Based on a chance encounter in 2012, Johnson and Brass struck up a friendship over their common interests in music and all things automotive. Over dinner, they shared various stories about each other’s interests and it came up that Brass’ dad owned a truck similar to the one Johnson drove from his home in Montgomery, Alabama to Nashville, Tennessee when he was trying to break into music.
Not long after, she received a text from Johnson asking if she’d restore his Jeep. Having seen and heard about her efforts on another restoration project she’d completed (a 1972 Dodge Charger), Johnson had the Jeep transported to eastern, Pennsylvania in July of 2013.
Less than one year later, the resto project was complete and on June 25, 2014, she presented him with his Jeep. From start to finish, a lot of things happened and aside from paint and most body work, Brass was hands on with her dad and uncle the entire way. Tasks included the removal of diamond plating that used to cover up a previous attempt at body work, removal of thick Alabama clay, removal of the AMC 360 which powered the Jeep and an overhaul of the drive train. The engine was stripped down to a bare block and bored .30 over. All of the lights and gauges were rewired and the Jeep received aesthetic upfits like a functioning drop tail gate, body colored dash accents and custom Renegade graphics. There is also a United States Marine Corps decal across the top of the front window, a nod to Johnson’s time in the service.
“I had never restored a vehicle for anyone but myself,” Brass explained. “I wanted him to love it as much as I had during the short time I had it. To see him smile when he saw it for the first time - that was worth every dip that this Jeep-powered roller coaster ride had taken me on.”
All told, 11 months worth of work helped further solidify a unique friendship, helped strengthen an emotional bond Brass has with her late mother and has better positioned her as a future player in the automotive hobby. Miss Mopar isn’t your run-of-the-mill female enthusiast either and by Johnson having faith in her abilities, he proved to everyone that you can’t judge book by its color and that some things are best seen in color!
“When I sent this Jeep to her, I didn’t even like it that much,” noted Johnson. “Now, I am just tickled to drive it. She did a great job and I love it.”
In addition to this Jeep and display, there are copious kids activities, monster trucks, big rigs, wildlife shows and of course trucks – lots of them! Complete details can be found at www.CarlisleEvents.com, including ticket information and registration links.