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Old 23rd August 2012, 14:13   #1
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Default Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

It all began early last year.

I had redone my '59 Ambassador a couple of months before and had told my mechanic to keep an eye out for engines or parts that might come in handy so that we could pick them up cheap and stockpile for the future. I remember I was out of the country and my mechanic had taken the Amby to get some door work done and then emailed me this picture and asked me to call him back.


Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys-1.jpg


When I call him back he tells me he's chanced upon this old Willys jeep that some MLA used for campaigning and now has no place for it so has junked it. He tells me it has an 1800 Isuzu engine and 5 speed gearbox which exactly what I have in my Amby and asked if I wanted to buy the jeep.


Now, I was never a jeep person. My Dad was in the army and while I was growing up, we always had a Jonga. If this had been a Jonga, I would have asked him to start negotiations then and there, not for it's off-road capabilities but because there was a sentimental value attached to it and am sure my Dad would have enjoyed being driven in one again. But this was an old Willys. It was a high bonnet. It didn't look cool like some of the old Ford and Willys low-bonnets that some friends had. It didn't look as butch as some of the Kaisers and Mahindra MM540 customised jeeps that I had seen on the road. One's taste is subjective, I would imagine and this just didn't appeal to me. The engine and gearbox were in good nick was what I was informed and that was all that I wanted.


I asked my mechanic if he could get the engine and gearbox only and he replied in the affirmative. He said he would get me what I wanted and he would buy the rest and sell it as scrap to other jeep mechanics who needed body panels. Seemed like a good deal to me and I told him I would come check when I got back.


Two weeks later, I went to see him and saw this.
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Old 23rd August 2012, 17:40   #2
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

... continuing where I left off earlier.....

Two weeks later, I went back and saw this.


Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys-2.jpg

Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys-3.jpg

Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys-4.jpg

Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys-5.jpg

Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys-6.jpg



Everything had been removed from the jeep. Other than the roll bars which he had, the rest of the stuff was gone to who ever needed it. The paint had been removed so that body panels and the bonnet could be sold off to whoever wanted it. The engine was still in the jeep and was started. It didn't sound as smooth as what I had in the Amby but it didn't sound half bad. Seemed this was going to turn into a good deal.


I don't know what made me look at that carcass again. But I did. It didn't look half bad. I wondered what it would look if it was done up. I asked myself if I even wanted a jeep. I never offroaded in my life. It's hot in Hyderabad for most parts of the year, did I want something that was fun to drive with no top? I like cars. I like the comfort. I like the safety. I love driving to music. What was I going to do with a jeep?


Told Riaz (the mech) not to break it up just yet. He looked at me like I had gone mad. I asked him to hold on to it for a little while. I came back home and TBHP'd myself into a coma. 4x4 threads, Jeep threads, Offroading threads - everything. I googled. I went through tons of jeep images. I called friends who had jeeps and told them I found an old one and was thinking of doing it up. They all told me not to waste time with a 2x4 and if I really wanted a jeep, they could put me on to some that were 'real' jeeps.


Then, I read on a thread here, I don't remember which one, a line that made my mind up for me - 'Jeeps aren't bought, they're built'.


I wanted it. I had no clue about offroading, my mind said. I could learn, I thought back. I just spent a bomb on the Amby, what am I doing plonking more money into another vehicle, that too one I had no clue about, my mind said. I didn't have to get it done in two months, I could take my own sweet time doing it up as and when I wanted to and spend that time learning more, I thought back.


I am a bit soft for old cars, this was one was 46 years old. I thought of all the jokes directed towards me and my Amby over the years by well-meaning friends and thought of how much more ammo I would be giving them if I decided to go ahead with this jeep. I liked the idea of that. While they cracked jokes I could drive over their feet. Or over their hot hatches.


Went and met Riaz the next morning on the way to work. Told him I had decided I wanted this jeep. He looked at me again like I had taken leave of my senses. 'Boss, dabba hai' he said (Boss, it's junk). 'Isme 4x4 nahi hai' (There's no 4x4). 'Chaihye toh aur acha jeep dhoondke detoon' (if you want I'll find you a nice jeep). So on and so forth till I told him that this is the one I wanted. End of story.


