• Forum membership has its advantages....

Mid Engine Jeep Madness

Mike N. Stein

Active Member
Greetings Everyone! So you know that feeling when you wake up hung-over and you realize you just bought a vintage off road racing mid engine jeep from the last century? No? Then you are smarter than me.

So I bought Glen Emery's Mid Engine jeep and this thing is really cool. Buick 215, m151 suspension all around, V-drive. 14 ujoints and 14 shocks, etc. So my goal was to fix it up as is, and racing in NORRA vintage class. It runs and drives, (very fun) needs lots of little stuff, worn ball joints, a-arm bushings, u-joints, etc. There was no grease anywhere in anything.

Question 1: Keep it vintage? This rig is cool to look at the history of design but its all old and weak parts are really out dated. I want to rip out all of the old m151 arms and steering. Replace all of that will modern. Leave the rest as is. Does any one really care about vintage builds? It was for sale for a long time and no one bought it, I'm thinking no. NOTE: It came with lot and lots of spare parts.

Question 2: Any reason to keep the vintage look? I'm not looking to change the body but clean it up ditch all the old stickers and such, none of them are special, save one small Mint 400 sticker from 1990.

So friends, let me know your advise. I love history and sentiment, but a 67 Camero with an LS swap is cool too.

May 1981 Mint 400 23.jpg


CenterlineImages.1978.Mint 400.317.Emery.jeep.21x.jpg
Desert Dog 1.jpg
Four Wheeler 1977 Mint 400 3.jpg
Four Wheeler 1977 Mint 400 4.jpg
 

retroblazer

Well-Known Member
Congratulations, you bought a very special vehicle. For those us that started as 4x4 fans, Glen’s Jeep and Mizel’s Bronco represents two of the best examples of Class 4 and modified four wheel drives.
My recommendation is don’t update. First, the drivetrain is limited, so other than freshening parts, keep it as is. As four wheel drive racer myself, I can tell you it’s not easy to get 4wd to last in the desert.




Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert
 

Class3Fan

Well-Known Member
Please ... please ... please don't do anything but freshen it. We need more period-correct vintage rigs. This one won a lot of races and was competitive for years. Except for removing the windshield that's not original I'd do what others have suggested -- replace all the parts that wear, make sure the safety equipment is up to snuff, and put it to work in the dirt.
 

brad inch

Well-Known Member
i know that the other one that bill todd owned was updated with corvette difs and a chevy motor.maybe just update the dif and axles.i drove your car a little ways one time and the coilovershock on the seat was strange but worked pretty cool.is it still on there?,glen was a cool guy.
good luck brad
 

germancarsonly

Well-Known Member
Greetings Everyone! So you know that feeling when you wake up hung-over and you realize you just bought a vintage off road racing mid engine jeep from the last century? No? Then you are smarter than me.

So I bought Glen Emery's Mid Engine jeep and this thing is really cool. Buick 215, m151 suspension all around, V-drive. 14 ujoints and 14 shocks, etc. So my goal was to fix it up as is, and racing in NORRA vintage class. It runs and drives, (very fun) needs lots of little stuff, worn ball joints, a-arm bushings, u-joints, etc. There was no grease anywhere in anything.

Question 1: Keep it vintage? This rig is cool to look at the history of design but its all old and weak parts are really out dated. I want to rip out all of the old m151 arms and steering. Replace all of that will modern. Leave the rest as is. Does any one really care about vintage builds? It was for sale for a long time and no one bought it, I'm thinking no. NOTE: It came with lot and lots of spare parts.

Question 2: Any reason to keep the vintage look? I'm not looking to change the body but clean it up ditch all the old stickers and such, none of them are special, save one small Mint 400 sticker from 1990.

So friends, let me know your advise. I love history and sentiment, but a 67 Camero with an LS swap is cool too.

View attachment 193004

View attachment 193000View attachment 193001View attachment 193002View attachment 193003
Keep it as close to the way it was built as possible. This race car is a rubber tired piece of off-road racing history. There are a very limited number of older race cars that didn't get butchered in later years. If you don't want to restore it and really want to update it. Please sell it to someone that will restore it and with the money buy a more modern race car for yourself.
 

Mike N. Stein

Active Member
Thanks Gents! In my heart of hearts, this rig belongs in an off-road museum somewhere. It has so many incredible innovations:

1. 4x4 independent suspension.
2. Early or first long-travel suspension. Glen attached the rear shocks to the upper a-arm then tied the upper and lowers together to get more travel with old KYB shocks and staggered those.
3. Mid engine 4x4. V-drive
4. Posi trac front and back for full time all-wheel drive.
5. It can be set up with all wheel steering.
6. Seats are hinged with coil over in back....Fox is just now working on this. Glen did it in the 60's
7. It won the Mint 400 in class 1990 and back in the 60's (i'm fuzzy on all of the race s it won.) Love to get a record of its history.
8. I was told it has the very first "fresh air system" made from an old heater fan and tractor air filter housing (have that) but has an upgraded one two.
9. chains wrapped in hoses for limit straps.

Glen was truly an inventor! I even have his notebook.

So, I'll restore it and and race it. But, I could use some help/advise/tips. The engine/trans needs to be rebuilt, compression is all over the place, lots of lifter noise, carbon, etc. Had to rebuild the oil pump, it had maybe
5-3 psi at idle, now it has 15-20 but the damage may have been done. No idea how long it was that way.

So if you can point me to someone who might be able to help me, or give me advice from time to time that would be a great help. I do not have the money toss around. (working stiff) Biggest thing it needs in fresh engine and trans. It came with an extra long block Buick 215. I would like to stroke the Buick 215 to a 300 so it can run a bit faster and easier. Rather run a 300 at 80% than a 215 at 95%.

The windshield comes off with four bolts and nothing was modified add it. So that is easy. I already rebuilt the wiring harness so it wont burn down. Wires were everywhere.

Major broken parts:

B&M quick silver shifter, reverse mounted is worn out..
Ball joints, stub axles, U-joints, Steering box.
Gauges are trash.
Skid plates are bent and cracked (useable)
Weak weak tiny drum brakes (those need to be updated) yes?
Fiber glass hood needs work, front is broken, under the lights...not a big deal, weak point.
Whole frame need to be blasted and inspected for cracks ( has 20 coats of spray can paint on it)
5 point harness.
Starter ( fixed it using two broken ones)
Needs a fuel cell has a homemade fuel tank. I guess the Glen had the fuel tank(s) behind the seats? Not much room there.

If you have some old stuff you don't want laying around let me know. (Vintage stickers?) Or facts on how to restore it right. I'll post some pictures of stuff this weekend for you. And, update you here with progress pics. It still has the desert dogs door flaps, and the old window nets, two sets of rims, that need restoring. Corvette housings, tons of m151 parts.

Brad: Yes - better axles and diffs would be great, still has the coil over seats, pretty neat, way better than an air seat. Stub axles are worn out, there are a few spares but they are old and weak and will wear out again 1970's steel.

Wish me luck! And thanks for the encouragement!
 

luvbaja2

Well-Known Member
Mike, thanks for buying that Jeep. I was looking at it and wanted to buy it only to save it. But I certainly don't need another project. Restore it and enter it in NORRA next year. Let me know if you decide to sell it, but leave it as original as possible
 

Mike N. Stein

Active Member
Baja, no problem. If anything get changed, the original parts will be saved so it can go back to vintage. But, it really needs new a-arms what is on there now is welded, braced, rewelded, cracked and bent. They must have had a lot of problems with the a-arms, it is a real weak point. Everyone of them has been fixed. The half-shafts are all worn out too. I think upgrading the half-shafts and the a-arms would do it a world of good. I'm not real excited about going off-road with a bunch of half-assed parts that will leave me stranded or worse wrecked. All the aluminum skin is beat to hell. That is really all it needs to make it a reliable runner. Plus, the rebuild of the engine/trans. You are more than welcome to stop by and take a look.

Its always for sale for the right price, and if I do sell it....you guys get first dibs.

Anyone have a Buick 300 crank?
 

Rearengjeep

Well-Known Member
Look under a thread for mid-engine jeep. My old man bought Bill Todds and transformed it. Looking for pics, but there are some on that thread
 

Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
Rover v-8 is a modernized version of the 215. Wildcat performance in England builds these things with around 6 litres of displacement and way more power than your current drivetrain can handle. They will have what you need instead of repurposing non existent 60s era parts that had limited production in the u.s.
 

brad inch

Well-Known Member
i know that both were built almost the same.but i dont know who built them?i worked for todd but i never asked.
 

Mike N. Stein

Active Member
REJ: Do you still run it? That rig is great, and I read every bit of that thread. Did he put dropped lower control arms on it?
Bert: after doing some research, I think a mild Rover 4.6 ($1-2k) is the way to go, it can be converted to carb and dizzy, same size and weight and not too much power...what say you? I don't have the money for the rover 5.0 ($8k). I will check out Wildcat Performance out. A buick 215 might squeeze out 170hp on a good day, and a 4.6 is stock 222hp bump it to 250hp and call it good.
The suspension, is what is brutal: All the spare m151 parts have rotten bushings. A-arms that are on it are worn. New replacement A-arms with bushings will have to boxed and strapped to be strong enough. They had linkage parts and tools taped to the roll cage and seats everywhere so they could keep it running.

Thanks!
 

Rearengjeep

Well-Known Member
REJ: Do you still run it? That rig is great, and I read every bit of that thread. Did he put dropped lower control arms on it?
Bert: after doing some research, I think a mild Rover 4.6 ($1-2k) is the way to go, it can be converted to carb and dizzy, same size and weight and not too much power...what say you? I don't have the money for the rover 5.0 ($8k). I will check out Wildcat Performance out. A buick 215 might squeeze out 170hp on a good day, and a 4.6 is stock 222hp bump it to 250hp and call it good.
The suspension, is what is brutal: All the spare m151 parts have rotten bushings. A-arms that are on it are worn. New replacement A-arms with bushings will have to boxed and strapped to be strong enough. They had linkage parts and tools taped to the roll cage and seats everywhere so they could keep it running.

Thanks!
I'll have to ask my old man. He was good friends with Glen, and knows a ton about both
 

Mike N. Stein

Active Member
Awesome! If your dad is up for it have him call me. It would be great to know some more history. PM me. Cheers!
 

Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
Edelbrock used to make a single plane and dual plane intakes for the buick/Rover engines. Most parts swap between the two and Schneider showed a listing for cam/valve train parts last time I looked. My friends dad runs a 215 with an offset ground crank to bump displacement. It's runs 180 degree headers and sounds like a swarm of pissed off bees.
 

Bert is my name

Well-Known Member
A while back I found an old article in hot rod or something like that and the author talked about using piston from some other engine and valves put of some Volvo. A real mish mash of parts but built some decent power.
 
Top