On Christmas of 1968 or 1969 my dad gave me a junk jeep with an engine
in the back and a bucket of bolts to assemble it. I was fourteen
or fifteen years old and even then I thought I had the neatest present
ever. As a kid this age I had very little knowledge of how
vehicles worked. After school each evening in an open shelter I
finally got it "running" on Valentines Day. It only ran on three
cylinders because I found out much later that there was a hole under
the bottom of the intake. That jeep was a CJ-2A. The body
was so bad that it soon split in two.
My dad and I went to the White Owl Parts Company, a military vehicle
surplus yard here in Kinston for some parts and out front was a much
better shaped jeep. Pop negotiated with Jerry Hill and we pulled
home another prize. This one had a stuck engine. It took a
long time for this novice to find out that the reason was that someone
had installed the wrong rod caps on the wrong rods. When that
engine finally fired there was very little power and a lot of smoke
causing the plugs to constantly foul.
As we tried to get parts for this one no one had ever heard of a
CJV-35. My dad decided to help me out and had a local garage
rebuild the old engine from the CJ-2A that I had removed again from its
mounts. We then installed it in the odd CJV-35. Now I had something...
without floors or windshield. I found an old split-window
windshield that was too short but altered the mounts enough so that it
"fit" the jeep. You had to duck to see out the windshield but I was
smaller then. Then I began to learn to weld and cut some 1/8"
plates for floors and welded them in. (Pretty)
My three brothers and I played with that jeep for years and eventually
towed it to Wyoming for a summer of construction and adventure. I
even disconnected the generator tensioner and forded a stream in the
Snowy Range. After I brought it back it got parked under a
shelter and has remained until August of 2001. Hurricane Floyd
partially flooded it in the Fall of 1999.
Jacob, my son, has been bitten by the Jeep bug and wanted to get it
running again. After un-sticking two of the wheels we brought it
to our shop next to the house and after working the valves a little she
broke free. Jacob emptied the different reservoirs and refilled
them with oil. In some places oil just ran out. A few weeks
later we got the gas tank patched and cleaned out and drove it
around with no brakes.