David Freiburger had done many upgrades to his Scrambler while working as the editor of 4-
Blame David and his Jeep. David Freiburger was the editor of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road from 1994 until 1998 and he was responsible for helping to bring our magazine out of the show-truck and chrome-shock dark ages and into the real world of wheeling trucks that we currently cover every month. But he also did a very bad thing during his tenure. David built this Jeep Scrambler and singlehandedly increased the value of Scramblers across the nation. Jeep Scramblers, also known as CJ-8s, were the goofy long cousin of the CJ-5 and CJ-7, and when they hit the market from 1981 to 1985, they sold miserably compared to their shorter-wheelbase brethren. In fact, roughly one Scrambler sold for every 13 CJ-7s. Then David came along.
David had seen some cool Scramblers on the trails and decided that their cheap prices and 103-inch wheelbase were a benefit to those looking for a great wheeling Jeep. Plus the long tailend of the tub, which got caught when turning tightly off road, could easily be fixed. So over a few years he took his Scrambler and lopped off 12 inches in the rear end, stuffed a V-8 under the hood, and gave it gobs of gearing. But then the winds of change blew through the halls of this publishing company and David was reassigned to the likes of Car Craft magazine before being drug up the corporate ladder to his current office as the head cheese Editorial Director at Hot Rod, Hot Rod Deluxe, Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding, Engine Masters, Chevy High Performance, 5.0 Mustang, and Musclecar Review. Most people would kill for such a prestigious position, but David has found that it means less time to actually wrench on his own rides (some 30 different dilapidated musclecars, trucks, hot rods, and Jeeps parked in various storage facilities and garages around Los Angeles), since he is constantly dealing with bureaucratic red tape of running multiple magazines. As such he thought back through all the best Jeeps he had ever seen during his time at 4-Wheel & Off-Road and decided to approach the owner/builder of a favorite one and ask him to take over the buildup. What resulted is the Jeep you see here, and though it's been done for a few years now, we've been a bit wary of showing it to you, because you'll most likely love it. Then you'll go looking for a Scrambler to build similar to it, if not just like it, and the price of Scramblers will again shoot through the roof and we'll never be able to afford one ourselves. But don't blame us, blame David.
One of his favorite Jeeps of all times was owned by Pat Helgeson of Custom Welding and Fab
Check out this 300hp small-block V-8 hiding under the shorter M38 A1 hood. It was supposed
Up front it's all business with another Dana 60, and this one matches the rear with 7.17 g
Behind the 350 is an NV4500 five-speed manual, and above the custom Pat Helgeson-built ski
With 103 inches of wheelbase and 7.17 gears, this Jeep is small with massive gearing, but
The insides of the Jeep are boringly functional with a few extra Auto Meter gauges, a stoc
Make/Model: '81 Jeep Scrambler CJ-8
Engine: GM Performance Parts HO 350, stock internals, Edelbrock Performer intake, Quadrajet carb, MSD distributor, MSD Off-Road ignition box, Hedman Tight Tubes headers, single 2.5-inch exhaust, Flowmaster muffler, 15x6 K&N air cleaner
Transmission/Transfer Case: NV4500 by JB Conversions, stock bellhousing, 11-inch clutch, Advance Adapters Atlas 3.8:1
Crawl Ratio: 165:1
Front Axle: Dodge truck Dana 60 stock on the short side and shortened on the long side, 7.17 real Dana-Spicer gears, Air Locker
Rear Axle: Dana 60, 7.17, Air Locker
Tires & Wheels: Hummer wheels with the internal bead locks. Custom centers by Pat Helgeson, Super Swamper TSL 15/42-16.5
Suspension: Old Man Emu rear Wrangler YJ 2.5-inch lift springs at all corners, Mountain Off-Road shackle reversal up front, Rancho RS 9000 shocks, Currie shackles, spring-over, custom rear traction bar by Helgeson attached to the skidplate crossmember with a shackle and Johnny Joint, and attached to the rearend with a bolt-on truss that also supports the axletubes. The front bumpstops are loading-dock rubbers.
Steering: AGR rock-ram, custom 1-inch tie rod on top of the knuckles, Royal Purple fluid, Saginaw reservoir custom fabbed with taller body for more capacity, Heims at all connections, tie-rod rub guard on front diff cover
* Custom winch mount with integral shackles and hooks by Helgeson, Warn 8274
* Odyssey battery and Air Locker compressor on custom mount by Helgeson
* Front radiator rollbar and inside rollcage by Chris Overacker, who ran Stage West 4x4 Center during the buildup
* The radiator is a three-row unit from a Land Cruiser in a mount from an FJ-40 that is custom-fabbed to the front hoop that also has downbars that support the shocks. With a fixed five-blade fan from an old F-150 and a fan shroud by Helgeson, plus an Edelbrock short aluminum water pump, the thing never ever overheats
* Rear cage downbars are on bolt-through bushings so they can be removed to take the top off
* Interior is all Line-X on the floor. The Scrambler half-cab lower half is welded into the body. Bestop seats, console, Tuffy rear box.
* Currie tire carrier and rear bumper welded to the frame
* Auto Meter gauges. Stock steering wheel, no radio, CB behind the console
* Harold Off (Off Again Off Road) brake booster
* All wired with Painless kit. Note the blackout lights front and rear