Paid him what was agreed upon for the engine/gearbox and whatever he paid extra for the rest of the jeep. Ended up spending 35K. What was that going to matter in a couple of years? Figured I wouldn't do much on it right away. Would make it look presentable. Would make it roadworthy. Would get used to owning and driving a jeep. Then, I would use all the information and help I could get by the legendary Jeep gurus here and turn this into a capable offroader with all the bells and whistles.


But that is for another time.


Right now am glad to say that the jeep is almost ready. Like a battered body that was about to die, it's had corrective surgery and will slowly be going through physiotherapy. I am a huge TV show addict and have decided to call the jeep Jack. This could mean his last name was Sheppard. Or Bauer. Or Reacher. Those who know those characters will know what I'm talking about.


I do not have too many pics of the work done and will post pics of the jeep once I get it back next Tuesday.


Would request the veteran jeepers here to encourage me on what to do next. It will not be in a hurry but would love to hear suggestions, tips and advise on how to turn this little 2x4 into something that would eat dirt.
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Old 23rd August 2012, 19:33   #3
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Mods : Request this thread be moved to 4x4 Vehicles section. Am here looking for advice and it would be more forthcoming there.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 23rd August 2012, 23:20   #4
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Congratulations! The JEEP is nothing but the legendary CJ3B and you will never regret your decision to restore a Jeep, whether a 2X4 or 4X4. Don't sure, but I suspect that it was converted into a right hand drive, from the odd positioning of the gauges. Please contact UB sir or Behram Sir for guidance in restoring him.
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Old 23rd August 2012, 23:54   #5
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Yes Ashley, this was an LHD that has been converted. It has welding done where the holes for the pedals used to be on the left side. All this has happened before I got the vehicle for which I am glad, I don't think I could ever really enjoy driving an LHD on Hyderabad's roads.

Am a newbie so cannot send PMs yet and when I can I will be sure to contact the big boys. Also I am based in Hyderabad, there are quite a few gurus hopefully just a phone call away.

Thanks for your wishes
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:38   #6
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Congrats Gautam Bhai for getting this in your stable. Eagerly awaiting to see the WIP Pics of Jack. Hope Amby would still be your regular ride. I still envy your Amby and would like to show it to people and tell them, this is how Amby has to be maintained. All due respect to you Gautam.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:28   #7
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Congrats Gautham Sir.

from my child hood i was in a dilemma in owning a jeep searched for couple of them but in Vien was not able to pick any one. Last month there was one but was not able to pick that one due to some financial emergency and now its not there.

can you tell your mechanic to have a look around for a nice one even i am happy to restore it. but it should be complete.

once again congrats on the Willy
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:31   #8
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Quote:
Originally Posted by traveloholic View Post
Congrats Gautam Bhai for getting this in your stable. Eagerly awaiting to see the WIP Pics of Jack. Hope Amby would still be your regular ride. I still envy your Amby and would like to show it to people and tell them, this is how Amby has to be maintained. All due respect to you Gautam.

Hey Nikhil, thanks for the high praise. The Amby is my real pride and joy, irrespective of what other cars I own now or will in the future. It's not a regular ride anymore, I have a Baleno that's my daily drive. The Amby is more a weekend treat. It used to be the only car I drove till about a year and a half ago but now it stays pampered and driven sparingly.

Sorry, I don't have any WIP pics for the Willys. At this point all the work done on it is mostly cosmetic and just to get the vehicle roadworthy. Once I begin to turn this into a proper 4x4 you can be sure there will be pics documenting every step of the build.

Hope to bump into you soon at the next meet whenever that is
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Old 24th August 2012, 16:01   #9
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

All I will say at this stage, is that this is not money spent or wasted; this is an INVESTMENT!
I will be keenly watching the developments here. Congratulations.
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Old 24th August 2012, 16:17   #10
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

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Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
All I will say at this stage, is that this is not money spent or wasted; this is an INVESTMENT!
I will be keenly watching the developments here. Congratulations.

