is going to in St Augustine
and will receive a frame off restoration -
these are the "before" pictures
The barn find - has the stock 304 V8 engine - 4 speed -
and all numbers match - body - engine - transmission
It will get news seats - new dashboard - new paint -
new wheels - new tires
AMC 304 V8 engine - 125 horsepower
Jeep currently sits in Josh's car port - but soon will haul it to St Augustine
for a full frame off restoration

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