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Thread: 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer restoration project

  1. #1
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    Sep 2007
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    Default 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer restoration project

    Don't fall out of your chair, but we have us here a new build thread!

    I have been looking for a FSJ for about 4 months. The race car is awesome, but not very practical when it comes to gear, family, weather, and comfort. I've had a YJ, TJ, XJ, and custom Race buggy, so a FSJ seemed like a good idea.

    I've done tons of research lately and driven everything from a sick 1966 Wagoneer to a not so sick 1979 Chief and everything in between. I had a great idea of price, condition, restoration, etc...

    Then it happened.

    I was surfing Craigslist when I saw a 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer pop up for $600. Yep. $600. I knew this one was going to be a piece of crap....

    ... when I opened the ad, I thought it might be a scam. I looked great for it's year. I immediately texted the guy (the ad had only been up for 2 hours at this point). Basically, he had bought the Grand Waggy two years ago as a project for him and his Dad and it's just sat there. His parents had moved back East and they never got around to it. He had it loaded up on the U-Haul trailer and was about to leave town when he discovered his little truck couldn't pull it, especially all the way across country. He was forced to sell it or abandoned it because he HAD to leave the following morning for the East Coast. The engine runs, but the transmission is spotty. He didn't know if it was the torque converter or what, so he priced it to move. I figured "What the hell. Even if it's junk, I can turn it for at least $2000 based on what I've been researching. This is too good of a deal to pass up."

    Texting him, he said he couldn't hold the FSJ and that several people wanted to come up in the morning, that is was first come first serve. This was at 9 PM at night. I asked him how late he would be up. He said "as late as I need to". I grabbed the truck and drove to Mesa to get my trailer from LROR. I called Bob along the way and he graciously agreed to go with me. A.) I needed the company to stay awake, B.) I didn't know how much pushing would be required to get it off his trailer and onto my trailer, and C.) having an awesome He-Man who open carries with you on a midnight cash transaction in Prescott is ALWAYS a great idea. Bob and I got to Prescott at 1 AM.

    The neighborhood was nice and not sketchy (which made me feel better) and the guy turned out to be a clean-cut 20 something with a couple of his friends. They were duly impressed with Bob. LOL. We did the deal and loaded the Grand on my trailer. It actually drove onto the trailer with no pushing. It's spotty and definitely needs the trans looked at, but it isn't cooked. It may be as simply as a torque converter or just fluid. Too soon to tell, but I'm optimistic. The engine is the AMC V8 360 and the trans is the Chrysler 727. Woot Woot!

    After we loaded, we pulled under the lights of a 24 hour gas station and started to look. It kinda blew my mind. I think I've got an actual "barn find" in this one. I'll post pics in the next thread, but it's pretty amazing (especially for $600 bucks!!!). All the chrome is there. The body is in great shape (no rust, no dents), the interior is COMPLETE! All the knobs, the leather is dirty but in great shape (no tears or anything), all of the carpet is there with no stains (including the rear storage area side panels), it has the original radio and floor mats, there is no rust on the frame... basically it's in great condition for it's age, just dirty, yet 100% complete - even the original rims!

    My favorite part was the next morning when I was looking at the title. In 2008 it had 48,000 original miles. As of today, it has 69,146 miles. Unreal. This has completely changed my plans for the FSJ. I was originally hoping to just get a mechanically sound high mileage FSJ and then start redoing everything (rip the carpet out, do new door panels, paint and do custom graphics, etc...), but now I'm going to restore this to as close to original as possible (although I will be doing a mild 4" lift and putting 33's on it - see pic below). Paint is in really good shape for an 83 (I'll need to get it repainted, but it's not horrible as is) and the wood panel siding is toast (would need to remove and replace anyway).

    So all in all, I'm stoked and excited to start this build / restoration.



    Here is the past (an original ad from 1983 for this exact model and trim package):





    Here is the condition she is today, the day after I bought her, without being touched (pine cone on the roof rack still intact!):





    Here is my vision for her (mild lift, bigger tires, but interior and exterior restored to factory - ignore the stupid roof rack on this photo):

    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    jeep

    Original 15" rims and center caps




    All chrome is complete, including the window jams:




    The dash is in good shape and it has factory air:




    All of the original knobs and switches are intact and attached (this was pretty rare on the ones I had looked at previously)




    69,146 actual original miles!




    The entire interior is dirty, but complete - even the rear carpeted body panels are intact and in good shape




    No rust on the car, including the roof (these are known to leak around the roof rack and develop rust marks)




    Will certainly need a tune up, but it's the AMC 360 V8 engine




    The door panels are complete with no rips or tears.




    Front grill / bumper ar in great shape and 100% complete

    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Peoria, AZ
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    Default

    very cool - needs some surf boards on top
    Zombie Caving
    Siblings are like sausages. Itís better not to see them being made.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yep! Surf boards or a canoe. LOL.
    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  5. #5
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    Mesa
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    Love this thing even more now I can see it in the sun. I was talking to the PO and he was saying it had just been sitting for 2 years and it only took a little gas to get it started.
    This thing is a great platform and will look awesome when done.
    Touch the cow. Do it NOW!

  6. #6
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    Murica
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    Love Love Love!

    a photo shoot with this on the Rubicon next year will be awesome!

  7. #7
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    I'm with you, Bob. Once I saw it in the daylight it just got better and better. Every time I go out to look at it, I find something else awesome.

    Jennifer and Katelyn are even more super excited I am and are the ones encouraging me to restore it and keep it in the garage once finished. The super low miles meant a ton to Jen (as well as the $600 starting point...).

    Kate just thinks its cool and thinks that it might be hers when she turns 16. hahaha.
    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avis View Post
    Love Love Love!

    a photo shoot with this on the Rubicon next year will be awesome!

    The Rubicon... Hammers... the Baja 1000... Moab... I hope it looks good about anywhere.
    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanzona View Post
    Kate just thinks its cool and thinks that it might be hers when she turns 16. hahaha.
    Smart girl!
    Touch the cow. Do it NOW!

  10. #10
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    Aug 2009
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    Murica
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    Default

    I just can't get over how you found one so unmolested for so cheap.

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