Thanks Roy.

I hear ya! Money spent, yes! Wasted? Never. Money come, money go. What it did for you while it went is what matters.

Love your display pic. If all goes well and according to plan I'll have one of the Willys just like it. So tell me, is the Gurkha all that it's made out to be? My Dad was in the army with the 8th Gurkhas and having grown up around them I can tell you they're the toughest things on 2 legs. Much like your ride, small in size (if I can call your Gurkha small), benign to a fault mostly but when prodded turn completely mental (in a Chuck Norris sort of way).

Am new to the jeep world and I'm like the En Vogue song, my mind is free and the rest will follow. I think its amazing at my age when you discover something that you have no clue about that will give you so much fun. will try and update as much as I can as often as I can. As I mentioned, I do not have any WIP pics worth sharing so will start off with pics of the jeep when I have it back. And take it from there
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Old 24th August 2012, 16:48   #11
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Congrats on your latest acquisition! Your decision to build a 4x4 Jeep from the grounds up is commendable.

I hope you get to restore it at a much better pace that what I've managed so far with my 540 4WD. It's been 'undergoing restoration' (which means lying in the workshop untouched) for over a year now.

All the best. I sure hope you know what you're getting yourself into. It'll all be worth it in the end, no question about that .

Last edited by coloneljasi : 24th August 2012 at 16:51.
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Old 24th August 2012, 19:08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G_AmbyMad

Thanks Roy.

I hear ya! Money spent, yes! Wasted? Never. Money come, money go. What it did for you while it went is what matters.

Love your display pic. If all goes well and according to plan I'll have one of the Willys just like it. So tell me, is the Gurkha all that it's made out to be?
Thanks.
I will not turn this thread towards the Gurkha.
The 3B is a very special vehicle and so is the Gurkha but for very different reasons.
We are here to see the restoration and transformation story, so get on with that.
You might just find the method behind the madness they call off roading.
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Old 24th August 2012, 19:24   #13
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

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Congrats on your latest acquisition! Your decision to build a 4x4 Jeep from the grounds up is commendable.

I hope you get to restore it at a much better pace that what I've managed so far with my 540 4WD. It's been 'undergoing restoration' (which means lying in the workshop untouched) for over a year now.

All the best. I sure hope you know what you're getting yourself into. It'll all be worth it in the end, no question about that .

Thanks Col'saab. Am going to take some time first to get used to the jeep and only then get down to doing it up. I've got another acquisition lined up (not a 4x4 but the fulfilling of yet another boyhood dream, more on that later) so that's going to eat into the Vitamin M for a bit. Am in no hurry, will take it nice and easy. I hope you get yours back on track soon.
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Old 24th August 2012, 19:47   #14
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

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Originally Posted by SPEEDY_RACER View Post
Congrats Gautham Sir.

from my child hood i was in a dilemma in owning a jeep searched for couple of them but in Vien was not able to pick any one. Last month there was one but was not able to pick that one due to some financial emergency and now its not there.

can you tell your mechanic to have a look around for a nice one even i am happy to restore it. but it should be complete.

once again congrats on the Willy

Thanks Speedy. Am guessing good jeeps are hard to come by but will keep my eyes open for one.
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Old 24th August 2012, 20:28   #15
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Default Re: Coming back to life - an apt song for a junked 1965 Willys

Dear Gautam (G Amby Mad) - you are very lucky, you have picked up my dream. This is a true blue CJ3BLHD, the Jeep that I always loved and always wanted. The bodyline is fantastic, just see the first picture. The conversion, especially the brake booster etc is all worthless junk which must be thrown away. Best of luck with a good restoration. DKG and Fazal are in Hyderabad only, please go and meet them for guidance. I shall also guide you in totality. Hyderabad is one of the best places in India to restore a Jeep.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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