Steve McQueen was a acclaimed amateur aback in the ’60s and ’70s, but he was additionally a car activist and an off-road racer. During some Baja contest he was abaft the caster of one of our admired awakening chase cars, the Baja Boot, congenital by Vic Hickey. McQueen has begin a fan improvement afresh as one of those “cool” Hollywood types who died too adolescent (50 years old), but alike added so because he absolutely lived the cool-guy affairs by accepting abaft the caster of aggregate from Porsches to arid chase buggies. Admitting bigger accepted for movies like Bullit, The Abundant Escape, and the aboriginal The Thomas Crown Affair, he additionally had a absolutely air-conditioned Jeep congenital by now-defunct Con-Ferr Incorporated in Burbank, California.
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We tracked bottomward an abnormal affection on the Jeep and its accumulation in the Sept. ’69 affair of Rod & Custom (where it was a finalist in the active as a ’69 Street Rod of the Year?!). There is some absolutely accurate old-school tech actuality (like the bifold set of rear blade springs?) and odd agreement (note that they alarm it a Universal Jeep, not a CJ5). But adulation it or abhorrence it, this Jeep (with chrome cycle bar) was cutting-edge aback in 1969 for a street-driven 4×4, and apparently acclimated as a prerunner for arid races.
This Jeep was accounted to been awash to Sonny Bono of Sonny and Cher acclaim (another brace of Hollywood stars some of you adolescent readers may accept never heard of!), and went to his abode in Palm Springs. After Mr. Bono’s abortive afterlife in 1998, the aisle of buying and accepted abode of this archetypal seems to accept gone cold. If you apperceive annihilation about this Jeep or area it ability be hiding, bead us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
125 mph, Streetable & Virtually Bombproof, It’s… Super Jeep! Let’s not appraise the chastity of capacity the amount of babyish abode into a agent like a Jeep alike admitting the aftereffect would put best beef cars to abashment on the alley and do the aforementioned to about annihilation you affliction to name except a Baja Boot off the road. Aback you appoint added folks, decidedly specialists, to do your assignment for you and you appetite it done now and you crank in added active changes than a woman ambidextrous with an architect, it’s activity to cost, baby.
With a atom of one’s own labor, the advice of accompany and neighbors, and a rational approach, about anyone can appear up with the agnate of the archetype beneath altercation at beneath than bisected the cost. Either way you cut it, the aftereffect is adorable property.
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Super Jeep came into actuality aback a chump (who shall abide nameless) came to Con-Ferr Incorporated in Burbank, California, and told buyer Pete Condos that he capital the ultimate Jeep. It had to be fast, it had to be safe, it had to handle with the affluence of a sports car, it had to attending good, and aloft all abroad it had to be owner-proof. This aftermost was the kicker; the chump is accepted for a beefy appropriate bottom and added audacity than a packing plant. An added appeal was that all genitalia be new, which, in the ablaze of the architecture techniques that followed, was hardly a necessity.
For openers, the chump purchased a basal V-6 Universal Jeep, the bald array that retails for about $3,000, and again said, “Go.” Condos trundled the affair over to his accomplishment plant, area it was dismantled absolutely to the bald frame. Bulb foreman Chuck Atkinson took the closing account in allegation and boxed every rail, including the crossmembers. Every choice that was absorbed he additionally arc welded, abrogation the rivets in abode for added security. At the rear, two bogus bowl bounce perches were added outboard on anniversary ancillary and an added shock arise was anchored at anniversary corner. A bracket to backpack a Saginaw ability council assemblage was added to the larboard front. At anniversary ancillary on the rear a brace of three-leaf springs was installed, anniversary accustomed a brace of flat, unclipped afflict or antibottoming leaves. Appropriate bogus boxed shackles captivated these at the rear. Springs at the advanced are accepted but captivated with abundant bowl shackles. Beneath these went the accepted Jeep advanced arbor able with Warn hubs.
At the rear is a Jeepster rear axle, acclimated because it carries its third affiliate in the centermost instead of actuality offset. The acumen for this is that the absolute powertrain was replaced by a high-performance 350 Chevy agent with a Turbo Hydramatic transmission. The continued tailshaft addendum and the Dana alteration case, which has its rear achievement shaft at the top, appropriate that the rear arbor backpack a centrally amid third member. Beginning to get the picture?
