David Tracy’s FC-170 will be full of batteries and an electric motor someday, but its current state is what an optimist would call a glass half full — of rodent droppings, urine and bird nests. With most of its doors literally falling off and windows cracked, the Jeep is mostly crap, literally and figuratively, and not something that will grace the roads in the near future, if ever. As it sits in my front pasture, it has maximized its later-in-life potential as yard art.
My neighbor even expressed her jealousy at my ability to scrounge this turd, and at my audacity to place it in such a prominent position out front as the marquee piece in my own collection of junk and vaguely functional vehicles.
How is it that something that is clearly a turd and has outlasted its useful years can still be enviable? As I deride David’s purchase for its filth and corrosion, I do feel a pang of guilt for enabling him when he was in vehicle liquidation mode due to pressure from his city. After all, I notified him that this Jeep was for sale, and I have been storing the vehicle here in the Seattle area since July.
It’s sitting in front of my house; as a seasoned wrencher, I must admit that I’ve been really curious about it. I was able to harass David into letting me do some cursory wrenching, and here’s what I can tell you was my main takeaway: This FC has the dubious honor of being the single nastiest vehicle I’ve ever worked on.
What we saw in DT’s introduction was the superficial scurvy, but trust me, it gets worse when you dig into it. The entire truck smells. The stench of urine and crap is detectable from six feet away with the doors closed — I’m not kidding. I use a respirator when I open the doors. DT is planning on spending a significant amount of time working on this Jeep inside the cab...sounds fun and healthy. It needs remediation, not restoration. We can call it “patina” to make him feel like he’s groovy, cool and up with the trends.
“Patina” is how the seller referred to the bottom part of the doors that have corroded into the ether. “Them doors got some patina!” the seller told me between chain lighting gaspers.
Our seller also assured us that the steering column wouldn’t fall through the floor. That may be true, but David Tracy might, because the rust hole near the brake pedal is huge. I’m not worried though. We were offered the chain smoker + jorts guarantee that a carburetor rebuild would make this Jeep as good as good as new!
David Tracy’s love of Jeeps is apparent in his willingness to take on this project. While our friend lacks realistic goals, he makes up for it with Jalop optimism. (Jaloptimism?) I’ve failed in my endeavor to get him to aim low, setting goals that are easy to achieve and resulting in a mild sense of accomplishment. Lofty goals create further divergence from reality — and further to fall upon failure. David Tracy, when are you going to learn to set the bar low so it’s easy to jump over?
I advised him to not buy FC Scurvy (as I have dubbed the hopeless machine) and David heeded my advice initially. The jorts-wearer he was buying it from was none too happy about the sale falling through, but David’s urge to own the pug-of-the-car-world circled us back to purchase the machine a few days later. All was right on Camano Island, Washington, once again.
Rust, Second Only to Feces
The lower four-inch section of the driver door is rusted away along with the front cab corner.
The passenger side isn’t as bad as the driver’s side. The door hinges are goners though. The rust on this rolling tetanus source is so bad that the hinge pin corroded into three pieces, causing some severe door-droop problems on the passenger side (more on that in a bit).
The passenger side rear cab corner has the remains of a gasket dangling along with a broom head and grunge.
Yes, a broom head. God this Jeep is a piece of crap.
The Forward Control is its own bacterial and fungal biosphere. Whatever that plant life is growing on the bed sides as left a gaping hole between those sides and the base of the bed.
I legitimately don’t think David realizes how bad this Jeep’s condition is.
Willys rated the Jeep at 8,000 gross—I’d have to agree.
All of the rust in the bed is above the fuel tank. The front half of the bed may be the cleanest sheet metal on it. A positive is that DT will probably replace the bed floor with batteries. I made the mistake of dropping the tailgate down. It dropped all the way to the ground because the hinge on the driver’s side is gone. Now the tailgate resides on top of the 5x5" lug pattern 2wd Chevy spare that won’t fit the 5x5.5" pattern that FC Scurvy has.
Every panel on the Jeep is rusted through. Seriously. I would classify this as a parts truck, take what I needed and unload the remainder to someone like David Tracy who dreams bigger than I do. That way, I wouldn’t have to go through the guilt of selling a classic for scrap.
We all know that a good project generally starts with a solid base, and a disassembled basket case for sale on Craigslist generally falls under “bad project.” FC Scurvy clearly falls into the latter category even though it was “jorts verified” to be a runner once the carb has been kitted.
It truly is a good thing that this engine is going away in favor of an electric motivator because the carburetor has debris inside. That debris (urine/feces/corrosion) has probably sifted down through the boosters and throttle butterfly into the intake manifold.
I pointed this out to DT, but ever the huckleberry that he is, informed me that since the Super Hurricane is a flathead engine, the debris would have to travel uphill through the intake to reach the valves and cylinders. I successfully cranked the motor over by hand, so any debris that actually did make it into the cylinders hasn’t seized the rings to the walls and is likely just going for an up and down ride on the face of the pistons unless spark and fuel are introduced.
This pile of stuffing did not happen by chance. This is bonafide Washington rodent engineering. Hantavirus (which, I want to be clear, is a big deal and nothing to take lightly), bubonic plague and leptospirosis come free of charge with this incredible bit of construction.
But it gets worse; look at all this mouse crap!:
The seats need to come out and someone not named Tom needs to get medieval with a hose and shop vac. I hope you’re reading this David Tracy...
Maybe a gas can and a lighter would be more appropriate tools.
The image above does not show an upside down take on Koenigsegg’s dihedral synchro-helix door mechanism. The door has a top and a bottom hinge, but the top hinge pin rusted and broke into three pieces at some point. I was going to find or fabricate a pin that would fit but the three hinge pin pieces are solidly rusted in place. There is not an amount of PB Blaster that will ease them out. My recommendation: weld the door shut and passenger ingress can be handled via the window a la Dukes of Hazzard.
David asked me to see if the FC’s electrical system worked. The vehicle may have a six volt system, but neither the battery behind the passenger seat nor the ignition coil offered any clues. The lights turned on, and I was able to make the starter solenoid click by hooking it up to a 12v battery, so that’s exciting, especially since I bet David will need a 12 or six volt battery after the conversion to run the lights and accessories.
Despite being named Workaholic, the battery is dead. Old six-volt tractor batteries have three cells. Do the four cells on this mean eight volts?
Glass is a Problem
The windshield is cracked. What’s most interesting is that the impact appears to have happened from the inside. I’m not sure I want to think about that much longer.
A windshield is going to be a pain to source given the complex curvature. However, the windshield rubber weather seal is available, for whatever that’s worth.
The passenger door window is cracked. At least it’s a flat piece and could be made if one can’t be sourced.
The driver side window is cracked too, I’m sure you’re surprised to hear. But at least it goes down!
I move the Jeep with Kubota tractor power, though I suppose Flintstone power would have been another option given the size of the hole in the driver’s side floorboard. Someday this Jeep may drive with electricity, but in the interim, David’s only method to power it is with hopes and dreams. Trust me on that.
Keep an eye out for David’s full plan for picking up the Jeep in a future article.
Could the FC be David Tracy’s Waterloo? Rodents have already made the ultimate sacrifice as cannon fodder. Deadlines, expectations, island life corrosion and his own plucky, can-do spirit have him surrounded with certain failure…
Will he be consumed by tetanus and the rusting maw that is the FC’s door? Will the airborne rodent feces expel their malevolent horrors upon our protagonist? Will he try to drive the 94 horsepower rustbucket over the Continental Divide? God I hope not.
Tune in weeks from now to find out the ultimate fate of Jalopnik’s boy wonder. Same Jalop time, same Jalop channel.