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.
1954 saw the first of the hugely popular CJ-5 that was to continue in production until 1983. Variant were made such as the Renegade and Golden Eagle, vehicles that are icons of the automotive design industry.
Late 1955 saw a variation with a longer wheel base and pick-up bed that was sold as the CJ-6. It would however not be until 1976 that the CJ-7 replaced it and for the next decade it was to become the pre-eminent Jeep light utility vehicle until it was replaced by the Wrangler.
The CJ-8 Scrambler in 1981 did for the CJ-7 what the CJ-6 did for the CJ-5 in being a stretched pick-up truck. Finally the CJ-10 was a similar variant with a pick-up bed just the same. Other notable Classic Jeeps were the 1946 Willys Jeep 463 Station Wagon that was the first purpose-built vehicle of its type. This was followed in 1947 by the Willys Jeep Truck, an open back 4 wheel drive light haulage vehicle.
The first Willys Jeepster VJ came in 1948 a sporty convertible version that in hind sight is the forerunner to today’s ever popular Sports Utility Vehicles or SUV. Less mainstream are versions such as the forward-control vehicle and amphibious vehicle are all part of the classic Jeep heritage.