Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
"I just purchased a 19-53 CJ3B from the owner's grandson. I found this Jeep in the CJ-3B Bulletin Board. Rob (the grandson) and his son decided it was more of a project than they wanted to take on. I have been looking for an unmodified CJ-3B for years and have almost purchased two others. I have always regretted not getting the others so this was the final straw. It is mostly original except for some 1960 or so auto bucket seats which I have already removed and discarded.
"I have been working on and modifying Jeeps for years (160K JPEG) and this is
about number 18 for me. Frankly I have lost count.
"One interesting thing about this 3B is the power takeoff winch, which is way over- classed for a 3B or any Universal Jeep for that matter. It also has what we used to call a "Yakima" roll cage made up from welded sections of round steel tube and then crudely welded to the top of the frame through holes cut in floor. I have had to grind some really nasty looking stuff off Jeep frames before, so this is nothing new to me.
"The vehicle data plate on the firewall has the serial number 453GBG2
30732. I do not have the title yet as the previous owner had lost it. I have
the last registration though, and the VIN number is listed as a Washington
State Vehicle frame number 4J35659. The flat above the engine water pump location has been milled off during a previous engine overhaul most likely, and has no numbers there at all. I find it curious that the "Frame Number" listed on the registration most closely resembles an engine serial number. In other documents I have with the Jeep, the 4J35659 number is listed as a Washington State Vehicle Frame Number. I was hoping I would find it stamped somewhere on the frame."
"Here's a picture of my 'Heep' complete with four new STA Super Traxion tires. I found this 1953 model in Salida, Colorado, and I believe it was used mostly on a farm in Buena Vista. It's pretty much stock, shows about 45k miles on the odometer, and there is very little rust (except for toolbox), but the mechanical wear seems to indicate that it was in low range for most of its life. For example, the front driveshaft spline is completely worn out!
"My 'restoration' goal is to do what a 1960-ish owner would do to keep it running, with no particular need for authenticity other than the ease of using stock parts because they fit without modification."
"I live in Hollis Center, Maine. My Dad (Gene) and I have been painstakingly re-building his father's 1953 CJ-3B and are very near completion. We have rebuilt it from the ground up and re-used as many of original components/parts as possible. A few more details and we'll be done with everything except for the canvas top. We got second place for best of the 50's at the Bonny Eagle Car show this spring (largest show in Maine, 1100 cars there.)
"We have tried to keep originality as much as possible -- the only things I know of that aren't are the taillights (used two instead of the one for safety) and a start button on the dash that was probably an aftermarket upgrade (I have seen the identical button on another 53). And yes she's still 6V! She was registered and used as a plow truck up until about 6 years ago, and we started restoration last spring. CJ3B.info is one of the most valuable resources we had during this project."
See a photo of Gene with his five grandchildren (180K JPEG) taken on his 75th birthday. See also the interior (80K JPEG), plus some "before" photos of Eric and Gene's project "Woody" in the The Dilapidated CJ-3B Competition.
Bob in Clinton, Tenessee says, "My son David sparked my interest in restoring Willys Jeeps. I had owned a new 1953 Willys Jeep and gave it to him in the early 1960s to trade in on his first car. Years later, he came in driving a similar Jeep, old and rusty, and said, 'Here's your Jeep back.' I told him I didn't want it, but he insisted I keep it. I have now completed two restoration projects, a '53 and a '63. Both Jeeps have repro bodies and are painted the original green color using the original paint numbers obtained from CJ3B.info. For HERCJ3B (the '53) I used the frame from one Jeep which I had a title for, and the engine from another Jeep which I had a title for."
See more details and photos of His and Hers CJ-3Bs.
Don Wilson in Vicksburg, Mississippi bought this "Deer Ambulance" and then discovered that its serial number plate identifies it as 453GB2 10004, which would be the fourth CJ-3B off the assembly line (see Willys Production Figures 1945-61) and the oldest known surviving 3B. However, he comments that "I must say that the '1' and the third '0' are very hard to see and I'm scared to clean the plate any more. Is there somebody that restores serial number plates or is there a permissible technique for highlighting the number?"
Don also says, "This picture is what it looked like when I bought it, and the interior photo and fender photo (160K JPEGs) are of it now. I stripped it down and was going to just paint it and put it back together until I found out about the serial number. I started taking the Jeep apart and the project has kind of stalled at the moment. If you know anybody that is interested, I would be interested in selling it. I'd love to restore it but I'm not sure if I'll ever find/make the time. Now that I know that it's the oldest one, I would have to restore it completely and I don't think I have the energy. It has a hardtop, factory heater and a PTO that was put on at the dealership when it was new."
"I'm located in Ventura CA, and the Willys has just been gone through. All running gear is stock. The Willys came off an almond farm in Delano CA. It took two years to restore, but drives better than the day it was new. Serial number 453GB2 25293, engine number 4J27556."
See also a left side view, a front view, and the engine (150K JPEG).
"Greetings from Akureyri, capital of North Iceland (40K JPEG). Thanks for this great site; it's an inspiration to us all to keep restoring these old friends.
"Here you have pictures of my 1953 with homemade hardtop.Every one of them is unique. Men in Iceland didn't have much material to work with at that time, so they used what timber and metal they could find to shelter them from the elements.
This one has a working Hurricane engine and is running good but needs some attending to. This CJ has been used for the last 4 years for fun and sometimes work on a construction site, but is mainly for fun and kept indoors. It's a part of our transportation history in Iceland. In my hometown this is the only working CJ-3B. There are a few left that are running here in Iceland; many guys are restoring Jeeps here and there, but not combined in a club."
See also a rear view photo and an interior photo (40K JPEGs).
John in Poughkeepsie NY says, "CJ3B.info has helped me tremendously in putting together my '53. I have the complete drivetrain from a '78 CJ-5, power steering, disc brakes, tera-low in a Dana 20. My serial number is 453GB2 26480; I don't have the original engine number -- the old block was cracked."
See also a rear view with Bantam trailer (150K JPEG).
George's 1953 CJ-3B in Einsiedeln, Switzerland is a Swiss Army surplus Jeep.
Warren and Carol Newbury now live in California, where Warren decided in 2012 to give their Jeep a new rattle can OD paint job, with vinyl lettering from a sign shop. It replaces his earlier, very fun Desert Storm camo paint that the '53 wore in the Veteran's Day parade when they lived in Durant, Oklahoma.
The Jeep has had an electronic distributor since 2009. Warren initially tried a Pertronix electronic points replacement and coil, but had problems and then installed an Omix Ada electronic distributor, which he says has been running great ever since. However, he comments that "I had to rotate the wire location in the new distributor cap by 180 degrees when putting the wires into the new cap. 1 became 3, etc. The tang in the bottom of the distributor shaft is off center. It only goes in one way."
Jared in Missouri wrote in 2011: "I have recently acquired a 1953 CJ-3B with the serial number 453GB2 13718. The engine number is 4J13999B2. It is dark green in color with what looks like gray seat covers... or very very faded black ones. The wheels are 16" and are painted body color. It appears that the Jeep and the wheels have the original paint. The engine compartment looks to be very close to original with the original-style clamps on the air breather tube, etc. Has the remainder of the Fram sticker on the oil filter cover, etc.
"The Jeep has a PTO unit that includes the gear box, drive shaft, and control unit, but no drum or governor. The PTO unit also has what is left of a very bent guard (40K JPEG) on it.
"Originally the Jeep was from Illinois, and went to Pacific, Missouri around 1959 or so and was used around a farm there until 2009 when a guy bought it and sold it to me a few weeks ago. It appears to be all original with the exception of a 12 volt conversion, tail lights, and a clock added to the dash."
"My father-in-law, Holland Tussey (currently 87 and doing well) purchased his 1953 Willys CJ-3B Jeep on February 5th, 1954 to use primarily as a farm vehicle. He snatched up one of the last '53's the dealer had on their lot. He doesn't have the original sales receipt and can't remember exactly what he paid for it, but knowing him, I'm betting he got a pretty good deal. Holland was one of the pioneers of North Carolina pit-cooked barbecue, and ran Tussey's Barbecue, a successful BBQ restaurant in Lexington, from 1948-1963.
"While visiting her dad in 2010, my wife Holly made reference to the Jeep and explained how she hated seeing it, year after year, just rusting away. She suggested he let us collect all its parts and move the Jeep to our basement garage. He reluctantly agreed. The following weekend my two sons and I gathered all the parts up and towed the Jeep to its new home."
See more details on this North Carolina High Hood.
Doug wrote in September 2010, "Early in the summer I bought a beautifully restored '53 Willys CJ-3B in Cooperstown NY where I have a summer home (I live in Stowe VT the rest of the year).
"Of course, I immediately went online to learn as much as I could about this terrific vehicle. I've been on CJ3B.info at least a hundred times and have learned a ton, while enjoying the car all summer."
