A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I had a lead on a straight, almost-rust-free cowl/windshield base/dashboard assembly. Kevin (the gentleman who had it) came to my house a couple of weeks ago and determined that I had enough pieces and parts that we could make a trade, so when Robert invited me last week to come to R & W on Sunday, I called Kevin and asked him if I could get the cowl on my way to Marana. He said it would be ready for me.
Sunday morning, I picked up my friend Tony and we both headed off to Kevin’s home on Tucson’s West Side. Kevin gave me this beauty:
Knowing that I only need the curved sheetmetal on the top, and the windshield base, he asked me to ask Robert to leave untouched as much of the firewall and side panels as possible, so that he could reuse them in one or another of his restoration projects. I relayed his request to Robert.
When I got to R & W, I was amazed at the transformation. You’ll recall that the last time I was there, the passenger-side inner fender was well under way and the driver-side one was also in progress. What a difference another week makes!
Here you see the back half of the ‘Monster, with both inner fenders done and the outer flares finished on the passenger side. [NOTE: I use the word “finished” very loosely. While the fenders aren’t just tack-welded together and the flares tacked on, neither is the welding complete. Once the pieces are in place to Robert’s satisfaction, all the seams will be welded more completely, and the welds ground down to provide a finished look.]
The next one shows the view from the front. The braces are still in place, and will be until everything is completely welded together.
Moving around to the driver’s side, you can see that those flares are also in place.
A lower-level shot of the passenger side shows how the shock towers fit into the wheelwells. The tandem rear axles are *almost* at full droop, but they’ll hang down a little more when the tires and wheels are added. The frame is sitting on stands right now to make sure it’s square and straight, to provide a solid structure on which to build the tub.
Tony and I oohed and aahed over it all, of course. And after looking at the project more, I decided to skip the fuel-filler indent on the driver’s side. The effect of the visual cue (“Hey, this is an *old* Jeep!”) is no longer worth the effort and expense required to put it in. Besides, there are other cues – like the notch in the back corners for the military top bows [the CJ-5 and -6 were outgrowths of the military M38-A1], the battery cover in the cowl, and a couple of other minor touches – that probably nobody will ever notice. But I’ll know they’re there.
That evening, Robert sent me a couple of photos he had taken in the afternoon. He cut the cowl apart and placed it on the tub, and then put the grille and hood in place, too:
There’s still a lot to do, but Robert guesstimated he might have the body ready for me to bring home sometime in March. There is still some finish work to be done on the frame before it’ll be ready.
I’m *SO* excited!