Hal Cornelison was quite satisfied driving his '85 Jeep CJ-7 every day, commuting to and from work. When he began upgrading the rig with a few different modifications to increase its performance, he still considered it just a daily driver and nothing more. One day, he took the Jeep to a local truck show and earned himself a trophy for his hard work; that trophy changed everything. That day, the Jeep was rolled into Hal's home garage and all hell broke lose. Hal still drives his Jeep to and from every show he attends, but, in between, it's locked safely away from the harsh East Coast winters. Here's a look at what changed on this Jeep during its initial stint inside Hal's garage.
For starters, the CJ was lifted 7 inches higher than stock. This was accomplished by installing Skyjacker 2-inch leaf springs, Con-Ferr 2-inch shackles, and a 3-inch body lift. A quartet of Skyjacker shocks are located up front, and another pair of Skyjacker shocks damp the rear suspension. Because Hal decided to turn his Jeep into a showpiece, the entire chassis and suspension was sprayed with contrasting black and red paint. To complete the package, Hal installed a set of 15x10-inch American Racing Atlas aluminum rims and 35x12.50x15 Baja Claw tires.
To help churn up the earth and spin the new tires efficiently, Hal pulled the stock motor from the Jeep and installed a tuned-port, fuel-injected 5.0L V-8 engine taken from a late-'80s Chevy Camaro. The powerplant features a K&N Filtercharger, TPI airfoil, underdrive pulleys, and 160-degree thermostat, all of which were strategically chosen to increase the power output of the motor. In addition to the bolt-on items, a 2.5-inch ceramic-coated exhaust system was installed, complete with Headman headers and Dynomax turbo mufflers. A complete MSD ignition system fires the 300hp small-block motor. A T-176 transmission transfers the power to an AMC 20 rearend with a 3.54 gear ratio. A Dana 300 transfer case motivates the Dana 30 front axle and wheels.
Hal took it upon himself to outfit his Jeep for off-road duty and performed the necessary bodywork along the way. He started by adding diamond tread rocker panels and rear corner plates to protect the Jeep's body from rocks and other trail debris. He then added Smittybilt double tube bumpers front and rear and a set of 6-inch KC Highlites.
|Owner: ||Tom (Hal) Cornelison III |
|Year/make/model: ||’85 Jeep CJ-7 |
|Engine: ||Chevrolet 305 small-block |
|Transmission: ||T-176 |
|Gear ratio: ||3.54 |
|Suspension: ||Skyjacker dampers, 2-inch leaf |
springs, and 2-inch shackles
|Tires/wheels: ||35/12.5/15 Baja Claw |
Racing Atlas wheels
|Additional features: ||Billet aluminum interior |
accessories; Steel Horse seating;
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