My 1972 Fj40 Build (3 Viewers)

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Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
Well I had planned to wait until I had made a good bit of progress before posting this, but I'm excited and parts are taking awhile so I might as well get started. I'll start out with a little background, my dad has been a fan of 40's for a long time. Unfortunately it has never worked out for him to be able to get one. His liking of them however, got passed onto me pretty early and I've wanted one since I was a little kid. This past May, I graduated from college and got my first real job which meant I finally had the ability to seriously start looking for one. I got so busy with moving and settling into my new job though that it got pushed to the back burner for a while. Then, back in November, I was visiting a few of my friends that are still in school and just happened to find this in a parking lot in town.
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Needless to say, seeing it reminded me that I needed to start looking and the hunt was on. For the next couple weeks, I was all over craigslist and facebook marketplace. One day, I found this.
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It looked pretty nice but when I saw the price I immediately scrolled past because it was over the budget I had set. About a week later, after finding nothing but either junk piles or 40K plus dollar restorations, I decided I should check it out again. I went back to the ad and luckily it was still available. I looked through the rest of pictures and saw that besides the weird rear bumper, tow bar, spare mount on the hood, and being spray painted, it seemed to be in pretty good, original shape. There wasn't much information in the ad so after I went back and forth for awhile, I decided it couldn't hurt to just message the guy and try to find out a little more about it. We went back and forth a few times and I ended up asking if I could go look at it. He said he was busy so it would be a couple weeks before I could come out which was fine. For the next couple weeks, I kept looking but didn't find anything I liked, so I messaged him again. He said he was good for me to come take a look. I told my dad about it and we decided to go that weekend. At first I was just planning on going for a look, but my dad convinced me if we were driving over there I might as well take a trailer and some money just in case. So I got that together and that Sunday after church we hit the road. We got to the place it was being stored and the guy told me I could hop in and pull it out of the garage to get a better look if I wanted. I hop in, hit the key, it turns over once or twice, and then nothing. The key was completely dead. Thankfully it turned out to just be the battery so we pushed it out a little, hooked up the jumper cables, and it fired right up. While I let it warm up, I took a good look at everything. I crawled under it and over it and looked at everything. I was very happy with what I found. The underside was really dirty but from pushing and tapping on everything it all seemed very solid. The interior and body was also really solid and in good shape. The drivetrain was all original but looked pretty good. The rear seats were in it and it had a spare, an old hi-lift jack, a set of jumper cables, and a little storage tray above the front seats which were a nice bonus. At that point I was really liking everything and it was warmed up so I decided it was time to take it for a test drive. I hopped in and went to take it around the block. This was my first time driving a 40, but I had read plenty of warnings on here about how slow they are, how bad they ride, how bad they drive, and how bad they stop so I was a little nervous. Everything went great though, I got it up to about 55 on the test drive and it rode bumpy but no worse than I expected, tracked well, the steering was fine, and the brakes worked great. Once I got back, I was really wanting it but still wasn't quite ready because it was a good bit more money than I had planned on. Then the guy told me the story of how he got it. The guy he bought it from had bought it new off the lot in Birmingham in 1972. After that, he had just used it around his farm and hunting camp in Montevallo, AL until he died in 2021. From there it had sat for awhile, until his daughter decided to sell it. The guy I was talking to had bought it, kept it for a few months but then I guess decided he didn't have time for it and decided to sell it again. Then he pulled out a folder and started showing me paperwork. The original owner was super meticulous. He had the paperwork for pretty much everything that had ever been done to it. The coolest parts were he had the receipt from 1972 when he bought it from the dealership, the original owners card, and the paperwork from when it was imported to the US from Japan. After finding out I would basically be the second owner and seeing all the super cool paperwork that went with it, I knew I had to have it. We talked for awhile and I got to a number that was way more than I had intended on paying when I started my search but one that I felt like it was worth. Then we loaded it up and brought it home.
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Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
Hope y'all like pictures.
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I didn't even think to check until after I got home, but it happened to work out that it was produced in Dec 1971 and my birthday, while later by a good many years, is also in Dec.
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Started cleaning it out a little.
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Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
I forgot to mention and don't have a picture right now but it also still has the original jack under the seat and the handles in the back.

The first thing I did was pull everything out of it and clean the interior. I vacuumed all the loose dirt and leaves and various other trash out first. Then washed it all out, scrubbed it, and washed it all out again. I forgot to really take any before pictures but I was really happy with how it came out.
Here's the one before picture I got.
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Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
The next thing I wanted to do was clean the outside and especially underneath very well. I wasn't in a huge hurry though so to help cut the dirt and grease I sprayed the engine bay and underside with degreaser every couple days and let it soak in. After a couple weeks of that, I took it to a car wash, put it on jack stands, pulled the tires off, and gave it a deep clean.
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I remembered the before pics this time but forgot the afters. Overall I was happy with how it cleaned up. Getting all the dirt off the underside also let me get a better look at it as far as rust goes. I was very happy to find that everything is in pretty perfect shape. Everything seemed pretty solid.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
So I've had it about a month and a half now. I'm absolutely loving it. I've put around 250 miles on it. The longest one way trip in that time has only been about 50 miles but it has been great. I drove it to work one morning when it was around 27 degrees. All I had to do was pump the gas three times, choke it, and it fired right up after turning over maybe 3 or 4 times. I've gotten it up to 65 and it seems to cruising at about 62. It tracks straight and even though it's four wheel drums, it stops very well. The one thing that was annoying me was part of the exhaust gasket had blown out and it had a terrible exhaust leak which I've gathered is pretty common. After looking around here, I decided to replace it with a Remflex gasket. I forgot to take any pictures during the process but it's been covered before and is a very simple job. Didn't take long at all and fixed the problem right up. It sounds much better now.
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I've been putting it to work some too.
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Joined
May 6, 2020
Messages
692
Location
Seattle
Looks solid and complete. Congrats! That tow bar is/was beefy.

