1981 Blacksmith Garage Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler ANV-JS1

“A mega-build frame-off restoration of the tough Jeep convertible, 4X4 pick-up that is perfect as a daily driver, freeway cruising at 80 mph, rugged off-roading in Moab or taking the kids and dogs for ice cream with the top down on a Sunday afternoon.  This truck (almost) does it all!”



The Scrambler CJ-8 is the longer-wheelbase/pickup version of the popular CJ-7.


The CJ-8 is a good two feet longer than the CJ-7 and with a ten-inch longer wheelbase at 103 inches it resulted in a much smoother ride and allowed us to add rear seats and still retain ample cargo space.


For these reasons Blacksmith Garage had to build a modern version of the CJ-8 that we named “ANV-JS1”.


Our 1981 CJ-8 donor was completely dis-assembled to begin the restoration.



The rust-free frame was stripped, sand blasted, galvanized and powdered coated for durability.



We toyed with installing a new crate motor but we loved the awesome sounding, high revving and fabulously torquey 4.2L in-line six so much that we decided to keep, strip, repaint, replace gaskets and re-assemble it.


It was already fitted with electronic TBI fuel injection, MSD ignition and headers.


We also kept the 4.56:1 locking front and rear differentials, Dana 300 transfer case with twin stick shifters, Dana front axle with Warn locking hubs and heavy-duty one-piece rear axle.



We felt the ‘weak link’ of the donor was the original 4 speed manual transmission which limited the Scramblers top speed, off road capabilities and driving comfort.


It was replaced with a modern 4L60E automatic using Novak adapters, TCI EZ-TCU programmable controller with manual shift capability, torque converter, LED display for operating parameters, front mount transmission cooler, a Lokar floor shifter and of course, new custom length drive shafts all combined to give the best in off road capability and highway driving comfort.



We replaced the original 1981 leaf springs and replaced the suspension components with top of the line modern brand new Old Man Emu long travel leaf springs, high end off-road engineered gas shocks from Rocky Road Outfitters, rock slider u-bolt plates, new extended shackles, urethane bushings, heavy duty Rocky Road Outfitters engineered steering components and all new hardware resulting in a 3" suspension lift over stock.


We installed 4-wheel Disc brakes and all brake lines were replaced with new stainless-steel tubing, new parking brake cables and a vacuum booster for modern stopping power. We fitted brand-new Pro Comp Xtreme Rock Crawler Series 51 15 x 10 steelie wheels wrapped in brand new 33 x 10.50 BFG KM2 MT's with matching spare to round out the drive train.


The old tub was replaced with a brand-new steel tub. The front clip was sandblasted down to bare metal. It was rust free and no sheet-metal work was needed.


The entire body was then covered in epoxy primer, PPG Enviro-base Jeep Baja Yellow paint for the exterior while the inner tub and underside were covered in flexible bed-liner for a rugged, hose-off ready and durable finish.


It was then mounted with all new urethane plus 1" body mounts and hardware. We also added gas strut hood lifts and stainless support rods.


Custom Hansen Off-road front and rear bumpers adorn the front and rear of the restored frame. 


In addition, Blacksmith Garage custom-designed and fabricated frame mounted spare tire carrier specifically for this Scrambler. This carrier features a greased needle bearing pivot which makes it so the carrier does not come loose or rattle when driving along.  The carrier is also easily removable. 


The cockpit sports a new billet aluminum and vinyl covered steering wheel from Forever Sharp with custom adapter, new windshield, a complete set of custom color matched Speedhut gauges, Retro Mfg stereo and high-end Alpine speakers.


Bestop supplied the beautiful brand-new soft top, front reclining black vinyl bucket seats and matching fold and tumble rear bench. Front three-point safety belts replaced the original lap belts and the rear lap belts remain.



The end result is a frame-off ‘every nut and bolt’ refurbished or replaced resto-mod Scrambler.


It is maybe the only one built out to this level.


It is a Jeep that meets the all-round driving demands of a modern Jeep capable of being a daily driver or the star of the show in Moab … and everything in between.


It is a magnificent portrayal of the original scheme conceived by the CJ-8 designers.