My Project Cars

I Have Had Some People Ask About My Current Project Cars So Here You Go.

1w ago

I currently have two different project cars, a 1997 Jeep XJ Cherokee and a 1997 Nissan D21 Hardbody Pickup (Yes they are both from 1997 it's not intentional, it's just a coincidence). Both of these vehicles have taught me a lot about cars and why I love cars. So here is a summary for each of them.

The XJ

While this one is technically my dads (Aaron Degge, he's also on here make sure to check out his profile) I have helped build it from the ground up. We bought it way back in 2012 for $800 (Gosh it feels like we have had it forever) it didn't run and it was 2 wheel drive, but it's bodywork was in good shape and it had the legendary 4.0L inline six. We were in love with it, so we got right to work trying to get it to run. First we did a tune up and changed the battery and starter, we got it running for about 5 seconds and saw a ton of white smoke coming out of the exhaust, we found out it had a blown head-gasket. So we took the engine out and rebuilt it ourselves, just me, my dad and my brother (who isn't as much into cars but he did help a little with this) we replaced every gasket, every seal, the bearings and piston rings and put it back in, we got it running and I we where extremely happy! We in fact got it running on the Fourth Of July too so that was pretty cool, and we started what is now a tradition for us, going to Waffle House after accomplishing something big on one of our project cars. We would use it as a daily driver for a couple of years, my dad would end up crashing into a reckless driver and damaged the bumper, the Drivers side part of the grill and fender, he was fine but we had to repair the damage and we did, but we also put a bigger more aggressive cam in it, a cold air intake, a header, and a custom exhaust, she sounded amazing. We kept using her as a daily for a while and finally we tracked down a Dana 30 front end (not the best but it would do for now) and a 4WD transmission and a transfer case, we also installed 4:10 gears and a locker up front, a 3 inch lift kit and some 33 inch tall mud tires, also adding a Smittybuilt winch and bumper. She has served us well to this day, taking a beating every time but still managing to keep on going. We have plans now to take the engine back out and make it a 4.7L stroker motor and adding 1 ton axles, then it will truly be unstoppable.

My 97 Nissan Hardbody Pickup

This truck has a lot of character, I talk to it every day and treat it like it's an extra member of my family, and well it has been in my family longer than I have been alive. My grandpa bought her brand new in 1997 at Robbins Automall in Humble Texas, he treated her well for about 15 years, he loved her but decided to give it to my stepdad and get a new truck later on. My stepdad owned her for the next 4 years or so and didn't treat her that well, he never washed it, he threw all his trash in the passenger foot-well, rarely changed the oil and well by the time I got it in 2016 she was a mess. The engine was running on only 3 cylinders, the power steering pump went bad, the paint and interior where a mess, she had four tires that where all different sizes and she had gone unloved for way too long. So when my stepdad got a new car me and my dad took her up to my dads job and immediately gave her a much needed wash, then got to work tearing the engine out, I rebuilt the engine by myself and redid the suspension and brakes, I put a bigger cam in it, put a nice header on it, and gave her a fully custom exhaust (high-flow cat, cherry bomb muffler and she was the loudest truck... in the world!!!) she was perfect in my opinion, this truck means a lot to me. I would later put some custom LED headlights on her and a custom rear bumper (which I need to replace soon because I bent it trying to tow the Jeep back to the front of the offroad park) I also have American Racing Outlaw II's for wheels wrapped in Falken Wildpeak tires (Which by the way are awesome!!!) and also installed some fender flares off of a 4WD Pathfinder. This truck always puts a smile on my face every time I go and drive it, and I also love to here people asking if "Nice Truck" and "How much will you take for her?" (The answer is always "She isn't for sale"). I have big plans for her in the future, I plan to turn her into the ultimate Pre-runner, I'm going to throw away the torsion bar front end and replace it with a twin I-beam set up, build a completely custom chassis and roll cage, put a Currie 9 inch rear axle with probably 5:10 gears and a locker out back, I'm going to have King or Fox (still undecided) triple bypass coil-overs front and rear, with some beefy four-links, and of course for the engine I am going to have a fully built SR20 putting out around 500hp to the wheels and I want the exhaust coming right off the turbo and coming out of the fender so I can spit flames out the side of my truck. I want my truck to be the most insane, unique and bad ass pre-runner EVER BUILT!!! And well if I work hard enough I will be able to accomplish my dream, oh and I forgot to mention that I will be painting her Nissan racing colors.

Well thanks for taking your time to read this article, please feel free to like.

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Comments (12)

  • Thanks for sharing the stories, Ethan! Y'all have done a whole bunch of work on those two and that makes them both very special! 😁

      11 days ago
  • Very cool!

      11 days ago
  • Very clean (well, maybe not LITERALLY for the Jeep) and neat examples. 10/10. 👍

      11 days ago
  • Damn really nice, I do like a hardbody.

      11 days ago
  • I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for sharing those amazing projects with everyone, it's really impressive what you've done to those cars.

      11 days ago