Rare C101 Convertible Deluxe - The JeepsterMan

Rare C101 Convertible Deluxe

Hey welcome to Gearz. You know one of the biggest challenges that you can face on a project is when you start out with a plan or an idea and then something happens that completely blows that out of the water! You know maybe the frame is rusted, maybe the vehicle is not what you thought it was... and now you have to re-evaluate the whole project and maybe even change directions. Yeah, it's a dilemma and it's something that we get questions about all the time. So, today we're going to address that exact scenario, and show you how to make make the right decisions and hopefully still come out ahead on your project.
Okay what we have here is a 1967 Jeepster convertible that I found in a garage where it had been pretty much sleeping for a couple of decades. Now I took a quick look at the odometer, it looked like it had just a hair over 100,000 miles on it which makes it the perfect candidate for a custom build. And that was the plan. I was going to do a motor swap and put in bigger axles and wheels and tires and do all kinds of cool "Jeepy" stuff to it. So I was looking at a level three resto-mod style project... until I got it back to the shop here and started looking at it closely.
Looking past the cheap repaint that somebody did years ago, the old Jeep started to reveal some secrets. First of all a quick look at the VIN tag showed it was an ultra rare 8701 Deluxe convertible that had the factory continental kit in back, along with the short fiberglass shelf and the non-functional tailgate as well as the aluminum side trim. The Buick V6 engine and the turbo 400 transmission with the console were also top options for the Jeepster in '67, as was the power top. However it was the tightness in the original door hinges, and the steering, and the lack of arm and foot wear on the doors and the floors that made me start to suspect that this was not the old beater that we originally thought it was. The final clue was the original wiring under the hood, and the assembly marks on the firewall put on by the workers as it rolled down the assembly line in 1967. Yep, there's no doubt about it... that's not 108,000 miles on the odometer... it's 8,000 original miles on the clock.

Now we got a problem. A first year Jeepster with only 8,000 original miles on it is not only rare, but it also has the potential to be very valuable... in original condition. So, there's the dilemma; what do you do? Well I always say it's ultimately your vehicle, you can do what you want with it, but to cut something like this up into a trail rig would just be crazy. So, if you are bound and determined to have a trail rig out of a Jeepster, your best bet would be to sell this to a restorer... take the money that you make, buy yourself an old beat up body and build your trail rig. However, if you decide to keep the project, your next decision is how do you plan on restoring it? And you basically have two choices here: number one, keep it all original. Number two, do some modifications to it that don't detract from the originality, but make it more drivable. If you're a collector, the first way is probably the way to go. If you want to enjoy the vehicle and drive it, the second way is how you want to go.

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