Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
Rusty in New Mexico says, "I bought this 3B in Denver from the back of a used car lot. It was complete but running poorly. I have done a body-off total rebuild. New bearings, seals, gears, floor pans, etc. -- all the usual stuff. I installed 11-inch brakes, and a dual master from a Wagoneer, a Saginaw power steering with a GM tilt column, and a Painless wiring kit. Sandblasted everything and painted it myself. Drivetrain is stock with 12-volt and alternator upgrade. I had wheels made 15 by 7 with 2 in. backspace -- allows me to run 34x9.50 swampers without the tires rubbing the frame.
See the wider view (80K JPEG) of where Rusty's Jeep was perched for this 2002 New Year's Day shot.
Rusty was back out in the snow (90K JPEG) in the same area in early 2010. He said, "I had the Jeep down for repairs for a long time. I decided I needed a bit more power, so I got a 4.3 Vortec Chev engine, and I already had a SM420. Can of worms -- I had to put in hanging pedals (120K JPEG), an in-tank pump for the injected V6, a hydraulic clutch, new motor mounts, exhaust, floorboards, and radiator and mounts.
Took a long time as I was driving an 18-wheeler and gone weeks at a time. Oh, did I mention a wiring harness and a computer to run the engine. Anyway about 2 years I got it running, then the SM420 was popping out of 4th grrrrr. Had to pull it out and rebuid it -- parts were hard to find but I got it fixed.
"Now I'm done changing stuff and I'm just going to drive it and fix what breaks. So far in 2009-10 we are having an El Nino winter -- 4 storms already. The picture of the Jeep with the tree and the mountain (70K JPEG), that's looking north at the same tree as in the CJ3B Page cover photo from 2002 (70K JPEG)."
But the following year, this Christmas 2010 photo shows the same area. Rusty said, "No snow this year -- top down weather."
"I use it for fun. I live on a forest service access road, I have lots of 4 wheeling close by. I use it just like Willys made it for. I hope to have a half top for it soon, and a winch. l live in southern New Mexico near the White Sands National Monument.
"This photo of the Jeep posing with the aspens, was taken in fall 2012."
Don in Massachusetts bought two '53 3B's (160K JPEG) in 2005, one with a Fisher plow and a hardtop (120K JPEG). See also a photo of the engine (120K JPEG). He plans to put the plow and the hardtop on the other one, and get the blue one on the road. He says, "It was driven up until 1990. It seems the wiring is the first thing that needs attention -- there are wires everywhere, hot wires not connected. I've taped everything floating around. I put fat tires and rims on (60K JPEG) just to see what it would look like. They're coming off and I'm selling them as soon as I can. They look OK but I don't like the way they feel. It's hard to steer without power -- they aren't meant for this Jeep."
In 2006 Don updated us and sent photos of the bodywork and the primer. "I'm trying to get the '53 on the road for the Great American Jeep Rally at Four Towns Fairgrounds in Somers, Connecticut. Hope to get some ideas from others there. Decided to go gray with black (160K JPEG), totally rewired, modern seat belts.
I'll be using some seats I salvaged from a Mercury Lynx (100K JPEG). I still need to swap the tires and rims. I never got around to getting the other '53 running, so I may have to plow with this one more year -- I hope not to, but I think snow will be flying before we know it."
Don made it to the Great American Jeep Rally and took some photos: "Here I have my trailer and my new ND tires (130K JPEG). The MP jeep (170K JPEG) was the best jeep at the show (my opinion)." He also photographed a light blue '53 3B with repro body tub (130K JPEG) -- anybody know who owns it?
In 2007 Don got his trailer and rims painted to match the Jeep. He displayed it at his local VFW on Memorial Day 2008 (100K JPEG) and with a Navy SNJ trainer (130K JPEG) at the Wheels & Wings show in New Milford CT in October 2009.
"I use it three or four times a week to fix fences -- we raise Thoroughbreds and Arabians on our horse farm. I have an air compressor in the back, I made brackets to hold the fence boards, and I use the winch to stretch fence wire and move whatever needs to be moved."
See also more pictures, and the story of how Frank found his Hard Working Jeep That Never Complains.
This is the Jeep that Geoff listed for sale on the CJ-3B Bulletin Board in 2002, saying "Just had baby, must sell." Somehow the readers of the Board could tell he didn't really want to sell, and instead of making offers or asking for more details, they all started trying to convince him he was making a mistake. Some people reported how much their kids enjoyed Jeeps, and others recalled how they later regretted selling Jeeps. In the end, Geoff agreed and said, "I don't think I could sell it anyway. My Dad Bruce and I rebuilt it when I was a teenager. It was a basket case when purchased, but with a little TLC and a lot of time, she looks and runs great. It has the original F-head and running gear, just a spring-over lift and some cosmetic changes. Now my kids and I will enjoy it for years to come."
