The Jeep CJ8 or Scrambler hasn’t been made since 1986, but now thanks to Winslow Bent and his team at Legacy Scrambler Conversion, this classic Jeep is now available as a virtually new, trail-ready rig. Yep, we said all new. This isn’t a worn-out old barn find that has been repaired and upgraded. It’s the best of the reproduction parts available today, along with some superior fabrication and integration skills by the team at Legacy. Legacy Scrambler Conversion calls the package the “Dualsport Tdi.”
The Legacy Scrambler CJ8 sits on a custom frame from ThrottleDown Customs. This frame is modeled off of an original AMC frame. This frame is made from 2x4x3/16 box tubing rather than the open-channel design of the original. The frame rails are mandrel bent. It’s much stronger and will last longer than any OE Scrambler frame. It’s designed to fit a PSC steering power box. The frame is set up to utilize a custom, long-travel suspension, developed and built by Legacy utilizing GenRight components and King coilover shocks and bump stops.
Since Scramblers are rare, and clean Scrambler bodies are even rarer, a new aluminum body from Aqualu was utilized. Aqualu makes two bodies for the Scramble—a standard-length unit and one with the tail bobbed behind the axle. Both bodies will fit the original or a Throttle Down Customs Scrambler frame. For this build, the full-length body was used, as this provides more space for gear when taking long trips down the unpaved road less traveled. The aluminum body was fitted with high-clearance aluminum tube fenders from GenRight Off Road. The rest of the body parts, hood, tailgate, etc., are top-quality steel reproductions from Omix-Ada. A few items, like the grille and headlights, are clean originals from a donor Jeep. The body was painted “Legacy DT Green” by Straightedge Auto Body, in St. Anthony, Idaho.
In the interior, the front seats are from Recaro and the single rear passenger seat is a Corbeau Safari Fold & Tumble Seat, designed specifically as a direct bolt-on. The gauges are from Faria. These are “digital gateway system” gauges that communicate with the J1939 ECM system, just like the newest trucks. Of course, this Jeep has A/C and gets it courtesy of a Vintage Air system. A Tuffy locking center console sits between the seats for secure storage, and the stock glove box is still in place for maps. An Ididit steering column replaced the original and the brake pedals connect to a Hydroboost unit under the hood. From there, the GM dual-circuit master cylinder sends the fluid out to the Wilwood disc brakes at each corner.
With a modernized truck, modern differentials were a must. A Dynatrac ProRock 44/60 is found up front and a ProRock 60 brings up the rear. Gearing in the axles is 5.13:1 and trail traction increased when the ARP air locker is engaged. To distribute the torque to both axles, a 3.0:1 ratio Atlas II transfer case is mounted behind the six-speed automatic transmission.
The best part of this Jeep is the 630T V-6 diesel engine from Banks Power. The 630T is a 3.0-liter V-6 mill that puts out 240 hp @ 3,500 rpm and 420 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm. It is tri-fuel capable, meaning it can run on diesel #2, bio-diesel blends and JP8. JP8 is a fuel used by the military, and you’re not likely to find it here in the USA for commercial use. However, you could run it if needed come the zombie apocalypse.
Since every Legacy Scrambler is built from the ground up, you can order several options and upgrades. There are even two V-8 gas engines available for your non-oil burning friends. However, that would expect drastically shorted trail range.
SCRAMBLER HISTORY LESSON
The CJ8 was introduced to the market in 1981 and the last year of production was 1986, the same year CJ7 productions stopped in favor of the new Jeep Wrangler YJ.
Widely known as a “Scrambler,” this was actually the name for one of the appearance packages available on the CJ8. Others were Renegade and Laredo, which were also use on the CJ7. The Scrambler name was only used on the CJ8. Perhaps this is why the name stuck.
The CJ8 is essentially a long-wheelbase version of the CJ7. The CJ7 has a 93.3-inch wheelbase and is 148 inches overall. The CJ8 features a removable half-cab. A bulkhead was installed behind the seats to seal the cab, thus creating a small, integrated, pick-up style box. Full-length soft tops and hard tops were available for full-length coverage from the aftermarket. On a historical note, Former President Reagan was given a CJ8 as a gift by his wife, Nancy, during his presidency. He used it on his ranch in California.
Factory Diesel CJs
While the CJ8 (Scrambler) never came from the factory with a diesel option, the CJ7 did. It’s said that a CJ7s with a diesel were produced for export only, with the Isuzu C240 diesel engine coupled to a T176 manual transmission and a Dana transfer case. The C240 is a non-turbo 2.4L I-4.
Other CJ Jeeps with a factory diesel were the CJ10 and CJ10A. The CJ10 was actually a J10 pickup with a very odd CJ-style body on it. Unlike the CJ8, the CJ10 had a separate cab and bed. They also had very odd-looking headlights in the front fenders. Speculation is that this provided more grille area for better cooling. The CJ10 was built for Export only, from 1980-82, with Australia as the main market. The diesel engine offered was the 198-cid (3.2L) I-6 Nissan
SD33 diesel. Two gas options were also available.
Another version of the CJ10 is the CJ10A. This is an aircraft tug version build exclusively for the US Air Force. The CJ10A has a short wheelbase and was only available with a diesel engine, the NissanSD33. The Nissan SD33 was a non-turbo engine, rated at a meager 92 hp at 4,000 rpm and 137 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm.