Vehicle Ownership History -
  • 1 Post By devildog80
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-07-2020, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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1981 CJ5 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Apache Junction
Posts: 58
Vehicle Ownership History

Hey Forum Team,
Trying to verify what PO told me, that my 1981 CJ5, was originally purchased by the US Forest Service. Rig is near original, and keeping it that way, might even take minimum mods off and put back as close to original as I can (spring lift, shocks, wheels/tires, carb/air cleaner, hard top/doors). It does have a dealer sticker on it from CO, so looking into that, to see if still in business and have archives that old!
I did one of those VIN searches when I first bought it last year from PO in CO, but it only went back about 10 years, so not much good information there. Should have saved the $40 bucks, but was not part of this wealth of information yet, on the CJ Forum. Rookie mistake....EH? :/
I have emailed US Forest Service, but with Cousin Corona on the rampage, do not expect a response anytime soon.
Please advise if there is a certifiable method, to find out vehicle history from new (thinking tough to do for these older rigs), without driving me to a certifiable state of mind trying to get it done!

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post #2 of 7 Old 04-08-2020, 07:13 PM
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1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 929
I can't really help with your question, but I would love to know what you find out. I too was told that my Jeep was originally a US Forestry Service vehicle... maybe its just some b.s. they tell us when they see money burning a hole in our pockets... IDK. My Jeep was originally a "base" model with very few options... before I had body work done on it though, I do remember a big hole in the right rear fender where there use to be a big antenna... maybe for a Forestry Service radio? Anyway, keep us up to date with what you find out.

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post #3 of 7 Old 04-08-2020, 07:47 PM
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About the only way you could know for sure would be to run a title search, and find out the actual ownership.

There's nothing about a Jeep that made it 'forestry service', it wasn't a model, just an owners use after purchase.


Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-09-2020, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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1981 CJ5 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Apache Junction
Posts: 58
As indicated in post #1, I did a VIN search through a 3rd party company, but only about 10 years of information. My rig was initially sold in Leadville CO, as dealer id on the truck says, and found out the dealer has long since gone out of business. Called the Editor of the local paper, to see if anyone would know if the dealer was still living and had records somewhere, but no response yet!
Emissions tag above radiator shows it was equipped for "High Altitude", which makes sense being sold at high altitude, and true, would need to know if VIN was on any Forestry Auction/Sales records to really know if it was ever used for Forestry service. Still waiting for that response as well!
Only has 79,000+ miles (odometer/speedo, all gauges look original), body appears to have original silver paint with very little dings or rust, and interior does not appear to be molested at all, so for an '81, it was sitting a lot somewhere! Only thing lost is the top & doors. PO bought both used, but hard top or doors are not for a CJ5, as I have found out through other threads on this Forum.
Will keep posting, as leads progress or fall apart, to see if we can establish a path to the prize of finding out history on these old rigs.
Just had a thought - I have a friend that restores old vehicles into hot rods. Maybe someone on that side of the craft might know. Will check it out and post response!
Thanks Jeep Team
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-11-2020, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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1981 CJ5 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Apache Junction
Posts: 58
My friend is posting this question to his Hot Rod club members, and will post results when news comes in!
Remember, your Jeep is a family member, and does not qualify for Social Distancing!
Get out there and enjoy time with them
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-11-2020, 06:45 PM
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1978 CJ5 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oconomowoc
Posts: 262
I hope you find something...but if not, I’d stick to the original story and maybe embellish just for effect. Find out about a forest fire or two and claim participation. Maybe a heroic rescue or 2. Why not?
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-18-2020, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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1981 CJ5 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Apache Junction
Posts: 58
Hey Jeep Peeps,
Updating with nothing new to report, as my Hot Rod club friend has not had time to post my request, so here I sit waiting.
With "Cousin COVID" seeming to be on the down side of the ride, I will reach out to additional sources, and see if I can get better results. I will continue to update this thread every couple weeks or so, and hope we can get some good intel, to share for anyone following!
But, as I have seen in many other threads, unless you can verify single owner from new, and rig is in true original form, there are very few "Original" Jeeps left out there, and any story that comes with taking ownership simply is what it is, and won't change the price or value one rig over another.
If you believe what you are told, and have the $$'s to throw out there for bragging rights, go for it and don't look back. Enjoy the ride while you got it
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