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Closer Look at “Little Miss Sunshine”

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Ann has dubbed the yellow racer “Little Miss Sunshine”, due to the yellow color. I don’t know if that’s the end-all name, but it’s a fine name for now.

Yesterday, I decided to remove the body so I could get a better look at the condition of the cage and the suspension.

Let’s take a look first at the rear suspension. The suspension in the rear consists of 2.5″ ranch springs that have been outboarded, to which a sway bar and arms have been added. In the pic below you can see the sway bar behind the axle and the arms in front, connected under the frame. The springs are outboarded six inches. For example, the spring holder in the back consists of a 2×4 rectangular tube, positioned horizontally (under which the spring holder is welded), was welded to a 2×3 tube positioned vertically, which was welded to a 1/4″ plate that was then welded to the frame.

The front of this rear setup is similar, only for additional strength, a 2.5″ tube was welded to the spring holder and frame, which is then welded to the side bar that sits outside and under the body.


2022-05-31-parkette-body-disassembled-suspension5 2022-05-31-parkette-body-disassembled-suspension4 2022-05-31-parkette-body-disassembled-suspension3


The rear suspension looks in usable shape. I see no reason the rear of this frame couldn’t be reused. But, to make it practical, the cage should be in equally good shape. If so, it may be worth it to replace the front portion of the frame and simply redo the front suspension based on what was there.

Here’s a photo showing the whole chassis without the body.


This photo is meant to show how the rear loop bars line up. I would expect that the left and right sides of the loop should be parallel with the center, angled brace. This assumes the loop was built correctly in the first place; given the quality of the welds and the design, I believe they were.

Unfortunately, as the photo attempts to show, it appears the passenger side of the loop has been twisted back slightly.


Looking more closely, the passenger side of the loop that angles forward has bulged and has a slit along the bottom. Given the amount of rust (and it is interesting that this section of the cage is the only part that has extensive surface rust), I suspect water worked its way inside this portion fo the cage.


Looking more closely at this section of the passenger side of the loop, it looks like the tubes suffered through enough of a force to peel some of the welds away from the tubes (whether from this accident or from another one).


Finally, on the passenger side at the bottom of the front loop, you can see this has been ripped away from its base. Part of the reason for this is that the passenger side bar angling to the front portion of the frame in this photo was forced about 1.5″ up, which buckled the passenger frame rail just in front of the cage.


So, it seems likely that some of the roll cage’s integrity has been compromised.  So, in my opinion, my plan to take this cage and put it on my current racer isn’t worth the effort.

Moreover, if I were to save the frame and roll cage of the yellow jeep, I will be rebuilding all the front spring holders/mounts anyway, plus matching the front of a different frame to the back of this existing chassis. In the end, I think I’m better off getting a different frame and just redoing the design that is here (I do like the design).

But, doing all that work means I will likely not be done in time to race this year (another lost season).

What’s puzzling about this jeep is that some of the work (especially the cage) is excellent. The welds are smooth and beautiful and the cage seems well thought out. However, there are other, less impressive welds and design ideas.  The interior is a good example.

The floors were mostly plywood, which does the job, but wasn’t thoughtfully designed. It all feels rushed. The pic below shows a small platform that has the electrical switch, ignition switch, choke, and push button start. To meet race qualifications, the ability to turn off the engine must be within easy reach of the driver in case of an accident.

You’ll also note the long 2wd/4wd lever, which is used to shift in and out of 4wd when doing barrels.


This pic shows the platform for the passenger seat. This seat platform is not tied into the cage or frame. Moreover, only the pedestal on the right is bolted to the plywood floor at the bottom of the pedestal; the left pedestal has no bolts at the bottom of the pedestal.


Here’s another angle:


Here’s a look at the whole interior. One other thing that I’ve discovered is that the steering wheel is bent, probably due to the accident.


So, overall, there’s is less to work with here than I’d hope. But, just having the overall design will help immensely with a rebuild.


5 Comments on “Closer Look at “Little Miss Sunshine”

  1. is it a jeep ?

    looks to be 10% jeep components and 90% fabricated chinese steel ? … ranch is dressing , rancho was an aftermarket 4wd parts maker …

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Yes, Ranch is dressing, among other things … seems spellcheck does not like rancho. … yep, not much jeep on there at all.

  3. is it a jeep ?

    hahahaha !!! — i’m sure it will be a JEEP , registered trademark , when you get done with it !! and probably faster than any of my HEEPS !! — wait a minute , I do have a 48 HEEPSTER with a freshly rebuilt CORVETTE 327 , camel back heads , turbo 350 auto slushbox , FORD 9″ around back , but its still under construction …

  4. Dave from Mn

    Bummer that the cage is not as useable as you hoped.
    They must have gotten quite a jolt from that sudden stop.

  5. Bob

    Some of those welds, like the ones at the passenger side bottom, look like they were done too cold. The pipe might have taken the weld ok, but what it was welded to did not. Thats pretty scary. As is the mounting of the seat. One back roll and that could fling right out of the jeep with you attached to it.

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