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Old 12th November 2010, 18:45   #1
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Smile MM550 Jeep Restored

Hey guys, I'm from Bangalore and I would like to tell you a story of my jeep life up until today.

The journey has been a long and arduous one, but nevertheless a fruitful and enriching experience.

Just to introduce myself...I've been driving a jeep for the last 21 years, my first being a 1951 Willys CJ and the story moves from one jeep to another, and today I own three, 2 of them on the road and 1 which is undergoing restoration. Out of the 2 one is my fav, a 1996 MM540 DP. This is the one I use most often for my trips from B'lore to Ooty. It's a true pleasure driving this and I will not for anything part with it. I've got pics of this and I've posted them below...let me know what you guys think...PS I'm looking for an additional 4wd electronic gearbox to fit on to the newly fitted Scorpio 5-speed gearbox and would be open to any reviews, comments, suggestions from anyone.

The next is an ex-army 550 XD3P (pics posted also), which I've restored in complete down to brass tacks. It was an endeavor from the time I picked it up from the auctioner in Madras up until today. This is my story of getting my hands on the most talked of jeep, the MM550, going through the restoration, and owning it today.

Although I had undertaken previous restoration works, this one was special considering the journey from one place to another and for all the adventures I experienced in between.

Firstly, this jeep was picked up in an immovable condition from Madras one rainy day. I paid a token to return back with the full amount in a week. I was supposed to be getting my mechanic from B'lore (apparently I have a workshop here) to check the mechnicals out as the body restoration and painting was given...it had to be done! Also, to give the rain gods some time to move away, because it was raining cats and dogs...

Back in Madras a week later, it was still raining and me and my mech guy hardly had a chance to take a look at anything. I finally decided to close the deal and transport the jeep back to B'lore. It took us a day's time and finally when it was there the following day in the evening, I had the guys at the workshop look at it and reassess what needed to be done.

It took us a day and it struck me at that moment that I have the jeep done in parts, considering my earlier restoration work, that I have the mechanicals done in B'lore and the body tinkering and painting undertaken in Ooty (I live there as well), as I have a lot of faith in the workmanship of these guys.

The mechanical overhauling process was a long and arduous one...best kept silent about it...but I finally had the engine overhauled completely, the gearbox rechecked, the under-chassis fully stripped and redone including the brakes, clutch, bearings, etc. Took it out for a test drive and came back relatively satisfied, although not 100% as I felt something needed to be done about the 4wd gearbox and the smaller stuff like the pump, the steering box, etc.

So, a month into the mechanical stuff, I finally hit the road one early morning to Ooty and drove to my friend's workshop in Coonor, which is about 16 kms off Ooty. They stripped the vehicle down once again and got it done right down from the chassis.

Over the next two months, factoring in the rain and the numerous trips to and fro from the old market and the spare part shops in Mettupalyam, Madras and Coimbatore, the vehicle was finally ready and I was mighty pleased with what was on show (pics of the paint job allso posted).

What followed next, was the electricals and the upholstery which I normally undertake with a friend of mine close by, in a town called Gudalur which is 50 kms off Ooty, and the vehicle was all but ready to go. Driving it down from Gudalur I still wasn't a 100% satisfied and set upon to undertake the remaining mechanical work. The mechs were a serious pain and it took me all but another 2 mths to get the jeep out 90% to my liking. I still felt there was a need to do something better on it, and by chance, the previous week I was in talks with one of the guys from the old market to supply me a power steering kit for my DP, and I finally hitched upon the idea to make this trip and have it fitted on to the 550 instead of the 540.

Fitting the power steering, getting the 4wd overhauled and serviced, setting the pump and fitting a 4-shell original Bolero radiator were all undertaken. Man, it was a pleasure...a truly great experience. I'm driving it over the last 3 months and I should say I've never driven a better performing jeep than this (no offence meant guys), but it truly is a mean machine and I love everything about it. It gives me great pleasure to introduce this story to you guys and I'd love to hear on what you've got to say.... This is one jeep I have the utmost respect for and the most pleasurable, even though it took me roughly a year to complete...but all in all it is a great satisfaction. I'm very tempted to have my DP fitted with an XD3P shortly, but that will have to wait. I'm all but enjoying my prized piece...I'm due to sell this, but not until I enjoy my rides and make the best of all the hard work put in...it was a journey well served and extremely enriching, I'm mighty pleased.

My other one is a Kaiser Willys 1971 which I'm also restoring and plan to fit an XD3P and 4wd gearbox sometime this coming month. I guess it should be out in the next 2 months...I'm looking forward to this, I'm hoping it will be a beauty. I'll post pics as and when I get my hands on them. Would love some suggestions on this as well...

Guys, I'm willing for any and every thought you might have. Feel free, there's more to learn and more to be done. I have an open mind and feel free to send me your reviews, comments or any suggestions that you might, it's much appreciated.

Cheers!!!
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Old 12th November 2010, 19:26   #2
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congrats Melvin!!

3 i am dieing for 1 only.

i really liked the 1st one but the front bumper is arr not so good.
the rear tale lights, which are them?

you wanted to sell your 540?
http://classifieds.team-bhp.com/buy-...ra/MM550.html/

Nikhil

BTW post some WIP pictures of 71 Willys.

Last edited by jeepster : 12th November 2010 at 19:27.
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Old 12th November 2010, 19:40   #3
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In the first pic, The paint job, choice of color and the crash guard setup looks wonderful.
Very tastefully restored .
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