Posts Tagged ‘Flat Rod’

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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[Editor’s Note: I must admit that I came back and edited this post as to better convey the story. My apologies to any of you that think I should have gotten it right the first time.]

Just as it states up there, in the title, we were finally able to chop the top on the FrankenJeep!

As you can see, the chop itself went very well.

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With Tailgate20160828_225613[1]

(And no, that tailgate was not cut crooked. Due to a mixture of MTV photo angles and the crooked blue sticker striping, it only appears like is was cut wrong.)

Got some more work done on Frank. Not as much as I had anticipated, but we made very good headway, considering we did not get started until almost 14:00.

I really wanted to chop the cab today. I got the electricity fixed and was looking forward to testing it all out. Daniel came over and helped me out with my welder regulator issue, and we went to fire it all up when we found I had no gas.

You see, we were not able to fix the regulator gauge, so we just plugged that port. That happened to be my bottle pressure gauge, so I was unaware that I had no gas in the bottle. Oh well, we did mark out the cuts to perform the 4″ chop, and as soon as I have a welder available again, we are ready to start cutting.

In other parts of the build I did, however, make some forward progress! (Opposed to backward progress? But I digress…)

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I had to notch the wheel wells for the new fuel tank that Luke gave me. He believes it to be a 30 gallon tank; the thing is massive! (50 bonus points to the person that can correctly tell me what that fuel cell came from! [And no, “Luke’s house” is not the answer I am looking for here.]) You can see there is no room back there for the window I had planned, so I made another use of the second DJ-5 barn door I had sitting around the garage.

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I got started on the tailgate for this thing! In order for the tailgate to be finished, I still need to shave the hole leftover from the latch on the barn door, and then cap the top. Those are more things I need a welder for, but it is otherwise coming together nicely. I am still in the process of figuring out if I want it to be a functional tailgate and drop down, or if I am just going to weld it there. Even if it is “functional”, it is still useless as I only have room for batteries and an air tank back there. Nonetheless, I think things are working out pretty well for Ol’ Frank.

The Story of How This All Came to Be

Tony and I had spent the most of the day removing the cab from Hyde and relocating it to my driveway. This was not much of a catastrophe, not enough to write about at least; but we did manage to get it to the ground without anyone, or anything, getting hurt or damaged. We spent the rest of the day looking the cab over and deciding the best route for cutting, and which pieces would fit best where. We could not find the correct angles to cut at, and I was just not happy with the way that this cab was refusing to cooperate with me.

Tony had to leave early and I was sort left by myself for awhile. That is when Bobby called and asked me what I was up to. I told him I was having a hell of a time trying to figure out the best way to cut up this cab to use for pieces, he told me to hang tight and he would be right over.

He drove over in his Cherokee and checked out where I was at in the build; he had yet to see it in real life. He came by and looked it over with me. You see, Bobby had already read my writings here on the interweb and knew my original intentions. That is when he said:

“What if we put that, over there?”

He had pointed to that cab, and motioned to put it over there onto the frame… just as it sat.

BOOM. Mind Blown.

I looked at him and he at me; we both looked at the venerable little Jeep, knowing there would be some metal destruction in order for this to work properly – the front half of the Jeep tub would need to be cut off.

“How much time do you have, Bobby?”

“Why?”

“Because it is almost 21:00 and I am crazy enough to cut this up (in a home owner’s association) right now.”

 

He asked for, and I supplied him a reciprocating saw. He got to the side of the Jeep, and looked at me once more for the green light, asking if I was positive I was ready to go through with it. You betcha! Cut away my friend!!

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We used the sawzall to cut the verticals, and a cut-off disc to cut all the horizontal metal.

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We cut the tub in half and separated the two piece, sliding the front half off of the frame.

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Then the two of us dragged the cab over to the frame, dropped the frame off the jack stands and on to the ground, and then heaved the heavy cab up onto the frame. We scooted it back toward the rear portion of the tub and checked for clearances as we put the frame back onto the jack stands.

