Classic Jeep

Classic Jeep for Civilian Use

Classic Jeeps that are separate from the military versions started out after the Second World War and started with the notation CJ or Civilian Jeep. The first to be mass produced was the CJ-2A that rolled off the production lines in 1945 just as production of the WWII version was coming to a close.

Initially, civilian Jeeps were aimed at agricultural activities but found uses in many other off-road pursuits. The export potential was soon explored and that led to many other foreign variants being built under license. Other Jeeps in the forms of Pick-ups, Station Wagons, Forward-control and Amphibious vehicles were also part of the Classic Jeep heritage.

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The Jeep CJ-3A went to production in 1948 alongside the last of the previous generation. It shared much of the design of the previous CJ-2A but continued to improve and take on its own identity over the next 6 years until production ended in 1953.

The changes made from to the CJ-3A were varied but most obvious was the single piece windscreen as opposed to the previous split windscreen. The flat fenders were retained but the rear wheel arches were adjusted to give more legroom for the driver and passenger.

After the end of World War II, the production of Military Jeeps was due to end. Before that happened the manufacturers, mainly Willys-Overland had been testing the Jeep concept for other uses such as agricultural vehicles. In order to make it into a suitable tool, power take-off and a drawbar hitch were added. Along with this lower ratio gears and strengthened clutch and chassis were required if it was to see duty down on the farm.

The CJ-1 or Agrijeep was constructed around the original Willys MB specification but a new CJ-2 was designed and built from new specific parts including the 'composite body' from American Central Manufacturing that had been used in both wartime Willys MB and Ford GPW from 1944 onwards. These were a start to civilian life but neither saw mass production.

Classic Jeeps started in civilian life with the production of the CJ-2A or Civilian Jeep in 1945. Building on those early military vehicles they bore the classic marks of the vertical slotted grill, upright windscreen and distinctive shape that are enduring in many of today’s Jeep models. What a useful vehicle they proved to be, winning admirers in all sections of civilian service. The CJ was modified to be useful as a small agricultural vehicle with many optional accessories.

The CJ-3A came in late 1948 and is identifiable with a single piece windscreen but had also strengthened transmission and drive train. At this point there was a hiccup in the evolution as the CJ-4 only ever got to prototype status. This was a combination of shortage of funds allied to the costs and restrictions of developing the M38A1 for the Korean war. After several attempts it was aborted and finally a modified CJ-3B was delivered in 1953.