Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
Jerry wrote from Seattle in early 2018, "I bought my 1953 CJ-3B recently from an owner who had owned it since the early 80s, sitting in a field up in the hills. It was complete, minus the seats, and is going through a restoration now. I have to replace the tub with another one I already had and have been saving for just this situation. The front end and frame are all in great shape, but the tub (400K JPEG) is completely rusted out, everywhere."
"It came with the original running gear, but I believe I am going to update it slightly instead of rebuilding the original. I have a couple other Jeeps that are truly all original, so this one I wanted to be a very mild resto-mod. I have an Iron Duke 4 cyl, 4 speed and Dana 300 transfer case, along with matching diffs that all came out of a 1981 CJ-5 that will go into this one. Something updated, reliable and not something that everyone else is doing. I figure it will still be good for the trails and will run down the highway OK."
"The blue hood is one of the new hoods that I manufacture for the old flat fender Jeeps, low and high hoods. This particular one will go on the CJ-3B in the end."
Jerry also mentions a problem he had with registering the title: "My biggest challenge so far came when I went to transfer the title and the DMV valued it at $14,600! $1400 in taxes? I only paid a couple hundred dollars for it. I have had many, many Jeeps and never ran into this problem before. The trick was that this model was in their system and all of the others were not. When it isn't in their system, they just look at the antique car guide and then rate the condition off a 6 tier model and then you pay tax on the corresponding value. I had to pay a few hundred dollars to have it appraised (more than I paid for the Jeep.) Now I've got the licensing taken care of and we're off and running on the resto."
"I purchased a 1953 CJ-3B in the spring of 2017, serial 453GB212730. It is a total restore, including a new body. Previous owner got another project. I plan to finish it into a rock crawler when I move to Colorado.
The new parts list is extensive, with major work already done -- brakes, wiring harness, body mounted to frame. Engine work is iffy and it still needs overhaul of steering and drivetrain. I am taking it to Trinidad CO so it might need a power upgrade from the F-head."
"I live in a Log cabin on a homestead in Washington State. I restored my 1953 CJ-3B to the most original form I could. I even painted it the original color. My wife's great grandfather bought the Willys brand new in 1953, and she and her brothers rode in it when they were small children. The old barn it was stored in was just about to fall over so 2 years ago the brothers basically said that we could have it if we wanted it."
See more details and photos of Michael's Cadet Gray CJ-3B.
Hector in Puerto Rico says, "My first antique car was this Willys CJ-3B 1953 -- it was purchased in excellent condition in the year 2000. Its restoration was performed by Nelson Burgos from Orocovis P.R. in 1997, and we have maintained it like that. I got it because it brought back memories of my father's Jeep, where I learned to drive." (See Restoring My Father's Jeep on CJ3B.info.)
See also the engine (210K JPEG). Note there are some details not original to a 1953 model, including the covered fresh air vent hole on the right side cowl, and the Sparton horn.
"I live in Shoreline, Washington. Just bought a 3B locally, my third Willys, first flatfender. It seems pretty solid. I've been poking at it, tightening stuff up here and there, but mostly just driving around in the sun.
"Carb leaks sporadically from the bottom and she runs rich, so I'll need to poke at that. I'm no intuitive genius with mechanical stuff, but can often fake my way through things with enough guidance and gumption. Happily, our Willys showed up with two commercial repair manuals plus a factory service manual -- very helpful! Found some not-exactly-appropriate Willys factory rims from a Jeepster across town, and will at some point put those on to replace the wagon wheels she's wearing now.
"The Jeep's name is 'Soju.' I told my wife and youngest daughter that it's short for 'Sojourner Truth,' but they weren't fooled. Both of them know I pulled a ROK tour in the early 80s.
"Non-factory stuff includes 12V conversion, Selec Trac hubs, key start, overdrive, roll bar and seat belts, wool (or something) seat covers, tow bar mount and BesTop that has nice windows (120K JPEG) and not much more. Body has enough wrinkles that I'll never worry about door dings, but I won't be bashing her brains out on the rocks just to prove how far we can go. She's too old and well-preserved for equipment abuse, and I'm too old and busted up for log-hopping. Plus I'm a crappy wrench, so the fewer things I break, the happier we'll all be.
