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.
It was the CJ-2A that finally made it to production but it hadn't found it's true vocation yet and was still being touted as a farm workhorse. Production started in July 1945 with the 4-cylinder Go-Devil engine but with a different 3-speed T-90 transmission from that of the Military version. Early models had a short exhaust with a silencer exiting in front of the driver's side rear wheel.
One of the hallmarks of the Jeep was also taking shape at this stage. The original vertical 9-bar front grill was on the later Military vehicles made from a pressed panel. This now with the CJ's became 7 vertical apertures so larger head-lights could be fitted. This 7-slot option has been retained to this day.
More practical options such as fuel filler moved from under the driver's seat to the side panel. Tailgate was now drop-down and the spare wheel was now attached to the side. The CJ-2A was offered in two colors 'Pasture Green' and 'Harvest Tan', notice the farming theme. Later more colors such as Harvard Red, Michigan Yellow, Normandy Blue and Princetown Black were added. Other colors were later added, Luzon Red and Picket Grey, Potomac Grey and Emerald Green.
By mid-1946 the wartime austerity had relaxed to allow for more comfort and style. Full-length exhausts were fitted and chrome trim around the head-lights. As time went on different parts were used such as stronger axels and gearshift. Willys-Overland started to press their own metal bodies.
Production of the Jeep CJ-2A peaked in 1948 at just over 74,000. And so by 1949 the CJ-2A was superseded by the new Jeep CJ-3A.