Also nice work flipping the bezel before the authorities were called 🚨!
 
Joined
May 6, 2020
Messages
692
Location
Seattle
It's pretty cool that you have all that paper work. I just noticed though...where's your spare tire?

Edit: carrier. Spare tire carrier I mean.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
The main thing I'm working on right now is the paint. The history is on the color is kind of confusing. While we were cleaning the interior, my dad noticed there were two different greens. There was the rattle can green that's on the exterior but also a kind of olive green that actually looked pretty nice. It was white from the factory which I could see when I pressure washed the bottom. Apparently at some point though the original owner decided to have it resprayed to an olive color. It looks like it was a pretty good job too. In a few places where it has come off, you can see that it was primed over the white and they also didn't spray around much. Most everything was removed. After that though he apparently decided to cover that with the spray paint that is on it now. Why you would pay a bunch of money for a nice paint job and then spray paint over I can't say but once we found out what was underneath we decided the spray paint had to go. One of my favorite people to follow on here is @wngrog. I've spent a decent amount of time in his preserving patina thread and picked up some tips from him as well as @dogfishlake for removing rattle can. We started with lacquer thinner and a gray scuff pad on the passenger front. I say we but it was really my dad deserves most of the credit. He's been helping me on it a ton. But anyway, we stripped all the spray paint off, washed it, and then my dad buffed it out just to see what it would look like. I'm super happy with the result.
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After seeing this, I'm definitely going to be cleaning every bit of spray paint off of it. It's going to take a while but it's got to go. I'm going to be putting the roof and bezel back to white but besides that I'm not planning on any new paint. That pretty much catches us up to where I am now. I feel like that was a lot at once but I think this 40 has a pretty neat story so hopefully someone else enjoys it too.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
It's pretty cool that you have all that paper work. I just noticed though...where's your spare tire?

Edit: carrier. Spare tire carrier I mean.
That is a mystery. The part that was bolted onto the hood is off of the carrier but the carrier itself was nowhere to be found. The guy I bought it from didn't know anything about it. It's not a huge deal because I plan to put a 4plus carrier on it, but I still would have liked to have it.
 
Joined
May 6, 2020
Messages
692
Location
Seattle
That is a mystery. The part that was bolted onto the hood is off of the carrier but the carrier itself was nowhere to be found. The guy I bought it from didn't know anything about it. It's not a huge deal because I plan to put a 4plus carrier on it, but I still would have liked to have it.

Oh! I just noticed that your "hood scoop" is part of the carrier. Someone must have covered the mounting holes on the back of the tub. You might find some surprises under that primer, but I'd keep going with removing it.

Keep the pics coming!
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2011
Messages
706
Location
Lakewood, WA
Your 40 is awesome. Good luck getting all the spray paint off, that olive color looks great. I am also the 3rd owner of a former hunting cruiser and had to undo more than a few crazy modifications the previous owner did. 👍
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Gulfport, MS
I’m a little confused and am hoping someone can help me out. I’m looking to get a spare tire carrier soon and just assumed I’d put it on the passenger side because from what I understand that’s factory on a 72. It hit me the other day though that my tag and tag light are on the passenger side rear door. Am I wrong on what side the spare tire should be on or did someone move my tag to the wrong door at some point?
 

Pura Vida

What an absolute noob
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
899
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
However, this truck has ambulance doors. Originally, 1972 had barn doors. The top looks to be a 1975 top, or an earlier (possibly 1972) top modified to use ambulance doors

This one actually looks like a factory soft top upon closer inspection. That is rarer and cooler IMO. I can’t remember if those had a tailgate, or just half rear doors, but again, the current rear doors are not OEM.

The license plate holder is not OEM for this model year
 

sterling

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
910
Location
the Dek GA
Congrats on the 40 it looks solid.
Having the original paperwork along with the story is nice as well.

Did the owner pass on a gauge cluster?

Looks like someone swapped the cluster to a foreign market unit that measures in KM.
Enjoy it! And keep the pics of the new(old) paint reveal coming.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2011
Messages
706
Location
Lakewood, WA
It does look like you may have a 75+ hardtop and ambulance doors on your 71. Spare carrier was on the driver's side for that style top to allow the rear passenger side door to open easily and the license plate was on that door as well during those years. Unfortunately with your current taillights it doesn't look like a spare carrier would be able to fit or function on either side. Probably why the previous owner went land rover and mounted the spare on the hood. 🤔
 

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