Sergio is in São Paulo, Brazil, where for years his Jeep was seen every weekend in off-road club events. Now he's restored it again and retired it to lighter recreational driving.
See lots of before-and-after photos of this Jipe Club Veteran.
"My father got this Jeep back in the early 80's and we used it around the place for firewooding, etc. It always ran on three cylinders and jumped out of gear, but it always ran! I learned how to drive in the Willys when I was 11 and had many many hours/miles behind the wheel before I turned 16. This Jeep had had a hard life before we got it and we didn't baby it. I went away to school and one weekend some buddies and I came home and to make a long story short, my friend who said he knew how to drive stick, ended up blowing the engine and tranny. This was almost the end of the Jeep and it sat for years. Then one day my father said he was throwing it out and that's when I got the Jeep and started putting it back together. It was really shot and not really worth restoring but I had a lot of sentimental value for it.
"I gave it a complete frame off, starting with a hammer and removing all the aluminum patching and pounds of bondo from the previous owner, and ending with 1971 Brockway truck orange paint. I wanted it to still have that old Jeep feel but make it very driveable. I swapped in a Buick odd fire V6 punched out .030, Ford T-18 tranny, and 11" drums. I also swapped the steering over to a manual Saginaw setup -- Willys just aren't meant to have power steering!
I installed 1" body pucks, and went with Superlift 1" springs, 1" heavy duty shackles and Rancho RS 9000 shocks. It took a really long time to incorporate each mod without losing the nostalgic Willys feel. It runs on 32"x10.5" Superswampers, and has the original Dana 18 with a Warn overdrive. With the granny four-speed, 5:38 gears this thing really crawls!
I took it up to a 4x4 park called Paragon and my little 3B outdid a lot of high-$ high-powered rigs. And did it with finesse -- you just can't beat the CJ-3B!
"This was my first real project and boy did I learn a lot and have a ton of fun! It took me about three years off and on. I really want to thank Carl Walck of Walck's Four wheel drive in Bowmanstown PA (610-852-3110) for all his help. He ships all over the world and is a phenomenal source for old Willys parts!"
Craig's in Whitby, Ontario and says: "The Jeep is a 1953 -- we used it for a hunt camp Jeep for years. Now I am restoring it myself. I made the whole thing new out of 18 ga. satin-coated steel -- it's working out pretty good.
"It was a fun time restoring this family toy. Especially re-wiring all the electrics, and not just because I only had red wire (an electricians nightmare!) My kids are all enjoying the smooth ride -- this is my boy. He's 20 years old and now I think I'm out one Jeep."
Our Spring 2003 cover photo was the Godfrey Jeep in its former yellow paint and halfcab.
"The side picture (100K JPEG) shows the new metal. The back end (60K JPEG) I closed in because the tailgate I have I don't think it's original stuff. I can always open it up when I find an original. I found original seats, gauges and lots of fiddly bits at Willys Acres just north of Toronto. The rims are Suzuki Samurai 15" with Flintstone tires, a little easier on the bladder! I also have new OS military tires.
See also spraying primer with snow on the ground, and the paint drying in the sun (50K JPEGs.)
"I am in New York. The '53 is sitting with two other projects - a '49 CJ-3A and a '46 CJ-2A column shift. The 3B will be restored in the near future to as close to original as possible. I like to preserve these Jeeps rather than making them rock crawlers. This 3B had been sorta rebuilt back in the 80's -- just a lot of bondo to make it look good. It has a Warn overdrive on it and pretty much all the original parts are still there; no back seat, but it has the air cleaner.
"The engine was seized but a little brake fluid and PB Blaster and it came around. I quickly replaced the points, plugs and condenser and it started to fire. After a few tries I noticed the coil smoking. I replaced it with another from my other Jeep and it fired right up and by playing with the throttle it keep running. By the third start it idled on its own and ran 40 PSI of oil pressure with no smoke. I hope it stays running this good, but time will tell. I now have three projects and will be busy this winter trying to finish one of them. Too many Jeeps, not enough time."
This highly modified and customized CJ-3B was restored in 2005 by Larry Shank in California, along with the Kenskill Teardrop trailer used by his parents Harry and Harriette on their 1950s camping trips in the U.S. Southwest.
See Mom, Dad, a Jeep and a Teardrop for stories, photos and movies of the camping trips and the restoration.
See also Harry Shank's Steering Headlight, plus photos of the CJ-3B at a Vintage Trailer Rally, and the story of when Larry's Rear Axle Breaks at Speed.
"This is the CJ-3B I gave to my wife for her birthday -- it is a 1953 with a 1967 small block Chevy, 4-speed Chevy transmission, and BC custom top with electric windows. It will be real nice in the winter when we play in the snow drifts in the mountains near Yakima, Washington."
Scott's green Jeep and matching trailer (100K JPEG) are often seen on the trails in Colorado and adjacent states. Scott bought the Jeep and the hardtop from the original owner in 2000: "Nice original condition -- it took a while to get this from the previous owner, but one day I saw it for sale by the side of the road. The owner was saving it for his nephew who didn't want it. Go figure. Of course I took it off his hands. 49,000 miles, Ramsey PTO winch."
See Have Trailer Will Travel for more great photos.
Jay in Fly Creek, NY says, "My 3B is similar to a picture on CJ3B.info of a 1954 advertisement in Fortune showing a Jeep at work for the Raymond Concrete Pile Company. My 3B was originally owned by the Raymond Co. (the stenciling on the hood can still be seen underneath the most recent paint job) and it has the same spool/cable PTO system mounted on the rear of the vehicle.
"The previous owner gave me a red military style gas can, but I'm not sure if it actually came with the Jeep originally. While cleaning out the Jeep I found an old tire iron and jack in the storage compartment under the passenger seat. A bit rusty, but perhaps original. I also found a piece of tin with a listing of codes on it, presumably CB radio codes from the Raymond Co. days."
See more details and photos of the Raymond Concrete Piledriver Jeep.
Richard in Shasta Lake, California, says, "It was used in Oakland to push and start cars on a car lot. Its owner loved it and stored it in a garage. It has always had its Texas-made Koenig steel top on, which protected its insides. I bought it in 2005 from the owner's son. The engine was almost completely rebuilt by the talented people at A&I in Redding CA I have gone through everything on the Jeep, rebuilding and repainting everything. Everything is original except the stainless steel nuts, washers and bolts.
"It had a brand new, in the box, overdrive by Warn. The rusty wire on the box had never been removed. It is now installed. The Warn wheel lockouts were on the car from the dealer. Those are the only non-Jeep parts added. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don't think this little jewel will get its wheels muddy. I plan to drive it to and from Shasta Dam (8 miles) where I am an armed guard. I have the doors with roll-up windows, but it is summer and we don't need them now. The Jeep will always sleep inside a garage -- the other cars can stay outside.
"Please see the before and after pictures (100K JPEGs) of what my wife calls my 'Last Project'."
"The Jeep has been in the family over 40 years. The L-head engine (80K JPEG) was installed over 20 years ago by my Dad who was the second owner. He purchased the Jeep, along with 4 jon boats, a box trailer, and a rotor tiller in 1961, from Jim Woody of Woody's Floats and Boats. The purchase price for everything was $800.00. Dad used the Jeep to shuttle passengers back and forth for float trips on the Meramec River, at the same location we currently live in Missouri. He was a licensed guide.
"I'm attaching a photo of me when I was 3 years old, sitting on the hood of the 3B. I was hooked even then."
See also the dashboard and a rear view photo (80K JPEGs) taken by Wes Knettle at the Spring Midwest Willys Reunion 2003.
And see a unique group photo of Civilian Jeeps, 1948-2001 including several owned by Dale & Wendy, in Missouri on Labor Day 2001.
"Greetings from Hurum, Norway. When I bought this Willys last summer it was in good shape, with no rust and a great running engine. My intention was to have it as a hunting car as it was, but I have decided to repaint it in the original Woodstock Green and try to keep it as original as possible."
More photos: the grille (40K JPEG) which shows the extra running lights, and a right side view of the Jeep out in the Norwegian bush.
"I was at the Jeep races in Lisbon, Ohio with my '53 CJ-3B, and its original state attracted quite a crowd around it Saturday morning in the campground. I've known many of these guys since 1976 and they are true Jeep lovers. All weekend long people were looking at it, wanting to buy it, and marvelling at the PTO unit on the back."
"While I was there, the clutch pedal broke at the pivot point mounted on the frame. We cannibalized (or K-Balled) the bracket from my friend's '47 CJ-2A racer and I was on my way."
Bob has now fully restored the Jeep: see Honeymoon Sweet 1953 CJ-3B for more photos and details.
"The Jeep was purchased new by our county road department in 1953, and used for spraying and hauling fuel. I bought it at an auction, and to make a long story short, everything has been repaired, replaced or overhauled. I'm a Caterpillar mechanic by trade, thus the Caterpillar yellow paint. The biggest headache I had was seats. It only had a driver's seat frame when I got it. I could not find any replacement seats, so I cut the seat frame down the middle and widened it to fit the width of the tub."
For more photos, including Brian's bench seat, see Cat Jeep 3B.
"I decided to go to the Internet and see if there was any possibility of finding a flat-fender Jeep myself. Lo and behold I made the mistake of finding CJ3B.info, and the projects of Dan Bever. Since Dan was from Indiana I felt like old neighbors and decided to e-mail him to ask for advice on how to find one of these high hood beauties. He wrote back and said his plate was full and that I could buy three CJ-3Bs from him."
See more photos of Buck's project in Rescuing a Jeep, Part 4.
"I bought the Jeep in Oklahoma City, OK through a friend of mine. The ad said "new paint, engine general overhaul." The yellow paint was new, but the car wasn't even washed. And the engine... probably there was an old general passing the car in his wheelchair."
Some more Project Photos, and details on Uwe's restoration.
The Arizona title says it's a 1959, but the 453-GB2-26455 serial number is for a 1953 model year. This Jeep has an instrument cluster, which would be post-1955, and a heater air inlet hole on the right cowl, which would be post-1961. So its history appears to be a little complicated -- axle manufacture dates may reveal its original age.
More photos: the optional extras (30K JPEG) that Frank got with the Jeep, and the rear end after repainting (23K JPEG).
The Jeep has both front and rear PTOs. The front PTO operates a Ramsey PTO winch, while the rear PTO's driveshaft is disconnected.
"I bought this Jeep from a gentleman in New Jersey who had bought it at auction in the early '80s. It was apparently a Long Island Police radio vehicle prior to his purchase.
This man also had, at the time, a 1972 Jeep Commando in which the mechanicals had been restored. A friend talked him into switching the Commando engine (304 V-8) and drivetrain into the 3B. He had the conversion work done by Hoaks 4-Wheel Drive Center of Wrightsville, PA in 1985. He then had the body completely done over in 1994 (unfortunately he had a replacement hood installed which doesn't have the Willys logo, and a new tailgate with the "Jeep" logo).
The conversion work was done very well and the 3B runs and drives great. I'd like to leave the look mostly original. Right now I use it mostly over the road but I expect the off-road use to increase over time. "(See Roger in the dirt, 70K JPEG).
"As my son and I began the process of a rebuild, I realized that 10 years of neglect really took its toll. I had to knock the pistons out with a very LARGE hammer after soaking them in penetrating fluid for several days." (See a photo of the finished rebuilt engine, a 40K GIF).
"After inspecting the undercarriage and many broken suspension components, I began looking at 'modest improvements'. On went a Rancho 2 1/2" suspension with RS 5000 shocks, Smittybilt full roll cage, 11.50 X 32 BFG AT on American Racing 10" rims, and a host of other goodies.
"Ever try to find a full cage kit for a 3B? After a call to Smittybilt's product engineer, I found out that they have never had a 3B in for specs so that one could be designed. Through several calls, I determined that it could be done by making modifications to the front cage kit for an early CJ-5 without a dash."
Other photos: a rear view in the original green, showing the dash and interior, and the primered, sanded body ready for painting.
"This Jeep we call 'Aunt B' is a GC2 Farm Jeep and was the 15th of 65 cars built in 1953. (See Willys-Overland Production Figures, 1945-61).
"Aunt B lived the last many years of her life on a ranch in Santa Margarita, north of Santa Barbara, California. A couple of friends and I did a quick assessment and decided we needed to do minimal work to bring her back to life. Mark Carlton found and purchased the B for me, and Whitney Haist really did a great job of bringing her back from a deep sleep. We found the Jeep when it was briefly listed on eBay but de-listed very quickly because of an error in the listing. We contacted the seller and did a deal privately."
See a classic photo of the Farm Jeep as they found her outstanding in her field (40K JPEG). Note: as of 2004 the Jeep has been sold.
"This Jeep had been maintained as a working snowplow Jeep by a local farm family until the owner retired. Technically I am the second owner. The tub had been replaced in the '70s, so rust is not a major problem. The tub was replaced at a time when manufacturers were more interested in "improving" the original tub rather than duplicating it. Thus they added a couple of "ribs" to the cargo bed. Though this was somewhat of a disappointment, the upside is that I won't feel obligated to do a textbook restoration. If I can get it into legal drivable shape and looking reasonably authentic I will be happy. The CJ-3A in the background has volunteered to exchange front seats and a few other parts with the 3B.
"There are problems but most are cosmetic -- the mechanics seem good. I have been gradually buying correct replacement parts for the restoration, which I view as a low-budget long term project. Here the Jeep is overlooking its stomping ground-to-be."
For photos of the Jeep as Bart originally found it, see Along the Roadside and the Jeep Horns page.
Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
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