"We'll do some gentle trail rides with the Teenster (third and last kid out), run down the hill to Home Depot and Ace, and the kid'll learn to drive stick... all four sticks, in fact. My wife is a bit charmed by the whole thing. I suppose that'll pass for her, but she knows I'm finding some consolation for not riding motorcycles anymore, and she is a patient woman."
Joe Betar has had this beautiful early '53 on display at his dealership Classic Motors in Richfield, Utah. The serial number (180K JPEG) is 453GB2 12352. They added new tires, steps and mirror, and the paint was done by Hansen Collision Center.
"My name is Dana C. Warburton, and I live in Jerome, Arizona. I now have a 1953 CJ-3B that took me 10 years to acquire from the previous owner. It's the ninth Jeep I have owned, and I think it's going to be the last."
See more about Number Nine.
When Bruce in Kentucky bought his 3B in late 2011, he said, "After oven cleaner, the engine number is 4J13876 I believe. 85,254 miles, runs great, drives good. It's still 6 volt. It has Cutlass lockouts with the two circles that takes an L-shaped tool. I am throwing a quicky paint job on it. (See it before the paint job, 200K JPEG.).
"I'm going to use it for light trails for fishing, hunting, and just relaxing cruises in the woods. Will restore it later up the road."
In 2012 Bruce decided he needed a hardtop (220K JPEG) to make it practical to use the Jeep on the farm in the snow (280K JPEG). He says, "I built it with 1x3s and plywood, painted, caulked and cut up an old Walmart pool to cover it. Then caulked again. Windows are plexiglass. I invested about 20 dollars in hinges, etc."
In early 2016, Steve wrote from Rochester: "I just recently purchased a 1953 CJ-3B. My son and I will be starting the restoration this summer. My son just completed and sold his 1946 CJ-2A, so I feel pretty confident with this project.
"The serial number is 453GB2 21544. I cannot detect an engine serial number at this time. The previous owner told me the engine had been rebuilt at Walck's, which may explain why there appears to be no number on the boss above the water pump.
"It appears to be in pretty good mechanical shape (I drove it 90 miles home). The frame is solid, and the body has the usual hat channel, driver floor, right floor/tool box, and rear corner issues. I'm sure more issues will be uncovered when the tub is removed
"For what it's worth, the previous owner (Buffalo NY) told me he purchased it from an owner in Pennsylvania, who had purchased it from the original owner, where it lived on a farm in Lancaster County PA. So that would make me the (unofficial) 4th owner. The odometer functions, appears original, and currently reads 42,912."
Jeff Heidman in Newnan, Georgia ("Ol' Skool Jeeper" on the CJ-3B Bulletin Board) went for a military look when he restored his '53 and painted it in OD.
See more about Jeff's CJ-3B Restored as Tribute.
Xavier in Switzerland wrote in 2012: "I'm 24 years old and I live in the surroundings of Geneva. I've recently bought a 1953 CJ-3B, ex-Swiss army. The Jeep has been mainly restored by the previous owner, but I realized that he didn't make everything right. So I've got some hours of work in perspective. When I bought it, it was looking like this (160K JPEG). I have made some upgrades including new wheels.
"The Swiss Army data plates are written in German and French, the two mainly spoken languages in Switzerland. See a wider photo of the interior (180K JPEG)."
Jim in Livonia, Michigan, says "I do not have the original engine as someone has changed it out for an L-head out of a '46 CJ-2A. As far as I know, it was owned by a vet clinic in Iowa for a good portion of its life. My father-in-law in Mt. Carroll IL acquired it in the 1980's and gifted it to me in 2004. At some point, somebody modified the rear springs, adding leaves to make a 12 leaf stack-up! It's driveable as is, but I'm making repairs as I go to make it more reliable, and will be changing out the springs for used originals soon."
Derrick is in Cambodia, and says, "Just got my hands on a CJ-3B which spent most of its life in the Cambodian Army -- came into service in 1964 and left service in 1994.
