Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sno Leopard Part 1: The Hunt

I was at work the other night, and one of my regulars came in to pick up a part he ordered.  This guy builds crazy lifted trucks in his free time, and I'd talked to him before about Alaska and lifting a Vic, but not seriously.  He always said I should go four wheel drive, and I just dismissed it as opposing viewpoints.  I mean, I wasn't gonna lift the car anyways, right?  Well, then I realized that I wasn't going to be able to build the Ranger for Alaska, but then I saw this:

Now that's a look!
This I could get into, and in my mind, I figured I could just get one of those lifts for the big rims and slap on mud tires instead.  So I started talking to him about lifting my Vic with this kind of "not quite the intended use, but should get the job done" method (a method I normally embrace wholeheartedly). He explained there are different types of these lifts and that some would work better than others for what I was talking about doing, but in the end he says to me, "you should just do what I've been saying all along; make it four wheel drive with some Grand Cherokee axles (because they are both coil spring vehicles with control arms and you'd only need to add brackets), and find a pull-stick transfer case from an F-150 that'll bolt right in, a couple of driveshafts, and you're good to go."  (That might not all be a direct quote, but close enough you get the points he made.)  For some reason, I hadn't heard all this the first eight times we talked about it, and this time a light went on. (Also knowing of a rusted out ZJ for $200 helped convince me.) Then he added on, "I've got a set of axles at my shop that I'm not gonna use," and I was hooked.  I went on the glorious list by Craig that night, and I even found a 4R100 and transfer case out of an Expedition for only $100!  I later was told not to get that because it's probably push-button, but still!  The wheels were turning in my head at full speed by now, and it was really hard to concentrate at work.

People who know me and my Crown Vic fetish will know that I put a veritable shit ton of money into the suspension on my current Vic.  While I only paid $1250 for the car, I probably stuck another $2000 of suspension under it between neglected maintenance and upgrades.  It handles really good now, let me tell you!  Needless to say, I didn't want to scrap that, and with the nearly rust free body and frame, I wasn't too interested in goin' all Mike Finnegan on the wheel wells.  Quick!  Back to the Craig's Cave!  Oh man!  Look what I found!  It's even old man blue!!

For the record, this is the second worst color they put on a Vic.  My uncle had a salmon colored one.  Excuse me while I go puke...
I found this little beauty for only $300, and it was only 2 hours and 40 minutes from me, and it ran rough, wouldn't go over 25-30 mph, and I don't have a trailer, and my tow vehicle needs a tranny!  (I really hope your voice went up in pitch from giddy anticipation as much as mine did. Otherwise, I'd feel bad that you missed out.)  $300. Score!  I txted the guy the next morning, and he said he'd hold it for a week with the assumption that I understood it wasn't a daily driver at this point.  I asked everyone I knew who liked cars if I could borrow a trailer (or if they even had one), but then it hit me; if I dragged it to my southern mechanic and left it there for a while, I bet I could get AAA to tow it!  I mapped it out, and sure enough, 81 miles if we took the back roads!  My plan cover 4 tows annually up to 100 miles each time.  This looked like it was going to work!  Chicagoland, here I come!

No comments:

Post a Comment