This was the mock up I made that night.

 20160814_15324420160814_165634WHOA!!! I did NOT see THAT coming!!

Remember way back in January, of two-thousand… and FOURTEEN (*gasp!*) I had mentioned that I wanted to take a Willy’s truck cab and graft it onto the little Jeep, chop the top and have a cabbed vehicle?

(Check out Genesis – The Look if you have forgotten.)

 

I take your Willy’s truck cab and raise you one Kenworth cab!

Yep. That just happened. Everyone knows that I brought home the Kenny cab, and I wanted to chop it up and use the metal for Frank…

Not for this guy!

Project #2 – Peaked / Split Windshield

Well, I happened across a guy that was selling a cab. This was not a taxi for sale, it was the “body” of a truck, the cab. But this was not just any truck cab; this was a 1947 Kenworth truck cab, thank you Jim!

We are talking semi-truck (sem-eye or seh-mee)… 18 wheeler… big rig… transport truck… a single… tractor-trailer… an articulated lorry (or just an artic)… Whatever you call it where you come from, we are talking about a very big truck! And I bought it!!

For a peaked / split windshield?? You are crazy Mac!

No silly! Not just for the peaked / split windshield. For the corners too! I wanted to use the corners for up-armour on the flat rod. You see, no offense to any one previous owner, the sawzall cut on the Jeep tub was a little short, plus I needed to do some hole shaving (that means, I get rid of the hole by welding in some metal). This made for an easier way to do that, if all I need to do is cover it with another sheet of metal, then we are good to go!

So, Jim jumped into his tractor and got the cab onto the forks, he lifted the cab into the air, we put it into the back of Hyde and to my house I went with my new cab… in my bed.

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When I found out about the instrument cluster…

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That just made for a bonus! You bet I am going to use that – the speedo is a jenu-wine Kenworth gauge!! How badass is that?! Plus, now I have switches to activate switches and gauges to gauge those switches!!!

Alright, so I recently wrote about getting my caveman on with all of the hunting and gathering I did for the flat rod build. I also promised you that I would tell you some of the ideas I came up with, there was a caveat that I needed to materialize each project before I spilled the beans…

What was that Jack? You got some beans for a cow?! Can I hold on to them?? OOPS!! I accidentally spilled them!

Project #1 – Buck Saw Windshield Brow

This is not a fold-down, inside the cab visor. Nope, we are going old school Cholo with this idea. I am talking about the above the windshield brow on the outside. I want one made from a buck saw!

As my pseudo-Irish luck would have it (hey, I am a Mac [technically a Mick] after all, even if that is the only Irish that I possess, it still counts! Right??)… Anyway, as it would so happen, my mom and her husband had a buck saw. AND, it happened to be the right kind too!

You see, I needed a long saw that was not tapered to one end, and the one they had was built just right. I made negotiations, and it was decided that as long as I kept it for my own use as a spring board to fame and fortune, I was allowed to have it.

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For Free? You heard ‘em right, free. Now, I did not actually plan on using it as a literal spring board, (I do not really think it could hold even my weight). But, I will be using it for this windshield brow / sun visor idea… and they were okay with that.

Cool Mac! So you managed to get a buck saw that you are going to use as a windshield brow. Why is this of any consequence??

Well, for me, it is of great consequence! For one, I was going to resort to buying one from the Craigslist if I was not able to procure one from a shop, and what kind of story is that? But this one was WAY cooler! WHY??

I found out that it was her grandfather’s saw and it could very well be over 100 years old!! That is almost ten decades of hanging out in the world! Plus, do the math for me, as it is not really one of my strong points – Grandfather (1) + Dad (1) + Mom (1) + Me (1) + Mini Mac (1) = equals FIVE generations of family that it has passed through! Well, not literally passed through, but… anyway, you get the idea. Right??

That is pretty impressive! I mean, it was not like that saw thought, when it was just a little buck (Haha! Get it?): “In 100 years, I’m going to be on the windshield of a flat rod named FrankenJeep!” Probably not.