Serial number 453GB2 12687 was built in 1953 -- not sure what it did for the first 10 years of its life. Engine not original -- now has a Toyota 2l diesel -- and is only 2 wheel drive. Bucket seats, non-original instrument panel, power steering and front disc brakes. Will attempt to restore some of the cosmetic stuff to original, but will leave engine/drive train as is. I don't think I'll be able to take it out of the country so won't spend too much on it, as I'll have to sell it in about a year."
As of late 2013, Derrick says, "Here's an updated pic of my ex-Cambodian Army 3B. Spent a few months cosmetically restoring the old gal. Had a lot of rust taken out and resprayed, rear wheel mount added, jerry can and mount, new tyres and other minor bits and pieces. Next step is to get different seats, or have them re-covered if I can't find any seats. Its tough to get any parts besides Toyota over here."
"This 1953 CJ-3B has been in my wife's family since it was purchased new by her great uncle Bill Hoffman, back in 1953."
See more about Uncle Bill's Jeep.
Mike is in Indianapolis but bought this former U.S. Navy Jeep (see the dash plate, 230K JPEG) in Kentucky. A rear view reveals a PTO and some flush taillights.
Jean-Pierre Hardy in Sherbrooke, Quebec, says, "It has been two years now since I finished restoring it. I think it all began with my father's love of inventing, rebuilding and working hard."
See father in a CJ-2A in 1949, and son in his CJ-3B, in Like Father, Like Son.
"I live in St. George, Utah. My family bought the Jeep in 2005 from the classifieds in a local newspaper. I am not the owner now, but I will be. From what I can tell, all of the essential parts are original (excluding the taillights, tires, brake pads, etc.)
The Jeep has been jacked up, painted very funky, and has a hole cut in the dash (120K JPEG) where somebody had a little radio once :( and the tailgate has been replaced (140K JPEG) by a piece of metal welded on. The Jeep runs great, and is fun to drive, and on top of everything else I have the coolest car at school! Our family has always been big on Jeep rides, and we would go regularly at least once a month. Along with this Jeep, we also have a blue 1981 CJ-7. Most of the people in our family learned to drive while driving the CJ-7, but I learned in the better Jeep. 3B's rule!"
"We were on a drive in the country one sunny day in early September and there it was! A tarp in the shape of a flatfender Jeep, half hidden by the corner of a barn. It just had to be mine! My lucky find just happened to be a CJ-3B."
See more photos of Chuck's Jeep in BC, Canada, in My CJ-3B Restoration: A Jeep Family History Continues.
"Some one had obviously loved it for many, many years. I couldn't tell you the last time I bought a flatfender with a full-on complete snap-in carpet kit -- very cool!"
See more photos of Jim's orange Harley With a Snowplow.
"Where to start? Well, it was 1997. I was a sophomore in high school in California and was in need of a vehicle of some sort. My Dad having the keen eye that he does, kept passing this Jeep in a field on his way to and from work. After he decided that it looked like a do-able project, he took me out to look at it."
See the rest of the story of Lucky Thirteen.
"My name is Randy Pickthall, and I live in Golden, Colorado. I bought the Jeep in March '09, and have just finished getting it back together. We really enjoy driving it around. The VIN is 453GB2 22614, and the engine number is 4J22718."
This CJ-3B was certainly one of the first to arrive in Australia, brought over for the Army, wearing the same government ID plate used by Willys on Jeeps delivered to the U.S. military. Hein bought in it 2006 and did a frame-up restoration in 2008.
See more photos of Hein's '53, and a Mahindra 3B he rescued, in High Hood Pair in Australia.
"I live in West Pawlet, Vermont. I bought my '53 from someone in South Carolina who told me it was on a farm with one family in North Carolina until he bought it in 1998. The winter of 2000, when I bought it to keep my Cherokee company (200K JPEG), I got it inspectable (enough) and fixed what was broke.
