Gather ‘round because it is story time! This is a story of a little grille in a small world.

There was once a Jeep build by the name of FrankenJeep. Many of the parts were already had, but there were still a few that needed to be gotten before we could start to see the machine take form. A big piece that was missing was the grille. Yes, there was the one from its previous life, but that would not suit the needs of this little Jeep, for he needed something with a point to it, unlike the long beginning of this story…

Get on with it, will you?!

Okay, okay… if you remember, I gave you that spoiler alert and told you there would be a plot twist; there was a mock up picture of the FrankenJeep that I put up.

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Actually, let us go back even further, back to the beginning. Remember when I told you my initial plans for the Jeep; the ones that abandoned making a right hand drive CJ5 clone, and instead turning it into a flat rod? I showed you some pictures of two similar, yet very different flat rod builds – the red Jeep made in Texas, and the green Jeep made in Arizona.

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If you remember correctly, I explained to you that this O.D. Green Army Jeep gave me a lot of ideas, and it was that very Jeep that made up my mind to go the way of the flat rod. At the time, I failed to tell you the name of the builder. It was Randy Ellis; his shop, Randy Ellis Designs (R.E.D. Inc.), in Phoenix built the Army themed flat rod you saw on these pages and many other pages around the internet. Now, I did not maliciously try to discredit Mr. Ellis, or even purposefully fail to give him credit, I was just not as diligent back then about ensuring that I shelled out the names of strangers just because they gave me an idea.

That’s nice. To the story already!

So, to the point; the grille I showed you in the mock photo? I found it on Craigslist.

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That’s it. That is the story of the grille; I bought it off a guy on Craigslist.

WHAT??!!! That is your epic story?!!

 

Haha! No, that is not the entire story. Yes, I did buy it off a guy on Craigslist. In fact, I drove more than 120 miles, round trip, to get that grille. But not even that is the best part of the story.

I drove all the out to West Glendale, about 65 miles away, to get that grille from a guy named Mike Johnson. (You see Mike? I told you your time would come!) I could tell pretty quickly that Mike was a like-minded gearhead, and that he would probably have some good stories to tell me. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Mike got me talking about the Jeeps and the different ideas that I had. Then he led me on a little journey to the side of the house and he opened up his back gate to show me a Jeep he had built when he was just thirteen. He had kept it, and kept it running for over forty years! In its own right, the Jeep was a rat rod. You all know I hate the term, but it was built in the truest form of the word. Mike used whatever he could source to make it work, even using scrap steel to fabricate parts!

After I saw that, I knew we were akin of twisted minds, so I started giving him better information about the FrankenJeep build, showing him pictures and explaining what I started with, what I had already done, and what my plans were for it. I went in to detail about the build and asked him if he knew about Randy Ellis and the Army flat rod.

“Yeah, I know Randy. I was with him when he built that.”

 

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It turned out that I drove 65 miles to buy a Jeep grille from a guy… to use in a build in which I got the idea from a similar Jeep… that this very guy helped build.

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