I've known for years that I wanted to own a flat fender Willys, but I never really put much time into searching for one. I knew I would have one eventually, but I wasn't in a huge rush. For me, project cars have always just appeared, one night while looking through Instagram it happened again.
This project started as a late night text to a friend during SEMA. Greg Henderson (builder of probably my favorite Jeep, Frankenbrute http://babyliam.org/support/jeep-build) was out at SEMA, posting pictures of some of the Jeeps on the show floor. One of them was a red 1940's era CJ2A, it reminded me of 2 things:
1: I need to start looking for a flat fender Jeep.
2: Greg had one sitting in his shop collecting dust.
I posted a comment on the picture on instagram “I need a flat fender, Wanna trade my bike for yours?” In my mind, the deal was done. I was already mentally making the list of all the parts I'd need to get it running. Only thing missing was a reply from Greg (small detail) but I knew he was busy, and he'd get back to me eventually. Which he did, the next day “I'll have to think about that” for those following along, that's not a “no way”. I sent him a picture of my motorcycle (a 2007 Harley Davidson 1200N) with no comment.
I knew Greg had a 1952 Willys M38, but beyond that I knew very little about the Jeep. I had only seen one picture of it, and from that picture, I knew the driver side front fender was in good shape. I didn't hear anything else from Greg for a few days, but one morning while sitting at work, my phone starting making a bunch of noise. Greg was sending pictures of the M38 from every angle he could manage, and close up details of the important parts. At this point I knew he was really considering it. So I called:
“Hey Greg, so are we doing this?”
“I think we are”
We talked for several more minutes about the Jeep, Greg did mention, this was the first time in the majority of his life that he was without a motorcycle. The timing was dead on. So we agreed the deal was happening, and I needed to get moving quick before Greg changed his mind. I live in Pennsylvania, Greg lives in Michigan. Clearly there are some logistics that need to happen. Also, this was all going down in November, which as many people know, the window for decent weather in Michigan was rapidly closing.
I got together a plan that included a borrowed trailer and my lifted 2001 Jeep Cherokee. Knowing I had limited time for the trip, I knew I needed some help driving, so I asked Rob (Quadratec's video host) to take the ride with me. He's always down for an adventure, especially if it involves a classic Jeep.
We loaded the bike on the trailer, and left early on a Thursday morning for a 1246 mile/ 2 day round trip to bring my newest project home.
Now that it's tucked back into the garage, the real fun begins. We noticed as we pushed the M38 into the garage that one of the brakes was frozen. First on the list, brake replacement.