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Carl Whitmore

Carl Whitmore: '48 Willys CJ-2A

Carl WhitmoreI used to wheel my '89 Toyota Xtracab until I realized I had reached the limits of where IFS and a large turning radius could take me. A Jeep was a natural choice, but then the weirdness started. Flat-fenders have always caught my eye. Unfortunately, to make one do what I wanted to do, a complete drivetrain swap was in order. I've always been a Toyota lover, impressed with the durability and reliability of their products. Luck struck in the form of a totaled '84 pickup with an intact drivetrain.

I spotted a '48 Willys CJ-2A in a construction company's storage yard, rotting under a freeway overpass. After a few phone calls, I tracked down the owner and he agreed to sell it. I had a Project!

The buildup went fairly smoothly with some typical parts mating to unusual ones; Wrangler springs over the axles, Saginaw steering, Jeep radiator (the stock one!), Painless Wiring harness, Weber carburetor, custom bumpers, winch plate, rollbar (now full cage). I had small difficulties between the Toyota steering column and the wiring harness. Carl WhitmoreOnce the motor had a valve job, mobility was achieved. Flash forward to Now: After battling severe axle wrap in the rear, I settled on a triangulated three-link setup for the rear suspension with shackles at both ends of the springs and drop bars at the rear. The front retains a typical SOA setup, but with torque leaves-half-length leaves designed to limit axle wrap.

A custom arm on the passenger side steering knuckle allows crossover steering with the drag link up high, out of harm's way. Driveline vibration at the rear got me looking for a high-pinion third member, and I was lucky enough to find one in a junkyard, with Toyota's electric locker, to boot! Advance Adapter's 4:1 transfer case gear set was selected to slow down the off-road maneuvering, and 33" BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires got the axles off the ground.

Like all other Jeeps, this one is never satisfied. Future plans include a front locker, a winch, lower axle gears, and the list goes on and on. This thing has been one of the most enjoyable hobbies I've ever had. It has taken me many places and allowed me to meet new people, many of whom have become good friends. I'm sure it will continue to do so for many years to come.

Find out more about Carl's CJ here

Carl WhitmoreCarl Whitmore

Carl WhitmoreCarl Whitmore

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