SP Rides: Back in Black


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By Michael Kitchens

Owner: Brenton Awa
Age: 27
Occupation: News Reporter, KITV4
Hobbies: Working out, working on the Jeep, fishing and paddleboarding
Year/Make/Model: 1983 Jeep CJ 5
Color: 99K Black
1983 Jeep CJ 5 – Fully Rebuilt Frame up (frame stripped of everything — holes re-tapped — sanded and sand-blasted to bare metal then painted)
Engine: -SBC 327 — 30 over — about 450-500 HP, 3 Core radiator – custom brackets, Air Flow Research Aluminum heads, Milodon Oil Pan, short water pump, aluminum fan. March Performance Pulleys, Optima Yellow Top, Don Zig magneto, new motor mounts, starter, and alternator, Headman Fender-well headers w/header wrap, Flowmaster Super 40 series mufflers
Drivetrain: Chevy Turbo 350 AutomaticTransmission, Advance Adapter to Dana 300 Transfer case (Custom Chromoly transmission mount), Power Steering, Transmission cooler
Brakes: Manual Brakes
Exterior: New front grill, front fenders, cowl and hood
Interior: B&M Shifter, Smittybuilt seats front and back, mechanical gauges — water temp, oil pressure, voltage, speedometer, 20 gallon plastic fuel tank
Wheels and Tires: 33×12.50×15 Super Swamper Trxus Tires on 15×10 black Rock Crawler rims

Everyone experiences a bit of rage sometimes…sometimes due to relationships, sometimes due to work, but we can also direct it towards something constructive.  During a six month, mandatory exile from the media industry, Brenton Awa put that energy into building a Jeep that resembles his personality at times.  The result is this sinister 1983 Jeep CJ 5.

“I had a chip on my shoulder after leaving my previous station. I wanted to show them that I could be more than they thought I could, I put that anger into this Jeep, I wanted to come back with a bang,” said Awa.

Brenton grew up surrounded by the smell of gasoline…both his father and his father-in-law were in to cars.  In particular, his father-in-law, Kimo Vares of KIMO’s Equipment Rentals, was heavily into racing.  So much that after Brenton acquired a starting point chassis from a military guy; Kimo donated a motor and trans from his 67′ Chevy Nova to the build.  This was a serious race motor…a SB 327 at 30 over, built to push 450+ horsepower.  In addition, he put in over 60% of the Jeep build at his shop.

The entire jeep was worked over from the ground-up.  It was torn down to just nuts and bolts, sand-blasted and then painted.  In fact, the only original parts re-used were the front and rear end, the axles and springs, and half of the tub.  The rest has been replaced or reworked including the bolts, which are almost all grade 8 or 9 cadmium plated.

Brenton sourced the new front half from Mike Souza, a local sand drag racer, and the rest of the parts were obtained either locally or online.  The motor and trans were installed with custom mounts, tweaked and modified with further components with the help of Paul Deguair and Carl Giovanetti.  After that, it was brought back to his garage and Brenton pieced the vehicle back together bit by bit until it was ready for paint by his father, Ted Awa.

Brenton kept the looks simple, clean, and functional.  The exterior paint is pitch black…very difficult to photograph because it seemed to suck in all the available light.  The wheels are monster 33×12, 50×15 Super Swamper Trxus Tires on 15×10 Black Rock Crawler rims.  The interior continues the limited theme and includes a full roll cage, a bevy of mechanical gauges, new Smittybuilt seats for the front and rear as well as a B&M shifter.

Check the modifications list for the full scoop.  The Jeep is complete and now exists as Brenton’s daily driver and has been running as so every since its completion in April 2013.

While Brenton enjoys the Jeeps look and power, he says he’ll most likely sell it and buy a house with his wife. So while you won’t be seeing and hearing him on the road in a CJ5 anymore, you can still catch him on T.V. To follow him go to www.facebook.com/kitvbrentonawa