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Posted on: September 11, 2013 at 3:47 PM
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I Had No Choice!

I often say that I don't find cars, they find me. But what about car parts?

I just returned from a visit to the Yosemite National Park, and as much as I enjoyed seeing the enormous, ancient Sequoia trees and amazing rock formations, as a car guy I couldn’t help but spend a little time at the local flea markets looking for old car books and parts. I ended up purchasing half a dozen great hardback books, an old Texas license plate and a speedometer.

I wouldn’t normally purchase a speedometer unless it was for a project. But in this case, the speedo was in great shape, was only $15 and I knew it was from on old Jeep CJ7, whereas the seller, who looked like Yosemite Sam, did not. I love the old CJ Jeeps and once owned a CJ5 for a while but sold it because it had a Chevy 350 engine that never really meshed well with the old stump-puller original transmission that was still in the Jeep. Plus, the CJ5’s are pretty small, and I never really fit in the driver’s seat.

A few days prior to purchasing the speedometer, between hikes in the park, I was cruising Craigslist and noticed a 1984 CJ7 for sell just a couple miles from my home. The jeep looked to be in good shape and was offered at a pretty reasonable price, but the owner indicated that it needed work, which is how I like them. So when I returned to Lakeland I called the owner and made plans to see the Jeep.

When we met, the owner explained that the Jeep’s brakes were out, the battery was dead due to a short and the engine wasn’t getting gas and therefore didn’t run. Again, just like I like ‘em! And get this – the speedometer didn’t work! Well, obviously since I had a speedometer seeking a car, I had no choice but to make an offer. We settled on an attractive price, and I had the new Jeep towed to my house.

My wife wasn’t as enthusiastic about this new project as I was. She reminded me that I had just acquired an old Harley that also wasn’t running (that’s another story.) Plus, she reasoned that I had recently sold a Jeep just like it! I wanted to respond that this Jeep was nothing like the other Jeep, this was a CJ7 with the original engine, but I kept that information to myself. I also elected not to share my logic about the speedometer.

Well, I went to work on the cars ills. I discovered that the brakes weren’t working because the fluid level had fallen low and let air into the lines, the gas wasn’t getting to the carb because of a clogged fuel filter and the battery was dead due to a bad battery cable. Several hours and $10 in parts later I was driving the Jeep around the neighborhood. It still needs some work, but there nothing more satisfying for a motor head then to hear that engine come to life.

Fun Facts: CJ stands for civilian jeep. The term Jeep came from GP or general purpose. The CJ5 was based on the military version of the Jeep. The CJ7 was 10 inches longer then the CJ5 and was the first version designed for civilian use.

Jones Garage will be a monthly column by Kevin Jones, President of MIDFLORIDA and certified car guy to talk about his cars and automobilia and the cars of MIDFLORIDA’s members. In addition to his stories, we will feature a different member’s car and story each month. Please email your car story with a picture of your car to Julie Townsend at jtownsend@MIDFLORIDA.com

A special prize will be awarded if we use your car in an issue of Jones Garage.