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Obtaining a Vehicle
After much deliberation and researching different sites, I wanted to get a CJ-5. I had always wanted a Jeep and I finally had gotten to a place in life that I could afford to get one. So, I started to watch the bargain newspapers and other such resources, but it wasn't until I started looking at eBay that I was able to find so many of the differences between years because there were pictures. I know this is not new to a lot of people, but eBay Autos is still a pretty young application and in its infancy.

Anyways, I digress. I started watching auctions and seeing how much different years were selling for and tracking what options they had on them. Things like body rust, frame condition, axle and their setups, 3rd party after-market stuff, tops (soft/hard), tire size, wheel combinations all kept coming up as strong selling points. There was also still the issue of what motor. Some years had the V8-304, some had the I6-358, and others had Chevy Swaps, bigger AMC motors, smaller ones too. What to get, what to get?

Well that was solved for me after a few weeks of deliberation and the fact that my birthday was coming up, so I decided to buy myself a present. I bid on a 1976 Jeep CJ-5 that had a rebuilt motor and transmission (transmissions and transfer cases are also something to keep in mind when looking for a used Jeep. There are a bunch of different combinations) and 9 days later, the auction ended and down to wire, I was the high bidder. It sold for $1600 or so and it was located right outside of Richmond, VA. I had to go get it. So, sight unseen, I get a trailer from UHAUL, hook it up to my truck and away I went. NOTE: When putting the vehicle on the trailer, if you have oversized tires on your rig, the UHAUL tie downs won't work, you will need to use them plus some other tie downs in order to get it to work. The tie downs are set up to work with smaller tires
The pictures show me at my friend's house in Virginia after I picked up the Jeep. When I got to the seller's place, the Jeep was out front and I had the ability to go over it. This is the funny thing about eBay Autos. If they misrepresented the vehicle, or you didn't ask enough questions, you are still technically in a binding contract with them to buy the vehicle no matter what. There are ways around it, but you really should take a look at what you are buying before agreeing to it. I happened to get pretty lucky, but that is not always the case.

So, I am there and I am looking at the Jeep. I realized at that point, I should have brought a pad and paper with me that had all the information that I was supposed to check out because I didn't really remember anything, I had just driven 9 hours and to top it off, it was 105 degrees. The good news is that the Jeep started right up, the bad news is the frame had some issues in the rear where someone had backed into a tree with it.

I climbed around underneath but it was so caked with Mud, I could see much at all. I was planning a frame off restoration anyway, so I gave the money, loaded it up and off I went. If you aren't planning on doing a frame off restoration, then you might want to take the thing to a car wash, hose off the underside if it has mud or grease on it, so you can really evaluate it. Also, let the thing warm up, idle and such before you take off. If you can drive it, drive it. This one didn't have brakes, so that made it a lot more fun to drive it!
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
So, my lessons learned here would have to be that I was way too excited and wasn't thinking quite clearly when I picked the Jeep up. I thought I had done so much research on it, but I learned that you could never do enough. Don't be so eager to buy the first thing. Weeks later, I found another one for less money in about the same shape and it was a couple years newer.

Frame and Body. This is probably the most serious place to start looking at things since it is your foundation that you will be building upon and driving within. Make sure they are solid and if not, that you intend to fix them and make sure that the damage won't continue to happen. Things like rust preventer and truck bed linings inside and under the cab can make sure this doesn't happen. Remember, safety first...

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