Wednesday, June 3, 2015

goodbye beetle; hello fj40

Several weeks ago, I decided that I was going to sell Casper and start looking for something that I might be able to drive through the winter. The Ural served me well this year and I was able to ride everyday this year due to my little 3 wheeled "bug-out" mobile. That said, it was a cold long winter and I honestly got a little sick of budding up each morning and afternoon/night to make the journey to and from work. I could have driven the Beetle, but honestly, I just felt guilty driving it in the winter. When Eric got the car it was "dry" and probably the only rust free Beetle that I had ever seen at that time. It took a bit of a beating with him parking it on the streets in Chicago, but overall after I bought it from him, it pretty much sat in or outside the garage during the nice months. It just wasn't seeing use and after selling the single cab and not having Eric to chat about VW's to keep me hooked, I found myself ready to part ways with Casper. I was thinking that I could get the rest of my '67 hotrod up here and the cash would give me an opportunity to finish the hot rod properly. I placed the Beetle on Craigslist and within a few days I was getting the typical Craigslist emails with questions but no follow through. The add ran it's course and then I resisted it. This time I posted that I might consider an interesting trade. 

Jill and I had a couple little Suzuki Samurai's when we were first dating and later after we were married. We used to drive all over the place in those things and so I found myself craving something I could drive in the winter and something that we could cruise with the kids in. In keeping in line with the Ural utility spirit, I started looking at old Land Rovers and Land Cuisers. A vintage Land Rover just isn't in my price range and after looking at a few Land Cruisers I was thinking that might be out of my league as well. These things are fetching some decent prices if they are rust free. I remembered my Dad mentioning what "tanks" these things are and I thought it might be cool to own one.

I ended posting that I was looking for an FJ40 on my add and low and behold I get contacts by a guy who wants to parts ways with his FJ project and it looking for a Beetle.What are the chances? I figure this is a Craigslist deal that is going to fall through as it's just too good to be true. I communicate with the buyer via text for a little over a week and eventually we settle on a day for me to deliver the Beetle and for me to pick up the FJ. 

I get to his place, unload the Beetle and then he and I hoist the 1975 FJ40 onto the trailer. I drove it home and then dumped it in my garage. It took Jill and Noah for me to be able to get this tank into the garage. The previous owner reconstructed the rusted out rear tub in quality 11 ga. Oshkosh Truck galvanized steel sheet (Oshkosh warrantees their sheetmetal for 22 years). It came with a Chevy 327 conversion with rebuild receipts, tons of documentation on a previous restoration in the 80's. The stock set of wheels as well as aftermarket wheels and tires, extra ambulance doors, extra fiberglass top, extra passenger and driver doors, extra glass, extra window seals, both fold up side seats, a bench seat, console, extra hood, extra front quarters, and all of the old sheetmetal that was replaced but still good. Needles to say it was "stuffed to the gills" on the drive home. It looks rough but most all of the sheetmvetal work has been completed. I needed to drill all of the mounts for the roll bar and seat since everything had been replaced, but that didn't seem like a huge deal. It sat in the garage for several days as I had work and lectures to give, but I figured I would get to it this week after things died down. I figured this would make for a fun project vehicle as long as I can get engine, brakes, paint sorted and know that the axles, trans, and transfer case function properly. Time will tell as I dig into this.

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