"I live in Rockville, Maryland. I purchased the Willys in February 2008 from a fella in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, who purchased the Jeep a year earlier. I was told it was totally refurbished 10 years prior to that. The tub was layered over with steel and a huge step bumper was welded to the rear with new rear lights and stickers everywhere. It was a non-runner when I got it, frozen motor and mouse-eaten wiring everywhere.
"I'm not a mechanic, so many thanks goes out to CJ3B.info and Kaiser Willys Auto Supply. I was able to get the engine running great, the transmission working great and a host of wiring and other mini projects completed. I'm proud and happy to say that the Jeep is roadworthy and I take it on errands often."
See also a rear view (160K JPEG). Greg sold the Jeep in 2011 and says he is on the lookout for another project.
Brian Platzer writes, "This is my dad's new 1953 CJ-3B, at the moving of a 1953 GE 80-Ton Switcher locomotive at Camp Pendleton, CA. It has a reproduction body, windshield, etc. Only the frame, the tailgate, and the front grille are original -- but since it was saved from a farmer's field, it was most definitely worth it. My dad and I didn't do the restoration work you see on it right now, but we plan to further restore it in USS Oriskany Navy colors.
Rick (MoonFroggie) in Washington state says, "It's built to suit me. Close to stock, cept with the useful things I like -- heater, 11-inch brakes, overdrive, lifted a bit, and a top to keep out that Washington rain."
See more photos and details of the Vitamin C J3B, which Rick sold in early 2006 to Terry Tevis in Northern California.
Hernan in Colombia writes, "The whole car was taken apart and rebuilt. The trailer was custom designed by a Colombian company, Agro del Fonce Ltda. They have been building trailers for a long time and the idea was to resemble the original look of the Jeep, which I think was accomplished. See also a rear view photo (110K JPEG) which gives a good look at the trailer. Thanks for your web page -- I redid my Willys based on pictures I got from your web page."
Jason Powell and his 3B never sit still long enough for a driveway photo. Here's his story: "I got this Jeep from my grandfather who really enjoyed Jeeps. I believe he got it in North Carolina but the exact location I'm not sure of -- it has been in the Powell family for quite some time now. The only things that I have had done to the Jeep as far as unoriginal parts is the radiator is redone, and the tires have been upgraded to 25" tires. It still has the 6-volt electrical system and everything.
"I live in Gainesville, Florida. I pretty much drive the Jeep whenever it isn't raining outside. It is a fun ride and good for having some old fashioned fun. The top speed is only 45-50 and that is pushing it."
See a closer shot of Jason in the water (100K JPEG). See also another action shot (100K JPEG) showing tool indents in the side of the Jeep, indicating that sometime in the last half century, somebody had the body tub replaced.
Recent restoration in Newnan, Georgia. See also a left rear view (90K JPEG) and the dashboard (90K JPEG).
"I live in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The Jeep was owned by a series of people in and around Canaan, Connecticut. The person I bought it from had used it as a plow vehicle, and it has a plow and frame attached with a Hi-Lo Jeep Hydraulic Pump. I expect that I will replace the tub, as it is pretty rusted, and it is burning oil, so I also plan to rebuild the engine. My son, who is 8 and I are planning to do this together. I used to rebuild VW's back in the 60's, and have done little since then, so it will be a learning experience for us both."
Carlos Andres Barrera and Maria Sandoval in Bogota, Colombia have restored this '53 as an M606 in desert sand paint. Following its original importation in 1953, it actually worked for many years not in the military, but as a rural taxi.
See a video of the Jeep on a muddy trail on YouTube.
John in Ohio says, "My first car in 1956 was a CJ-2A. From that point I have always had Jeeps around, probably 20-30. Just in the past few years I have begun to focus on the 'Farm Jeep.' The Jeeps I have now, for the most part, didn't have any accessories (PTO, etc.) I picked up these parts mostly from tips I get at various truck and tractor shows I attend. I have owned the 3B for three years. I did a ground-up restoration, finishing in '06."
See more photos and details on John's Green Prairie Farm Jeep.
"After many years of living in Pittsburgh, I finally bought a CJ-3B to have here. I still have the red 1954 CJ-3B back in Colombia, which thanks to family and friends is still in great shape. The new one is a 1953 yellow 3B. It was completely restored here in Pittsburgh by Chuck Courty, one of the founders of the Flat Fender Club of Butler. Chuck did an amazing job with this car. I was very lucky he let me buy it."
Sebastian took some photos in Pittsburgh in fall 2010: a rear view (230K JPEG) and on the street (180K JPEG).
