Mike Kautzman's 1953 CJ-3B, with its Ford 302 V8, 33-inch tires and "53 WLYS" licence plate, has been a regular sight for years around the Tillamook recreation area in Oregon.
Mike says, "As of 2002, I've owned my '53 CJ-3B for 10 years now. I purchased it from a guy in Longview, Washington and he had put in the steering ('53 Studebaker) and the Ford V8 and transmission. I use it for off-road mostly, and also to run back and forth from work on nice days. During the summer it sees a lot of miles. I have a Best top for it, but can't seem to get myself to put it on very often. A topless Jeep seems to just be so much more fun."
"The V8 is out of a '72 Mustang, and the firewall had been cut and fabricated to make more room. A nice job was done and I didn't even notice the fabrication had been done til 8 years later. Fords seem to fit nicer due to the distributor in the front. I can't honestly say I have any problems having a V8 for a motor. It has a Ford 2-barrel carburetor on it, and gets great gas mileage."
See a larger copy of the engine photo (90K JPEG).
"I carry a spare gas can and have never had to add the gas to my rig. I have given it up to V6's and 4-cylinder rigs on many occasions. Nobody ever believes me until the weekend is over and I still have gas left in my stock 10-gallon tank. The motor never overheats, due to a larger radiator. Some may say it's a little over-powered, but if you use the power right it's a lot of fun. Plus who could resist a good sounding V8? And it really makes the factory vacuum wipers work good.
"I run the stock model 25 front axle with 5:38 gears and a Lock Right locker. I have yet to break it! It sees a lot of abuse with the kind of off-road I've been doing. I used to be into mud, but got tired of cleaning it out of every nook and cranny."
Here are some before-and-after photos:
"The transmission is a Ford 3-speed. Nice to have synchro. I run the Spicer 18 transfer case with the large intermediate shaft, and a Warn overdrive to help out the 5:38 on the street."
"A custom full roll cage will protect the occupants if the need ever arises. A custom spare tire carrier is attached to the rear frame and tail gate latch tabs. Comfort is helped out by aftermarket Steel Horse seats. A rear Con Ferr seat with storage bin will soon be added so I can get my whole family in to enjoy the great thing called Jeep'n."
"The rear axle is a Dana 44 out of a 1970 CJ-5, with a Lock Right locker. The braking is handled by 11" brakes with a Ford master cylinder and a Micro brake. The springs are 4" Black Diamond with Con-Ferr shackles. This gives me the room to run 33 x 12.5 TSL Super Swamper tires. When all this gets me into trouble, I pull out the 9000-lb. Ramsey winch.
"I have put a lot of time mostly and a little money into it, and am very proud of my high hood."
Thanks to Mike for the photos and information on his Jeep. -- Derek Redmond
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