Building a Samurai with VINTAGE SUZUKI. -Ted Holman
GRANTS PASS, OR. Follow Ted Holman from Vintage Suzuki as he builds a samurai from the ground up for exploring the rugged trails and scenic vistas of the NorthWest. Let’s join Ted as he cronicals his progress.
Like most of my on going projects, buying this 88 Samurai was a gross judgment error of what was broken and what was going to be needed in order to have the Sammy of my dreams. Rick Hawkins got a call from a former customer that had spent thousands of dollars upgrading his Samurai. He had rolled it with his son inside and was suddenly into boats instead of 4X4ing. All that had been damaged was the windshield frame and a fender. GREAT! I wanted it…
The money was a little high, but I figured the parts alone would make it worthwhile. I closed the deal over the phone and drove the following week 400 miles to retrieve my treasure. It was parked in the front yard, covered in six inches of mud from frame to top. It looked pretty beat up, but with all that mud, it was easy for me to “over look” the obvious damage in my hurry to get out of Oakland. That evening I stopped at a car wash and hosed the mud off.
You know the trouble with people who know what they are doing? They start to believe it and the next moment, they are starring at the results of their expertise. Boy, did I ever stare. There was not a straight panel left. What was kind of straight was perforated by the worst case of rust I have seen on a West Coast car. I was doing a CLASS school at Sears Point the next day and if you think my realizing I had screwed up was bad, having seventy people congratulate me on my fine “buy” was icing on the cake.
With the frame sitting bare, I ground the rust and old paint off. Rick Hawkins had installed a 1600 Tracker Fuel Injected motor and two wheel drive transmission already along with his hybrid Tracker/Samurai rear axle assembly using 5:12 gears. There was also a GSR2 transfer case along with power steering. Everything had been used hard and put away wet, so I went through all of it, replacing bearings and pieces that looked suspect. Finally I was ready for the reuniting of all these components.