I drove it 6-1/2 miles and blew the head gasket! The shape of the valve seats got the snowball rolling, and $2000 later I had a fresh motor, and got more fixin' done. Then a move from western New York to Vermont in 2001. She was basically garaged for 7 years. Now she's back and I'm all of a sudden $700 poorer. I made the mistake of looking her way with a wrench in my hand while I was in the garage...."
"I bought the Jeep in Great Falls MT in the mid 1970's. For the next 20 years it carried me on many hunting and fishing trips (160K JPEG) in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana. A little over 10 years ago I decided to bring it back east and restore it. I was new to the resto world so that process had several fits and starts, and probably took more time and money than it should have but it's finally finished. My restored CJ-3B is now retired on Grindstone Island (250K JPEG) in the 1000 Islands of NY and leading a very pampered life.
"I need to give credit for this fine resto job to Henry Welch of H.W. Welch and Company in Mountville, PA. After fiddling with the Jeep for several years I finally got smart and took it to Henry who finished it for me. He and his crew are real pros and do fine work. It's now in factory original condition."
"My name is Chuck Anthony and I live in Pocatello, Idaho. I have replaced almost everything but the engine. Now I just need to get it painted. "
See also a photo of Chuck taking his '53 on the road (160K JPEG).
"It is SN 453GB2 30903, which I've owned since around 1998 or so. Bought it from an individual in Nebraska while I was living in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the previous owner seemed to think it came from somewhere in northwest Iowa. I've since relocated to Clarinda IA.
"The previous owner did quite a bit of restoration work on it and they painted it Ford Royal blue. The inside of the toolbox has what looks to be a dark green on it which I'd guess is the original color. It is mostly stock except for a Warn overdrive, lockout hubs, and I recently converted it to 12v. It's been mostly used to drive trails on my folks' farm and in the woods (70K JPEGs) and the occasional 4th of July parade, as well as driving now and then on sunny days.
"The other Jeep in the pics (70K JPEG) is my Dad's '46 CJ-2A. He also has a 1960 CJ-3B
that we are in the process of fixing up as a trail Jeep for jaunts into
Colorado. Between us we've really developed a thing for old Jeeps over the years, and
the stable includes a 1942 Ford Script in need of restoration, 1946 CJ-2A,
1950 M38, 1953 CJ-3B, 1960 CJ-3B, and my grandfather's 1949 Willys pickup truck. Oh, and my daily driver is a 94 Wrangler."
Steve is in Aylmer, Ontario, Canada. He says, "I got the Jeep about three years ago, took about a year to restore it. Has the original motor and drive train. It needed some work to the body."
Will in New York state says, "Here is the CJ-3B before we started tearing it down. The color appears to have been green originally and that will be the last step. The frame is in real nice shape. All original parts are present. I have begun rebuilding the motor and other mechanicals."
See also a front view with Hi-lift (170K JPEG) and a rear view with PTO (240K JPEG).
"In Venezuela I was the owner of a CJ-3B which was very modified during the 20 years that I owned it. Was a sad decision to sell it, but my life took a change and I had to move to Spain.
Serial number 453GB2 25060, I'll remember for all my life. I put in a Buick 225 V6, front and rear CJ-5 axles (with front disc brakes), Chevy power steering, body and suspension lift kit made by me, and many other mods. Transsmission was a T-150. The body was near perfect, primed with the best marine primer and the only thing I did was in the rear, where I did the holes for military tail lamps. Oh, and I moved the fuel tank to the rear and closed the original fuel inlet on the left side. I dressed it in an English camo used on the Centurion tanks in WWII during the desert campaign.
"Now, here in Spain I'm the owner of a CJ-7 from 1977, Levi's edition with only 28,000 original miles. And I'm starting a new proJect: a 1944 Willys MB absolutely disassembled that I found in a garage. I can't stop doing this job, because it's a passion."
"I purchased this 1953 CJ-3B from a fellow in Colorado in April 2002. Over the next year I worked on weekends and evenings to do a frame-off restoration. The body was in terrible shape due to rust and the fact the previous owner has removed the body and sandblasted it, but never repainted at all. The ultimate plan was to drive the Willys away from the church at my wedding on October 11, 2003."
See more on Sam's first-time resto in Where to Start?
Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
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