Found my unicorn. Not sure if it’s worth it to restore.


JohnS NJ

My weberitis has been in remission for about a year but so life would have it, a Weber jr was available in my area. Always wanted one but was never seen in the northeast region. Guy didn’t want anything for it but gave him a Jefferson for holding for me.

Of all the grills I have ever saved, this was by far in the most pristine condition I have ever seen. Flavor bars intact. No fade on the knobs. Wheels intact. No rust/rot on the frame. No rot on the wood or rust on the z bars holding them. To top it off, I can see silver on the aluminum!

So now I’m lost. Never had a grill in such great condition. Usually I Frankenstein grills back together to get them up and running. Enjoyed the chase and rebuild. But with this one, what should I do to it? I checked out the serial number and it’s undated. Think the former owner of this kept it in his garage after several uses.


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I guess it depends on your own wants/needs for it. Like cars. Some folks want to do a full restore and then never touch it. Just display it. Some want a "survivor" pristine to a point but to be "used". And some (and I dislike those people) want to "restomod" you know "slam" it, put an LS engine in an early Cadillac (disgusting).
Anyway is it something you actually want to "cook" on? If so just deferred maintenance might be in order. Clean and restain the wood, clean the burners and such. Slap a little paint where it's thin and call it a day. Or is it something you want to "own for the history" and not use?
These things are what will "drive" how you treat it.
But, I agree you found a very nice example there. I know I would treat it differently than some (falling into the "survivor" camp). IOW it's an appliance. Otherwise take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning
I think those were only run for a couple years in the mid to late 1980's if that helps on dating it. The grills back then did not include a date code in the serial numbers.
I would try to keep the grill as original as possible due to the pristine condition of it. But, I would not turn it into a museum piece either. Fix it up, clean it up and cook on it.
I'm so used to getting grills that are beat up and then fixing them up. In this case, it's in pristine condition and nothing to fix. It's a very weird feeling.

I may do what the government did at the end of Raiders of the lost Ark and just put this away. But before I do that, have to do a ceremonial ribeye on it.
As someone who is torn constantly between restore vs restomod, in my opinion, just given how rare it is for you yourself to come across something like this in this condition, I would clean it up, replace what needs replacement, and enjoy.
Yeah on grills I am not so concerned about how original so a resto mod does not bother me much if at all. but on cars, I despise them. I hate seeing classic cars butchered up like that.
Wow! That grill really looks good for it's age, the tank scale label isn't even faded out. I think the wood could use some attention though, either refinish or replace depending on condition. It could be an optical illusion, but the handle looks a little warped. That can be replaced along with the slats if need be. Anyways, great score!
My Unicorn…
And inaugural firing with the first cook. Added a sweet potato just because!
My acquisition of this is “solely” based on the ”Brotherhood of “just do it” members of TVWBB”! Jon, Tony, Larry and,myself!
Oh, that union also includes, Danhoo, Bruce, and all the rest of you hilarious folks! Thanks for filling my back yard with more reasons to cook feasts!


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I think the airflow is just a little different with the center top vent, I do like the “Slide aside“ style lid hanger. It’s just a little bit different than a regular kettle but, with a few more cooks I should get it dialed in. Dedicated roti? Maybe. Not sure if it’s the “perfect Vortex unit” but, I’ll run some thighs and wings soon and consider that more closely.
I know @Rich Dahl used his "platypus" (I think he coined the name!) with the Kettle Pizza attachment. The wider stance gives a more solid base for attachments like that or a rotisserie. For the Kettle Pizza attachment, I think I would temporarily swap in a regular kettle lid that would be easier to remove straight up. But for normal cooking, I love the way the lid slides back instead of to one side. It's kind of a nice compromise compared to having a hinge without the downsides of that. Opening to the back makes both tables useful and just seems more logical to me.

Inside Stainless Grates.jpeg
Wow, what a beautiful find! Even the cadmium finish is still on the nuts inside the lid. The wood looks fine just the way it is. A great piece of Weber history, right there.
Wow, what a beautiful find! Even the cadmium finish is still on the nuts inside the lid. The wood looks fine just the way it is. A great piece of Weber history, right there.
Thanks, John! Those side shelves are actually the original thermoset. I wanted a different look to go with the wood handles I bought for it, and after abandoning the hope of having real wood shelves made, decided to give it my amateur attempt at "faux finishing" to look like wood. I sprayed over that with clear lacquer, but the jury is out on how long it will hold up.


Platypus Cooking BEFORE.jpeg

Wood handle and vent tab:

Front View.jpeg