By Jon Maib
Towards the beginning of 2007, I was driving to my in-law's house and noticed an old flat fender Jeep sitting on the side of the road at an out-of-business motorcycle shop. I thought it was cool and wondered if it was for sale. I couldn't really afford it anyway, so I just continued on without inquiry. I continued to drive past the Jeep for several months, sitting and rusting outside in all weather conditions. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer and had to see if it was for sale.

Since the shop wasn't in business, tracking down the owner proved to be difficult. After many visits and phone calls, I was finally able to get in touch with the owner. He informed me he had purchased the Jeep at auction several years before, but it was in fact for sale. After talking, we agreed to meet so I could get a closer look. I was very excited to go and see it up close, but when I arrived I found it was in very rough condition. I knew it wasn't anything I couldn't handle, and I just had to have it! I offered the owner $1500 cash and he immediately turned it down. He informed me he wanted to get back what he had paid for it at auction. Since the title was clean, the Jeep ran, and I couldn't stand to see it sit outside in the elements any longer, I agreed to his $1800 asking price.

Now, the Jeep had no brakes, the tires were dry rotted, and I was not sure how I was going get it home. The seller informed me one of the neighboring businesses rented trailers, so I immediately ran next door to rent a trailer. Since I was not familiar with the old Jeep, I asked the seller if he would be willing to load it onto the trailer for me. Once it was loaded up, I strapped it down, and I was headed home with my "new" 1948 Willys CJ2-a.

When I pulled the trailer into my driveway at home, I had no idea how I was going to get the Jeep off the trailer, having never driven it and without working brakes. I was nervous, but I made sure the trailer was at the very beginning of the driveway, to give it plenty of room to coast to a stop. I was able to drive it off the trailer with no issues. My Jeep was finally home! I then had a chance to get a closer look at it and see how much work really needed to be done. I found things I had to do right away, like removing the giant side mirror and the bicycle horn (yes, there was a kid's bicycle horn attached to the Jeep). After I removed those, I had to see how it looked with the windshield dropped - what an awesome sight! I then decided to take on the giant hunter's back seat that was welded to the wheel wells. I had to grind out the welds to remove it and also removed the "Bubba" seats that had been installed. I called them "Bubba" seats because they were not bolted down in any way and just came right out! I had an old FJ-40 drivers seat laying around and I installed it temporarily.

Now that I had this really cool flat fender sitting in my driveway, I knew I had to figure out a way to drive it. I began by driving the Jeep up my driveway and then into the grass to stop. After repeating that process a couple of times to get a feel for it, I knew it was time. I threw it in 4 low and took it around the block! I learned I could just kill the engine and it would promptly stop if I was in trouble. Driving my Jeep for the first time was the coolest experience and the neighbors were giving me thumbs up as I drove by! It ran pretty well considering it's condition.

This was just the beginning of my Jeep project, which I named Rex. There will be plenty of updates on Rex's prgress so follow along as we update the project page with all that has been done!

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