A bulletproof anatomy bare to be accompanying with the affectionate of absolute ability that propels the Chevy Baja Boot. To added the hard-landing capability, vertical plates were anchored beyond the acme of the axletubes to the third affiliate cases to anticipate axletube buckling. Bifold Koni shocks were army on all four corners. Wide-rimmed auto with Inglewood Stagger Block tires completed the rolling gear.
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Now came the accent (and the active changes that we won’t detail here). Suffice it to say that the “take it off, put it back, booty it off” accepted beatific the man-hour amount into an apogee that would abash Houston Control. Con-Ferr’s base whiz, Dick Bowman, replaced all the banal conduits with quick-disconnect looms and an accessible agglutinate block so that if one ambit went out alone that ambit would be afflicted and any allotment of the anatomy could be removed after abolition the able system.
The body, which unbolts with antic ease, had been sanded and repainted and accustomed a able army of detail changes. The banal gas-fill anchorage on the larboard was covered over. Hinges, clamps, and a glovebox aperture were chromed. A abounding set of Stewart Warner instruments was let into the dash. A axial animate was fabricated up out of area banal to backpack the Hurst shifter and appropriate brackets and balustrade fabricated from 1-inch-square tubing to backpack the wiggy Solar Plastics brazier seats. These last, aback appropriately upholstered, accept to be the best comfortable, admiring seats anytime to be put into an off-road vehicle. Active up from the Camaro Saginaw steering, the council shaft terminates with a babyish cream bedlam wheel. This 13-inch account is all that’s all-important acknowledgment to the ability steering, and it imparts a acuteness absolutely alien with the arduous beef of it all.
In abode of the banal underseat ammunition tank, two 15-gallon saddle tanks are blimp up into the rear corners abaft the wheels, and one big stainless animate 30-gallon catchbasin rides beneath the anatomy abaft the rear axle. We don’t accept any abstracts at hand, but it would assume reasonable to doubtable that canoeing ambit would be from 300 afar in asperous country to 600 on the road—and you apperceive there has to be a gas base about in a ambit that large.
Due to the actuality that the car was originally appointed to be raced, not to acknowledgment for accord of mind, a abounding Con-Ferr rollcage was constructed. This is a banal account accessible from Con-Ferr and is, aback army as intended, in accordance with the austere rules of the National Off Alley Racing Association. Sharp-eyed, rules-conscious readers may atom article awry about this accurate installation, however. Chrome on a accent part, abnormally a cycle bar, is looked aloft with abysmal suspicion by tech inspectors and is accountable to a thumbs-down unless accompanied by a affidavit to the aftereffect that it has been broiled to allay any hydrogen embrittlement that may accept occurred during the plating process. Not alone is this cage chromed, but the man accomplishing the plating cut it afar at the high corners to get it into the plating catchbasin and again put it aback calm with bolts and flanges with bolts placed in sheer! The chump able this bit of burning turn-down all by himself over Condos’s blame and squirming body. The aftereffect is abundant for kids to beat on but it would be laughed out of any amenable analysis lane on sight. Imitators be warned.
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Originally a ’glass awning and fender accumulation was installed for a cogent abridgement in weight, but an adverse above-mentioned acquaintance with a hasty accession on addition agent abiding the chump to backslide to the banal item. Not that the ’glass advanced end is a poor unit—it isn’t. It aloof needs able holddowns due to its ablaze weight.
As noted, beneath the awning lies a Hi Perf 350 Chevy V-8. Except for headers and a Carter AFB, iti s box-stock. The ascendancy words actuality are “Hi Perf”; this isn’t the little old lady’s 350 but a hulking, barbarous torque ambassador that’ll cull stumps and still rev up a storm on demand. It sits in the aperture as admitting it had been congenital aloof for that purpose. Up on the larboard ancillary of the firewall is the Hayden trans-cooler, befitting the Turbo Hydro air-conditioned aback the activity gets rough. The attack installation, acknowledgment to the allowance available, has branches that ambit up and out, acceptance acceptable admission to the plugs.
Looking aback on the able accumulation operation, it was—except for the burden and the cut-and-try all-important in such a absolute rebuild—remarkably simple already all the factors were known, actual abundant evocative of architecture a auto aback in the canicule aback good, beginning auto bodies were available. The result, in agreement of raw brutality, has to be the greatest activity attribute back the Cadillac-Allard.
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