This little Jeep likely started life as a rural mail truck with a Buick/Dauntless V6, but the current owner saw fit to cram in a Dodge 318 and 727 Torqueflite. It’s a two-seater with a tiny bed, but should be all one needs to tool around a Florida Key or go to Cars and Coffee in warm conditions.
The seller has done a good job of describing this little beast: “This thing is a head turner for sure…people seem to love it,probably because it’s so ridiculous and unnecessary. It’s loud, obnoxious, rides like a go-kart, but fits in small parking spots….it’s perfect for Key West and that’s all I’d recommend it for; its not a cross country cruiser. I didn’t build it for aesthetics or comfort, just to be a one of a kind toy. “
Note that no 4WD Jeeps were harmed in the creation of this toy, as these little CJ-5s featured 2WD from the start. Basically, this is a small step up from a tractor, but the 318 with open exhaust should provide plenty of grunt in this lightweight beast and is guaranteed to produce a sound that inspires plenty of smiles.
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Key West, FL, USA
$3,700 with ZERO bids and 1.25 days to go
No one can say this isn’t unique, and we imagine this truck sounds great.
As previously noted, there will be no mistaking this for anything else.
Front looks fairly normal, save for the missing hood.
Rear features nice wood making up a largely useless bed. Still, for cruising Key West as low speed, one could put a couple passengers back there.
Rear view shows LED lights.
Interior is about as spartan as one would expect. Hunk ‘o wood dash is a nice touch.
Sears are as utilitarian as the rest.
Here’s the Dodge 318 with the custom, partial headers described by the seller.
I am begrudgingly selling my rat rod jeep project that I’ve built over the course of a few years.
Originally a CA car (except for the last 2 years it’s been here in Key West), I bought it in the San Francisco Bay Area after someone had crashed into the rear while it was parked on the road. It barely ran, had the original straight 6 in, and was a mess.
For those of you who don’t know, the DJ-5 series is an automatic, 2wd jeep from the factory. Often used as rural mail trucks, the DJ-5 often comes right and drive. This is a left hand drive, but I suspect that someone changed it to LHD before I got it.
Anyway, after I bought the truck, I quickly realized it was in worse shape than I thought – bad transmission (old borg warner garbage), the rims were bent, the entire back half of the truck was crushed…just a mess and not worth restoring to it’s original glory. So, I decided to have fun with it and make a one of a kind toy. Since I knew I was going to be moving to Key West, what better than a tiny, open air hot rod?
I cut the entire back half off the truck and custom built a small pick-up bed, complete with a redwood base, and LED tail lights. I also installed new rear shocks, and a new gas tank with sending unit. I built a roll bar (not load bearing) to support the custom vinyl top which is necessary for that intense FL sun.
The dashboard was bent and the guages were broken, so I built a redwood dash to match the bed, installed new gauges and indicator lights, and threw on a dock cleat “oh shit” handle on the passenger side. Two waterproof marine seats rounded out the interior.
I decided that the straight 6 just wasn’t going to cut it. I found dodge 318 cubic inch V8 (casting# 4104230-318-3, which google says is a “race engine”) that was paired with a torqueflight 727 automatic transmission. I figured why not, and bought it. I yanked out the old 6 cylinder and transmission and shoehorned this giant motor in this tiny chassis. It required fabricating custom motor mounts, custom transmission mounts, and a custom drive shaft.
In order to fit the engine, and the new 4 core aluminum racing radiator (with electric fan) into the engine bay, I had to push the nose of the truck forward about 4 inches. In doing so, the front fenders and hood had to go. I made a simple sheet metal hood and went ahead with the fenderless hot rod look.
Obviously, no one makes an exhaust system for a 318 crammed into a ’73 DJ5, so I had to buy header flanges and just throw on some short turndowns as zoomie headers. I welded some large nuts inside the pipes to give it a touch of back pressure. However, I have 25′ of flexible exhaust tubing, 2 collectors, 2 old flowmasters, header wrap, and all the associated hangers/hardware necessary to create your own headers. I haven’t gotten around to taking on that project yet, so I will be including all those materials along with the jeep.
After getting the engine all set up, I removed every inch of original wiring and threw it away. I installed brand new wiring from front to back, and threw in a new fuse block. I also added recessed LED marker/turn signals in the front, and took a few leaf springs out to let it sit a little lower.
I changed out the original rims because they were bent. I also chopped about 7″ off the windshield because the wiper motor and linkage was missing when I bought it. So yeah, this is a sunny day car since there’s no wipers.
After getting everything all set up, I sprayed the whole truck in a 2 part tractor enamel paint. It’s supposed to be rather resilient and seems to be holding up so far (3 years). Since I’ve had it, it was always garage kept in CA, and under a car cover here in KW. The truck is virtually rust free for being 43 years old.
Since getting it on the road I’ve done a transmission service, tune-up, new points, newish battery, fuel pump, and 4 brand new tires…they have about 7 miles on them.
This thing is a head turner for sure…people seem to love it,probably because it’s so ridiculous and unnecessary. It’s loud, obnoxious, rides like a go-kart, but fits in small parking spots….it’s perfect for Key West and that’s all I’d recommend it for; its not a cross country cruiser. I didn’t build it for aesthetics or comfort, just to be a one of a kind toy.
I’ve put countless hours into this thing and a lot more money than I’d care to think about.
Please don’t waste my time or yours. No joy rides or other time-wasting nonsense. I’ve got a clean FL title in my name…cash talks.
Local pickup only, no warranty, as is.