Texas: Land of Late Model High Hoods

1965 CJ-3B, Chet Couvillon, Spring Branch, Texas

TexasA glance at the mid-sixties Jeeps in the CJ-3B Serial Number and Engine Number List shows that a lot of them were bought in Texas. In fact, of the 7 surviving 1965 3B's known to have been sold through Kaiser dealers in the U.S., at least 4 of them are now or were formerly in Texas. Of 43 1964 models sold domestically, at least 7 are now in Texas.

Of course there's a lot of room for Jeeps in the Lone Star State. In the 60's Texans were still used to thinking of their state as the largest in the U.S.A. (although the larger Alaska had become a state in 1959.) And a big part of the economy of the state has always been the resource and agricultural sectors, which were prime targets of Jeep marketing in that era. But it's also interesting to speculate about whether a few of the 3B's intended for export to Latin America got sidetracked in Texas.

1965Quite a few of these Jeeps are still in the original family or original town where they were bought in the mid-sixties.

Chet Couvillon's early '65 model (above) is one of those. Chet says, "This Jeep was purchased by my Grandfather from Woodie's Jeeps in Houston, Texas on October 22,1964. I have the original invoice and Owner's Manual. It was purchased as a hunting Jeep and was 'put to the test' by my dad (right, 1970) and many uncles and cousins over the past 40 years."

See also Chet and his cousins in the Jeep, 1973 (100K JPEG).

Woodie's JeepsThe invoice (70K JPEG) shows the Jeep was purchased by Mr. Grimes early in the 1965 model year for a flat $2000, a bit of a discount off the normal base price of $2117 (according to Patrick Foster's Standard Catalog of Jeep, 1940-2003.) This suggests that Woodie's was perhaps having trouble moving the CJ-3B model, whose design was showing its age by this point.

Woodie's made good use of the panel in the center of the tailgate (left), where Kaiser was no longer stamping the "Willys" name.

ChetThis photo shows Chet's uncle and great-grandfather, outside his grandfather's dry cleaning shop (Santa Rosa Cleaners) in Houston, about 1967. Later, Chet learned to drive in the Jeep when he was a teenager. Now, as of early 2007, Chet announced on the CJ-3B Bulletin Board that he is planning to restore it to stock condition: "I think the word is restoration... but I am not sure how far to take it. I would like to get it back to looking original. I am not looking for a 'show Jeep,' as I plan to keep using it for hunting and fishing adventures. I also don't plan to add any upgrades that would detract from the original appearance."

Right rearOldtime, the CJ-3B Bulletin Board moderator, noticed the grab bar bolted to the dashboard, and commented, "The Passenger Safety Rail is an interesting find as it was not listed in Parts Lists as a 3B option. It does not show up at all in the early 3B-only Parts Lists.

"From 1959 on the Universal Parts Lists covers all Universal Jeep models, and the PSR shows up in the 6/59 list in section 35-77 which is special equipment and accessories. It is only listed as an option for the CJ-5 and 6 models. It was listed as a "KIT" containing: 1 rail, 2 hex head screws 3/8-16x1", 2 lock washers, 2 nuts, 2 flat washers, 1 set of instructions.

"In all subsequent Universal Parts Lists the PSR is moved to section 31-04. So is it now a standard item for the CJ-5 and 6? I would suppose not, since it is still listed as a KIT. It is never listed for CJ-3B application. I would suppose this was because the 3B was considered an economy Jeep with few luxuries. We all know how much more luxurious the CJ-5 is. (Ha Ha!) But since it is listed as a kit for CJ-5, I would suppose dealers may have installed it in CJ-3B Jeeps for an additional fee."

RearIt's hard to tell for sure, but in Chet's baby photo above it doesn't look like the Passenger Safety Rail is installed yet. And there is no additional charge included on the dealer's invoice (70K JPEG). But it may well have been ordered through Woodie's parts department.

Incidentally, after Woodie's Jeeps closed in the 1980's, the late Lupe Gutierrez, who had been the parts manager, founded Lupe's Parts Co. which still supplies Jeep parts in Houston.

Oldtime continued: "So Chet you may want to take careful note when removing your PSR. Note whether or not the bolts are of the correct specification. Out of round holes would indicate non-factory drilling. Is there any paint on the edges of the holes? This could indicate possible factory installation as opposed to being drilled later at a dealership or elsewhere."

leftChet responded, "I will have to research when the safety rail was added. I always remember it being there, like when one of my cousins would take a corner too fast.

"I will need someone to help survey the body rust and determine whether to use replacement panels vs. repro body. I will need a windshield frame, new hood, springs and shocks replaced, brake work, and new bumpers. I purchased seat frames a few years ago from someone on the CJ-3B Bulletin Board. The engine (80K JPEG) and drive train are running OK, but I know they could use some work. And finally a new paint job."

A real surprise on the Bulletin Board was a posting from Larry: "You fellas won't believe this story, but last evening I had the chance to visit with Chet via telephone (he's only a little over 100 miles to the west of me) about his Jeep. Turns out that I went through school in southeast Houston with Chet's mother and uncle as I grew up only a few blocks over from them. I remember very well when Chet's grandfather (owner of a local laundry and cleaner's establishment) bought that Jeep and drove it to work on a regular basis (the business was only a few blocks east of his home). Chet's uncle used to drive it around the neighborhood from time to time, and as one of his friends, I remember riding in that Jeep."

Thanks to Chet Couvillon for the photos. See our 2010 article Texas High-Hood History Restored for the results of his restoration project. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see Last CJ-3B Sold Stateside? (Dean Lachasse's '65 from Texas) and Hunting in Texas: A Good Dog and a Late-Model B.

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Last updated 7 August 2007 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond