I ran into Jack and Leslie Robbins, owners of R.V. Repair Body and Paint (R.V.M.D.) located in Menifee, California, recently at the Hi Desert Round-Up in Barstow, California. Their 1971 registered Jeep definitely stood out from the crowd during one of the numerous four-wheel-drive games. After spending a few moments with the couple, I was told an interesting story about the birth of this custom creation.
I became involved in four-wheeling in 1986 when my soon-to-be wife took me out to Ocotillo Wells, California, and got me hooked on the challenges that four-wheeling involves. I purchased a bone-stock 1977 Jeep CJ-5 and proceeded over the next 20 years to modify it to my needs.
As a couple, we became very involved with the sport of rockcrawling in 2001 and even tried our hand at competing. Unfortunately, we totaled our CJ-5 in December of 2004 during the Truckhaven Hills event near the Salton Sea. It was a pretty bad wreck, resulting in rolling end over end twice and side over side three times. I nearly lost my hand and was in the hospital for quite some time, but fortunately my wife walked away with only small bruises.
Soon after we healed up, we began looking for a new vehicle to build that would provide a little more stability in the dirt, hence a longer wheelbase and wider axles with a number of safety features. This ground-up restoration has taken some time, and we honestly can't tell you if we would go through this again - but we sure do love wheeling!"
|Year/Make/Model: ||'71 Jeep Scrambler custom |
|Owners/Hometown: ||Jack & Leslie Robbins |
|Engine: ||'69 AMC 304ci |
|Transmission: ||TF999 |
|Transfer Case: ||Dana 300 |
|Front Axle: ||Dana 44/Detroit Locker |
|Rear Axle: ||Dana 60/Detroit Locker |
|Ring-and-pinion: ||4.88 |
|Suspension: ||Deaver 4.5-inch leaf |
|Tires/Wheels: ||Goodyear MT/R/Pro Comp |
Providing 4.5 inches of lift...
Providing 4.5 inches of lift in the front is a set of custom-made Deaver Springs using 12-inch-stroke, nitrogen-charged Bilstein 5150 shock absorbers. There was a great deal of custom work that needed to be done in order to give this vehicle the stability its owners desired. The couple turned to Fat City once again to construct a 1.5-inch chrome-moly tie rod, a 1.5-inch chrome-moly drag link, and a custom steering box to complement the Hi-Steer setup that was made by R.V.M.D. in house. Wagner disc brakes have been installed at all four corners with a Navajo master cylinder. The entire suspension both front and rear was installed by Fat City as were the custom bumpstops and front shackles. The front axle custom-built by Drivetrain Direct uses a Dana 44 housing running 4.88 ring-and-pinion gears and a Detroit Locker. The transfer case is a Dana 300 that uses a 4:1 Tera Low ratio and a larger output shaft.
Under the rear is a matching...
Under the rear is a matching set of Deaver springs with 10-inch-stroke, nitrogen-charged Bilstein 5150 shock absorbers. Shooting out the back end is a Flowmaster 2.5-inch exhaust system installed by Mufflers West. A 23-gallon aluminum fuel cell was custom-made to fit in the stock location. The rear axle uses a Dana 60 housing stuffed with matching gears and locker protected by a Barnett Racing Products differential cover; it gets momentum from a chrome-moly driveshaft provided by J.E. Reel. The axle was assembled by Tri-County Gear.
Going wider is a better approach,...
Going wider is a better approach, so Jack and Leslie chose 15x10 Pro Comp wheels with 3-inch backspacing wrapped in Goodyear MT/R 37x12.50R15 tires in the front and 37x13.50R15 tires in the rear. To gain a little more four-wheel-drive security, they had the wheels custom-beadlocked by Rock Buggy Supply.
The unique outer styling continues...
The unique outer styling continues its way through the interior as well. PRP high-back 2-inch-wider race seats have been installed for ultimate off-road comfort along with a set of PRP four-point safety harnesses. R.V.M.D. made the entire stainless steel dash and center console. There is an assortment of Auto Meter gauges, including fuel pressure, voltage, vacuum pressure, air pressure, oil pressure, water pressure, and more. A Midland 40-channel CB radio was installed for communications. All wiring and paint were done in house by R.V.M.D.
Plenty of storage in this...
Plenty of storage in this Jeep! Underneath a custom-painted American flag and eagle design is a toolbox and storage container that was built into the tailgate by JP Off-Road. Having everything you need on the trail is crucial, and having the ability to stow and lock all of your goods gives you peace of mind.
Although at first glance the...
Although at first glance the engine bay doesn?t look all too impressive, there is really a great deal of modifications to be revealed. Jack installed a ?69 AMC 304ci engine that has been ported and polished to push over 300 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Custom motor and transmission mounts were made in order to get everything in place. The electronic fuel injection is a 670-cfm Holley Pro-Jection TBI with an MSD ignition system and a Powermaster 105-amp alternator. The transmission is a TF999 with a manual valve body using a Super Duty transmission cooler. All transmission tuning and work was performed by Culhane Racing Transmissions of Lake Elsinore, California. Dual Optima RedTop batteries run the power for this beast: one under the hood and the other between the seats.
With a 12-volt Waeco refrigerator...
With a 12-volt Waeco refrigerator in the back, there is no need for trips to the local grocery store for ice. Even in the 100-degree-plus weather we had during our photo shoot, the Waeco unit kept our water ice cold.