So this journey has had 3 basic phases for me. Buying and enjoying this jeep for a few years as it was...then progressing into a pretty decent build by my buddies fab shop...then finally my dream of a ground up transformation which i have done myself. I am documenting this not only to share the experiences with you but to keep the pictures and information in one thread for future reference. So let's start. I bought this thing back in 2012 right when i graduated from college. I have always off-roaded and it was a matter of time before i got a jeep and put the dirt bike away. Having the V8 swap was a good trade off between dune driving and hard pack cruising and that really sold me on it. Here are the pictures of the jeep back in its glory along with what it looked like when i purchased it. The blue boat carpeting really adds to the theme...yikes. I knew the original owner and this thing was sold off the lot with a burgundy/maroon color and he somehow opted to do a weird silver blue fade over the years...i will change this. The jeep had a sbc 355, port/polish, performer intake, B&M shifter and just basic comp cam parts. Honestly, it was a very good motor for what it was and paired with some paddle tires got me up every dune. I ripped out the carpet and spray lined it with a "at home" kit. I added some basic switches, stereo, newer gauges but basically kept it as was for a year or two. Phase 2 started when a good friend of mine decided to open a fabrication shop. He worked on off road trucks and hot rods so he needed a first project...and i jumped at the opening. He has a similar CJ he built and based the rebuild off past work to his own jeep. We left the motor and tranny alone for this one. New cage and seat mounts, fuel cell, D44 axles and new leafs, lockers, shocks, bumpers, fuel cell, disc brakes. basically everything under the tub would be new. He stretched it 9'' over stock and allowed for better articulation and a smoother ride. i was super happy with this and enjoyed it for a few years.