A CJ-3B Named Spud,
Part 1

by Barry Ogletree

This is the first in a series of articles by Barry Ogletree in Texas, who has a lot of experience in Jeep customizing and conversion, and has recently been bringing that experience to some CJ-3B projects. In Part 2: Spud Goes Green, Barry will give us a close look at the painting process. -- Derek Redmond

The Background

My wife Karen and I are retired. I was in super-heavy construction management -- things like dams, bridges, ships, and large production facilities. We moved to Fredricksburg in west Texas to live in retirement, but we started a small company there to do stretch conversions of Jeeps. The company grew at an amazing speed, and could produce one stretched TJ a day. Business was very good -- we did over 800 vehicles, and employed over 20 people.

When I sold the company we moved again, to Lufkin, Texas, about two hours north of Houston. We still stretch and customize Jeeps for ourselves. They are always a hit with the locals, when we drive them around and take them to car shows.

My first stretched TJ (Bubba) was built to haul all of the grandkids around the Texas Hill Country.

I was absolutely crushed by people wanting them for their ranches, and we did hunting Jeeps, tour Jeeps and limos.

We also did a lot of custom spray bedliner -- this Jeep was bedlined in dark blue. Bedliner is great for any vehicle, especially in the brush. Much easier than paint to repair.

Our stretched Jeeps had 4 full-sized doors. Jeep was interested in doing a 4-door model, but ours were 19" too long for their assembly line. We shortened one for them by narrowing the second door and later also the pillar to save 4" more.

Our First CJ-3B

We found this 1954 CJ-3B in Idaho, and we thought it was a good candidate for some updating and restoration. It had been painted with the typical bright red tractor enamel.

The driver said that everytime he stopped on the trip from Idaho, he drew a crowd and questions galore.

Heading home on our trailer. We named him Spud because potatoes are the only thing anyone thinks of when the State of Idaho is mentioned.

He was in very good shape, but we started with front end alignment and shocks.

A Ford Ranger steering box put the wheel at an angle that gives more room in the driver's seat.

Here's the Ford Ranger steering box mount and the exhaust.

The bikini top will go. The roll bar will be changed to allow for overhead TJ speakers.

New 11-inch brakes. See a close view of the front disc brake (180K JPEG). Around here there are way too many young girls on their cell phones, who stop abruptly.

We added new wiring, a 2-barrel carb and electronic distributor. See the right side of the engine (200K JPEG). Thinking of a small Chevy V6 in the future.

We build a fold-down tire rack with 1-inch thick-walled tubing. See a drawing of the rack (70K JPEG) and a closeup of the hinges (160K JPEG).

My navigator/swamper/boss Karen checks out Spud's new steering wheel, roll cage and tire rack.

Grab bars were mounted high to serve as corner protectors (150K JPEG). Grab bars on the windshield side look like wind wings from the front. Passengers love them.

The bar added to the windshield between the wiper motors is the handiest thing I have ever done for passengers getting in or out. Radio is in the circular cutout.

Added a leaf in each stack. The thick one is the additional.

Spud is now two inches taller. 1950s-style antenna added, and mirrors relocated.

LED light bar is 126 watts. Sides are flood, center is spot.

I built the winch plate which holds a 5,000 lb. capacity electric winch. I'm using 13,500 test Spectra line -- that is the reason for the solid fairlead. Rollers will cut it.

Solid body, but poor paint. Good reason for new paint.

Spud is now headed for the paint shop.

Continue to Part 2: Spud Goes Green.

Thanks to Barry for the story and photos. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 27 February 2016 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
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