84 Australian Overlander frame off restomod

City
Brisbane
State
QL
#1
I originally purchased this back at the beginning of 2016, the first photos were the sellers shots used in the add. The jeep was located in Western Australia, approximately 200 miles north of Perth, as I live on the East Coast I decided to take the chance and purchase sight unseen. This is the second Overlander I have owned and I had been looking for a replacement for a couple of years after selling the first. CJ8's are pretty scarce over here, its virtually impossible to pin down exact numbers built and how many are left, I would be surprised if there were anymore than 40/50 in total now.
 
City
Brisbane
State
QL
#6
As the Jeep was a Western Australia vehicle I was confident that rust would / shouldn't be an issue, (hot dry climate, think Arizona / Texas equivalent) I was assured she started and ran and was used regularly so a price was agreed and she began her long road trip, 4000 + miles East. Arriving in Brisbane about 2 weeks later. Next pics are the ones I took when she arrived.
 
City
Brisbane
State
QL
#12
She was a little rougher than I had expected although I wasn't overly concerned as I had always planned to carry out a restoration anyway. The first puzzle was the engine. There was an AMC 304 fitted, not an option here for any jeep and a pretty rare engine in Australia generally in fact other than the rambler I can't think of anything that would have had them here so an unusual choice. I had already asked PO about this but had been done before his time so at least 10 years prior. It was also a dual fuel set up running on petrol or LPG so the original fuel tank was replaced with the one you can see and a large gas bottle was mounted in front of the rear axle.
 

DeLuke

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Dallas
State
TX
#13
I remember when on Gumtree and definitely wondered about the 304. Where did that come from? Who over there knew to drop it in a AMC Jeep. Thought the 304 would be nice though. I emailed the seller and thought this would be great for a restoration. Seemed to be missing a few thing but great bones. He never replied though. No problem, because if Andrew hadn’t bought it, I would never have mine.

Have seen some of Andrews restoration pics. This is going to be one awesome Overlander when he’s done. Stay tuned!
 
City
Brisbane
State
QL
#15
Thanks for the comments guys. The 304 was the first hurdle in my plans I had an idea for a mild build but trying to find a local shop that had experience with AMC engines was proving difficult and the ones that I did talk to were quoting upwards of $6000, ($5000USD) for a rebuild to standard specs. The odometer reading was 289,000 kilometres so the engine rebuild was put on the back burner until I could get time to inspect the transmission.

Right around this time a completely out of nowhere the blue Overlander appeared for sale about 30 minutes from me, as you will see in Michaels post this was an absolute gem and within an hour of it being posted I had managed to get through to the owner, paid a deposit and arranged to get down to view that evening. The seller wasnt a Jeep guy, in fact it was an older couple and they were selling as it was too hard for them to get in and out of anymore. When I was down viewing the guy told me that he had to turn his phone off due to the number of enquiries he had been getting and that he had a list of people to call if I didn't buy, poor guy seemed a bit shell shocked by it all!

So now I had that all to familiar problem of too many jeeps and not enough time, money or space to keep them all. At this stage I had the two CJ8 Overlanders a CJ6 Overlander and a JKU. The CJ6 Overlander is a uniquely Australian jeep although this one had been extensively modified by the previous owner, see pic below. I had done a few things to it but to be honest I never fell in love with it and it was bloody uncomfortable to drive for anybody taller than 5ft. Either the Brown Overlander or the 6 had to go, so I thought I would let fate decide and put them both up for sale.
 
City
Brisbane
State
QL
#16
On my way home after purchasing the 6. Shortly after this was taken I ran into the rear of another car, the JK was unable to continue so I had the insurance company come and collect it put the car trailer on the back of the CJ and drove the remaining 600 miles home. It was during this drive I realised we would never be an item 😂
image.jpg
 
Last edited:
City
Brisbane
State
QL
#18
This is where things languished for about a year. Lots of tyre kickers looked over both jeeps during this time. I got a couple of low ball offers but I wasn't prepared to just give either away. Finally I got a good offer for the CJ6 about three weeks before we were due to move house which I accepted, so the decision was made and brown would be restored.

During this time Brown had sat on the drive I started her every couple of weeks just to keep things from deteriorating. Every time I would look her over it became clear she was going to need a bit more work than I had initially thought. For many years she had been run without the hard top fitted. When she arrived this had just been placed back on and here another problem became obvious.
image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
 
City
Brisbane
State
QL
#19
The alignment between the doors, windscreen frame and roof was out. I could make adjustments to the windscreen frame angle to allow the roof to sit flat but then it would be at the wrong angle to match the door, adjusting the door created a gap to the tub and on it went. Although the rest of the jeep had been resprayed, poorly!, the hard top was still original paint and I couldn't see any reason for this being part of the problem. At this stage I was weighing up the following options for the restore,

Sell the top and doors and restore her as a scrambler with scrambler half top, curved doors and tail gate. Rebuild the 304,(converted back to petrol only,TF919 and Dana 300. Appealing but the only options were to ship everything required from the US and with the Aussie dollar having fallen some 30% in the last few years this was going to be prohibitively expensive.

Replace the entire drive line with a pre 95 XJ drive line including engine, again options for a suitable donor were limited and even the ones I could find were silly money and with upwards of 250,000 miles I would still be looking at an engine rebuild.

Small block Chevy crate engine, transmission upgrade and transfer refresh, probably the easiest and with new crate engines available for less than the 304 rebuild probably the most sensible. Before anyone comments about the LS option this is not really possible due to state laws etc and even if it could be done it would require sign off by an automotive engineer at every stage of the build including upgrading diffs, brakes etc etc not impossible but I didn't want to get stuck in that financial rabbit warren!

So with the most promising options researched I chose.... None of the above and decided to go in a completely different direction!
 
Top