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CJ-3B Snow Jeeps


 

Japan

MeyerChains all around: Hidemi Hishikawa in Yokosuka, Japan photographed his 1963 Mitsubishi J3R in the snow early in 2016. Hidemi often uses photos of his Jeep on the New Year's cards he sends out every year.
 

Arctic Treads

AlaskaMatt Brookins ran across this photo from Alaska. The owner of this CJ-3B has gone to some trouble and expense to equip it with full tracks.

Scott Blystone suggested they look like the track kits manufactured by Mattracks which sell for about $15K. Erik Dossett in Alaska said, "They are not Mattracks. These are snowmobile tracks, while Mattracks use rubber belts. I saw similar tracks or perhaps the same, on a CJ off-road in Alaska in the summer of 1977, so they could be used year round."
 

SummerWell, we found out that this one mounts big tires in the summer. Merrill Fales, who took the winter photo in Fairbanks, spotted the same Jeep in the pits at the Interior Racing Association mud bog at Delta Junction in June of 2001. See also a rear view photo of what the rig looked like after the event (80K JPEG.)
 

Rear viewMerrill sent us some more of the winter shots including this rear view and a close-up photo of the tracks (70K JPEG). He says, "They were taken in January of 2001. Rig in question is liable to be seen anywhere -- he gets around. IIRC, rig runs SBC and TH350, D18."

A wider view of the parking lot reveals a big Willys wagon (70K JPEG). Merrill says it has a stretched cowl, 502 Chevy, 205, and air bag suspension.
 

It's Not a New Idea

Tracked CJ-3BOdd Egil Torgersen in Norway says "I think this caterpillar CJ-3B was built in Sweden in 1953 by Scania-Vabis." (A long-standing Swedish car and truck manufacturer, Scania-Vabis merged with SAAB in 1969, and still makes heavy trucks and buses.)

According to The Jeep in Sweden by Stig Edqvist, these tracks were actually supplied by a Swiss company. It would be interesting to know how many of these conversions might have been done (and why they didn't use a hardtop).

I wasn't sure how the steering worked, but Jacques Dujardin points out that if you look at the photo you can see the steering blade just outboard of the tracks, attached to the front axle by a link and pivot. Jacques says, "A pretty simple system but certainly very inefficient as far as steering radius is concerned, and also it can not be used on hard surfaces like roads and tracks."

Studs in Colorado

Georgetown COOur Gang 4WD Club in Georgetown, Colorado has been organizing ice races for 33 years. They're out on Georgetown Lake on six weekends every January and February, with racing in a variety of classes. There are lots of old Jeeps, including the Gleason family CJ-3B; here John Gleason Sr. is seen after winning in a studded tire class.

See also Jen Gleason on the course in January 2008 and a wider view of Sara Gleason driving the 3B in February 2008 (50K JPEGs).

Thanks to photographer Michel Skatges.
 

Arctic Top

Arctic topBart McNeil photographed Charlie Eccher's early 3B wearing an Arctic Top in upper New York state, where it can get pretty cold in the winter. The insulated top, originally designed for the M38 military Jeep, requires a vertically positioned windshield (see a side view photo, 60K JPEG.)

Bart says, "From the front top view (80K JPEG) you can see that the windshield is the standard one, tilted to vertical. The windshield pivot has been relocated. A close-up view (30K JPEG) shows the new location of the pivot, about an inch behind the bottom corner of the hood, roughly 3-1/2 to 4 inches below its old location. The fact that the old holes for the windshield mount are filled, suggests that the top was meant to be permanent.

"The single windshield wiper is still vacuum powered. Although the bumper and fenders are rusty, note how straight they are. This 3B has not been abused. The fenders are both patched with sheet metal riveted on to cover rust holes. There are a number of such patches on the outside and on the floors of the vehicle; it appears that Charlie is carefully preserving it. The inside was pretty much untouched with original heater switch and Harrison heater. The spare tire mount is missing, and some of the right rear sheet metal has been replaced."

Topless in Canada

1959 CJ-3BPat McIntyre is near Ottawa, and shortly after finishing his 1959 CJ-3B Frame-Up Restoration, Pat got the whole family into the Jeep for a ride at Christmas 2007.
 

1959 CJ-3BThe kids were also eager to go on a moonlight drive in the first snow of the winter in Ontario.
 

First Drive in Ohio

Bucher, 2008David Bucher is a member of the Mid-Tennessee Vintage Willys Club and took this picture of his wife Donna in their 1953 CJ-3B shortly after buying it in 2008. David said, "We bought the Willys in January in West Carrolton, Ohio which is a suburb of Dayton. When we got the CJ it was driveable but it had many things that needed repair such as brakes, rotten wiring harness, etc. Today was the first time that we have had the Jeep out for any extended driving."

"The previous owner installed a tilt steering column from a Chevy Camaro or Nova, and a Saginaw steering gearbox. My plan was to put an original column and steering gearbox back in the Jeep, however after driving the CJ with this setup I am going to leave it as is. I had read about this modification on CJ3B.info and it does significantly improve the steering. I would like to find a steering wheel of a diameter closer to the factory steering wheel."

Czech Republic

Lada SulcsLadislav Sulc and his CJ-3B in U.S. Army livery including military-style tilt roof, are seen playing in the snow near Prague. Lada did a frame-up rebuild of the former Swiss Army Jeep; see more details in Things Are Not Always What They Seem... on CJ3B.info.
 

Italy

ItalyHeinz Holzner in northern Italy also restored his Spanish Viasa CJ-3B as a World War II jeep (210K JPEG) complete with pioneer tools on the side. The shovel came in handy on an excursion in the snow in early 2014.
 

ItalyHeinz says he and his friends took advantage of a lot of snow in the Alps this winter, to put a set of four chains on the Jeep and take a few trips.
 

ItalyThanks to Heinz for the great nighttime shots.

Meanwhile, he now has a real WWII jeep in his garage, and he's starting a restoration of the Ford GPW (100K JPEG) built in September 1942.
 

Nunavut

Iqaluit, 2011Iqaluit, Nunavut in northern Canada, gets an average annual snowfall of 93 inches, and it is dark and cold in January (average high temperature is -27C or -17F) so any snow that falls, stays around.

Photographer Ron Wassink speculated that this Jeep he spotted in Iqaluit in 2011 was military surplus, and the rear bumperettes suggest that might be the case.
 

Alabama!

10 January 2011Lawrence Wade took this photo in Priceville, Alabama on 10 January 2011, date of the third largest snowfall on record in the state (8.9 inches). The biggest was 1 January 1964 with 17", and second was 8 January 1988 at 9.6".

Lawrence always takes his Jeep in the local Christmas parade, and there's never snow on the ground for that. But the 2011 storm came just 3 weeks after a very rare white Christmas.
 

UK!

Beer TruckMany of us have experienced the situation, where the first snowfall catches you before you get the top back on the Jeep. John Carroll took advantage of the opportunity to test his electric wiper, and get a nice photo. This is his "Beer Truck," built from Willys, Mahindra, Viasa, and Hotchkiss parts. It was featured on our cover page in 2007; see 3B's in the Sand.
 

Even in Holland

The NetherlandsPiet Versleijen's photo of his ex-Swiss Army CJ-3B in the Netherlands was the cover photo on CJ3B.info for Christmas 2001. For warmer weather photos of the same Jeep, including a similar pose on a Mediterranean beach, see CJ-3B Vacation in France on CJ3B.info.
 

Thanks to all the contributors. -- Derek Redmond


See also Snow Day! and Snow is the Maine Attraction on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 20 December 2016 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
http://cj3b.info/Finds/FindsSnow.html
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond