A sow's ear is not a great place to start if you want to wind up with a silk purse. Fortunately, I'm not given to draping myself in silk, although I did go through a brief period when I thought silk long johns were just the ticket for a base layer under wool hunting pants -- but that's a story for another time.
I live in Alaska and had been towing my little home built trailer, a Sawtooth XL weighing about 1000 lbs, with my lifted and expeditionized 2008 Subaru Outback with the big engine. It did not have enough oomph for uphills in hot weather. Or downhills in hot weather for that matter. Last May, I started looking around and found this 2008 FJC Trail Teams Special Edition up in Fairbanks.
For only $5,000, including a new hood, front fender, passenger side mirror, and both passenger side doors, I could not pass it up.
So I bought it, a sow's ear, and after replacing the windshield, installing a new battery, and hanging the doors (with mirror installed) and fender, I drove it back to Anchorage with never an intent to try to make a silk purse out of it. While the running gear was all working very well, it had 165,000 miles and numerous dings and scratches. There was no major rust, and the only immediate mechanical need was new brakes.mmI had Midas (I know, I know) do that for me as I had to transport some grandkids immediately and I simply did not have the time to do it myself.
Its intended use is as a daily driver, trailer tower, and two-season (we only have two--Winter and something like a summer) toy. I have lived in Alaska since 1976 and still have places to see. As a daily driver, it immediately needed a 2 in OME lift, so that's on it. With a quality alignment, It drives and handles beautifully. I can not express how much I enjoy driving this machine. Highway, gravel, rock, snow, dirt, mud, uphill, downhill, towing a trailer, or sitting in the driveway looking like part of a bumblebee on a white plate, it is spectacular.
As for me, I too am a former member of the world's greatest gun and shooting club having joined my Beloved Corps in 1965 so I could avoid the draft. As a field radio operator and Vietnamese interpreter, I enjoyed my all expenses paid cruise from San Diego to Hawaii, Okinawa, and points east aboard a lovely USN LST which had last seen service off Sicily. Sorry, I digress. I am retired, enjoy firearms and hunting to this day. This FJC is my current project, and little bit by little bit, it is becoming more complete and more capable. I'm not going to do a build thread, because it's not being built in the most common usage of that term on this forum. It's just being, I dunno, tuned here and there? I intend to keep it maintained, and that is why you have seen me lurking on the forum the past year or so.
My best to all of you, and thank you for sharing all your knowledge and stories. You all are very inspiring!