See the full story of Sebastian's and his father's Three Willys on CJ3B.info. See also some of their photos of Jeeps in Colombia.
"This pic was taken about 1985. My 1953 CJ-3B is hauling a load of 20' long Lodgepole Pine tipi poles up from my canoe which is down there in the Missouri River. Attached to the half cab and the draw bar are my custom built canoe racks (the custom front bumper rack isn't used.) Easily fastened, a canoe will rest on top for many miles. The rack can be easily extended on both sides for hauling two 17' canoes."
"The deluxe Koenig half cab is kept warm in winter with a 'fresh air heater' and is trimmed inside with wooden door and roof panels. The seats are covered in grey cordura nylon (in the future, the rebuilt 3B Universal will sport deerhide-covered seats.) The tranny tower dust boots are real leather, and a custom map holder (wire mesh) is mounted to the dash. Note also the custom outside rear view mirror for use with the hard cab, and the windshield is correctly painted black. The doors can be completely removed for the summer time breeze. The tires seen here are 6.50x16/6 ply (used). Driven over 80 thousand miles on its first rebuild, the Jeep is now scheduled for a second complete frame up rebuild.
"The chaff screen can be unsnapped in the winter months and replaced with a cover (see a 1995 front view photo, 115K JPEG.) Radiator air flow is controlled by adjusting that cover (not shown) for really cold weather. The headlamp stone guards are a heavy-duty custom fabrication. No hood blocks are needed as the W/S is never folded down. So a ventilating windshield would be nice!
"This 1953 has been modified using 12-volt Willys electrical components. It has both front and rear Powr Lok spiders, using a 19-spline rear 44. The transfer case has the 1-1/4" intermediate shaft and the Jeep also sports a Warn overdrive unit."
See a rear view photo of Ken's 3B in A Man and His Jeep on CJ3B.info.
See also 20 Cubic Feet of Firewood -- Ken's tips for woodcutting and roadside repairs.
Carolyn Canaday writes, "Terry Brogdon in Parker, Colorado is my brother. The Jeep in question has been in our family since 1970. I now own the Jeep In Casper, Wyoming. I would like to send a full story in the near future as the Jeep has come a long way. Much thanks goes to my brother Terry and his wife Cindy for the love they put into restoring a family memory."
Todd in San Diego CA says, "A Willys was my first Jeep and I still have my '46 2A, but I have finished my '53 3B and it is the family car right now. I bought it from Mr. Marvin; my guess he was terminally ill, and he was settling his affairs. His Willys was in pieces in his garage for more than 20 years. I found it on the CJ-3B Bulletin Board, we talked and I bought it. Then almost a year to date, I drove the Jeep over to his house to show him what had become of it, but he had died two months earlier. His son that helped me load the old Jeep (130K JPEG) on the trailer after I bought it was home at the time, and seeing the Jeep he could not believe it was finally running.
"A CJ-3B was one of the first Jeeps I looked at on a used car lot when I was 14. Always wondered ever since; now I don't have to, I have one now. It's too bad that Mr. Marvin never got to see the Jeep finished (120K JPEG), but his family did. "
"I am 17 years old and I have always wanted a Willys Jeep because my pappy used to own a few of them. I found this CJ-3B sitting over a bank sunk about a foot into the mud. I was told it has been sittin' there for 5 years. Well, I bought it. Up the road there was an old farmer who helped pull it out and he delivered it to my dad's shop where I work on it now. It has a 2300 Ford 4-banger with a T90."
Ron in Winston-Salem NC has done a nice job on his first restoration project, and says, "I am normally a stock broker, so this was a different kind of challenge. CJ3B.info has been invaluable in figuring out the 'little details' a novice needs to understand. An example is finding the correct parking lamps. One article referred to the 1176, which I will buy today and complete the turn signal installation. The site is also good inspiration to working on the 3B (now called Max in honor of the dog that has gone to the shop with me every time I have worked on it).
"The history is traceable only back to 1978 when the vehicle came into North Carolina. The windshield has a decal from the Civilian Flight Testing Center in Mojave. It also had an Ohio State decal. It probably was re-worked about the time it came into N.C. A pilot drove it a while and it ended up in a hangar where a friend bought it, did some repairs, sold it to my dad, and then I ended up with it a few years ago.
"It had the brakes re-built, new gas tank. He converted to 12 volts, put in an electric fuel pump, had carb rebuilt (which caused a small fire). I put an alternator, then starters in it. On the fourth starter a friend checked it and pronounced the ring gear worn. My first thought was this was going to be too expensive to have the engine pulled, and the old CJ was not worth the cost. He challenged me, saying he pulled motors when he was ten years old. So with a $20 ring gear and a $30 book from Walcks, the work began.
"While the motor was out, I cleaned and painted it. Everything went back together well and the motor looked too great for the rest to look so rough, so a new renovation was started. This was not a frame-off, since I am a novice. The body was stripped, Bondo done, done and re-done, sanded and finally painted. It has lots of parts from Walck's (from horn button and recently a horn, thermostat, ignition parts, windshield rubber, tailgate stencil and chain covers, to a Solex carb and many more.) Lots of help from a friend (who did the first work and challenged me.)
"A note on horns: Walck's said it was easy to install a horn wire. It was, for a knowledgeable mechanic. As a novice I pulled the old remaining wire from the bottom of the steering column. The wire was about 12-14 inches long. I fished a wire up to the steering wheel and attached it to the horn wire. An obstruction kept it from returning into the tube it passes through at the bottom. After a few hours and several attempts I got a long metal rod small enough to pass through the tube. It dislodged the obstruction (probable old cloth insulation) and the wire came on through easily. I then learned the horn on the Jeep was a replacement grounded to the fender. I replaced it with an original style grounded to the horn button. It works great.
"The CJ-3B will be used on farmland near Advance, N.C. I have learned something along the way, and salvaged another flat fender."
Matthew in Rochelle, Georgia says, "It is in ruff but fixable shape. Mechanics seem to be OK -- if I could just track down the problem in the ignition system I would have the motor running. The transmission and transfer case seem to work well. I bought it from a man who had too many project and not enough cash. He had purchased it from a man who used it to get around his farm and to hunt his land. I have included a couple of picture from the day I towed it home." (See a front view photo, 50K JPEG.)
Matthew made some progress on a plan to build a home-brew fiberglass tub. See the cardboard form for the rear bed (70K JPEG).
"I bought 'Lil Red' from a friend three or four years ago. From what I understand he was the second or third owner. I've wanted a Willys since I was a kid. Now I'm a middle aged kid and finally got one. It was in fairly good shape when we got it, but my buddy hadn't used it much or kept up on maintaining it, so we had a little work to do to get it running right. It still has the F-head Hurricane four and a Warn overdrive. That little engine is a joy to work on and has plenty of power for our hunting trips or just 4-wheeling for fun. It runs great and I love it. My son and I (60K JPEG) have taken it over rocks, through mud, over sand dunes (90K JPEG), across streams and who knows what else. If we take it slow and easy, we have yet to find a place Lil Red won't go.
"A couple years ago we went on a one-day Jeep trip out to Coyote Canyon in Borrego Springs, California with several friends who all have big money mega Jeeps. Over and over they kept saying 'You might want to wait here Joel. That little old Jeep might not make it.' Well, there's a good little rock climb at the end of Coyote Canyon. Six of us tried to go up. One mega Jeep broke an axle on the way up. Another got stuck going up and my son and I pulled the poor fellow out with Lil Red. Boy did he have egg on his face. Only four of us made it to the top. Lil Red was one of them. Of those four only three made it back down under their own power. One of the mega Jeeps broke a spring hanger just as he got to the top and spent most of the night putting the thing back together. As I reached the bottom and drove past one of the broken Jeeps the guy nodded his head and said, 'They don't make 'em like they used to.' That was the last time anybody said, 'You might want to wait here Joel.'
"It may be 53 years old, but Lil Red will be hunting with us at the dove opener in September. I'm sure it'll get us there and back again. It's a terrific little Jeep and I wouldn't part with it for love or money. It's mostly original, but some parts are not. I've got a list of stuff to restore like the wheels and tires, tire rack and so on. At some point, I hope to have it back to at least 90% original. In the meantime, it's just a kick to drive."
"This Jeep was used by my grandfather (Buckwheat) and a family friend (Mouse) in the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department. It still has the fire lights and siren. I am restoring it in their memory. So far no finished product shots but I thought I would send these in anyway." See the rear body extension and the interior (60K JPEGs).
See also more on the Jeep Body Extension on CJ3B.info.
Mark in Palmer, Alaska says, "I purchased it in 2001 from Tod Colvin of Anchorage. The engine has been changed out to a 350 Chevy. Saginaw 4-speed transmission, original T18 transfer case w/Warn OD. Original axles front and rear, but back is full floater with ARB air locker. This is a sweetheart of a 3B and rightfully now has an inside heated home to dwell in when not being driven."
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