In May of 2016, I received a call from Kerrie Runde and Chris Horak. They asked me if I would find an early Jeep CJ5, buy it and restore and have it ready for when they moved to Boise from Iowa in October 2016. So, that's what we did. I found one for her in Naches, Washington. Thomas drove up and brought it back to our shop. Over the next few months we completely rebuilt the entire Jeep.
Kerrie likes the vintage look and so do we. So the goal was to make it run like a top and be safe and reliable for her and her family. So, the Lil Red CJ5 Restoration Project began.
The original 225 Dauntless Buick V6 was in great condition, but needed some love. So, we cleaned it all up with all new gaskets and seals. We upgraded it to an electronic HEI distributor and an Edelbrock intake manifold. We rebuilt the original Rochester 2bbl carburetor. We installed an aluminum crossflow radiator with a custom AV4x4 signature shroud and Volvo electric fan. Love this engine... My all-time favorite Jeep engine. A true classic!
We stripped the entire Jeep down to the very last bolt. Then we took inventory of what was salvageable and what needed to be replaced. The first thing we noticed was that the original frame had seen better days. It was too far gone. So, we located an original CJ5 frame here in Boise and quickly bought it. It was in beautiful condition with no modifications or damage. We strengthened the most common areas of weakness and got it media blasted and we covered it in a fresh coat of POR15 and Chassis Black. It will last for the next 100 years.
It has a rebuilt 76 CJ5 Dana 30 front with GM flat top knuckles, brakes and Ballistic Fab high steer arms along with AV4x4 1.5"X.25" wall DOM tie rods and 1 ton TRE's. We installed power steering too. The rear 44 is all rebuilt with an 11" drum brake upgrade. We installed power steering, hanging pedals, hydraulic clutch and a Corvette master cylinder. New Tom Woods driveshafts do the dirty work.
The interior of the Lil Red CJ5 is completely new. The dash, the tilt column and dash bezels, switches, Auto Meter gauge cluster, hanging pedals and seat brackets are all custom built by AV4x4. It stays warm with the help of a Mojave Heater. We even wired the wipers and headlights through the tilt column switches. Brand new seats and new shoulder harness seat belts keep it safe. And it’s all kept nice and dry with a Bestop TigerTop.
Everything we did worked beautifully. It is a true pleasure to drive.
Kerrie and Chris arrived from Ohio right on schedule. The big moment had arrived!
We were just as excited as they were. When she saw it in person for the first time, it was an incredible experience. All smiles! After we walked them through all the details and showed off all our hard work, Kerrie and I went for a drive around the block. She totally got it right away; like she's owned it for years.
Then... another big moment arrived. We watched her and Chris drive it away. It’s a wonderful life!
I'm super proud of my guys. Together, we restored and customized another beautiful CJ5 and made dozens of important upgrades to make it the best it could be, while keeping that classic Jeep look and feel.
It makes us so happy to know that we could make another dream come true. We love what we do.
Be sure to check out all the amazing photos and videos that we took along the way. And when you see Kerrie and Chris out on the trail, be sure to stop and say hi.
You will like Kevin before you finish shaking hands with him the first time. Check out his shop, it is immaculate. He is the consummate perfectionist. I had Kevin replace the anemic 2.73 gears with 4.88's and E-lockers front and rear in my 1986 CJ7. He also worked his magic on my steering system, which is now bullet proof with his custom touches. If you want someone working on your rig who cares as much about it as you do, then choose American Vintage 4x4 to do the work. I could not be happier!Eric C.
There are always incredible projects going on here at AV4x4. We build some of the most amazing 4x4's available anywhere. And we love sharing it with the world. Check out our latest builds and read about the amazing behind the scenes stories.