This one shows progress on the underbody structure. Each of the channels was hand-formed on his metal brake. The red objects are polyurethane body mount pucks.
This one shows some of the floor panels in place. Nothing is welded to the underbody structure yet, as Robert specifically wanted me to be able to see the support structure before they made it really difficult to get at and take photos of.
Well, naturally, I was drooling over this, so he invited me to come by yesterday – an invitation I was happy to accept.
Since he had sent pictures to me on Thursday, there really wasn’t a whole lot more that had been done, but I was able to crawl around and look at everything. One thing Robert mentioned to me was that the new orientation of the “Magic Box” on the middle axle looked as though it wouldn’t require any changes to the frame or body. This was something I had been concerned about, since the bottom of the Box is now 4.5 inches higher than it had been, and even with the new indexing, the top of the Box was also higher. But I crawled down under the JeepMonster to take a look, and sure enough, there appears to be plenty of clearance, even when the axle is at full compression. (These may turn out to be an instance of “famous last words” but for now everything looks good.) These two shots show the Box as it currently sits.
In addition, the driveshaft angle from the Box to the third-axle pinion doesn’t look like it’s too bad, either!
This photo gives a good view of the new firewall. Robert asked me if I wanted to use the one from the cowl of the ’57 CJ-6, but it’s full of holes and is rusty and all that, so I asked him to build me a new one. This one will be sturdier and safer, and also gives me more room for my feet!
The frame is 6 inches longer than the body. This gives me room to work the back winch, as well as providing a strong bumper. This photo shows the winch in the frame, with the rearmost body support along the right. When it’s all done, there will be a lid over this area, both to protect the winch from prying eyes and to provide a good surface to stand on if needed.
The final photo is an overall side view. From this angle, it’s kind of hard to see all the sheet steel sitting on the ‘Monster, but you can see the grille (which, by the way isn’t in its permanent location), the firewall, and the floor.
The next step is to build the inner fenderwells for the back axles. At that point, we should be able to get a pretty good idea of where the seats need to go, which will tell us where the back hoop of the roll cage has to be, which will help us with setting the location of the bulkhead between the cab and the cargo area, which will… well, you get the idea.
So while they’re busy bodybuilding, I have to get going and order some more parts – like the seat adjustment tracks and the pinion protectors for the front and back axles (Robert recommended I get these from Ballistic Fabrication here in Tucson), and some pieces/parts to build the custom twin-stick levers for the transfer case. I’ll have a lot of things to take over there the next time I go.