Return to the index of 1955-59 Jeeps.
Randall wrote from Wisconsin in early 2019, "My Dad purchased a 1955 CJ-3B in 1957. He used it to drive from Chicago where he worked to Northern Wisconsin where his family lived. Quite a ride every other weekend. The odometer broke in 1959 with 41,000 miles on it. He put it through the ice on Trude Lake (Northern WI) one year, plowing us kids an ice skating rink. Boy, do I have memories of that Jeep.
"Well, I inherited it in 2002 and it's taken me this long to start a restoration. The VIN number on the firewall tag is 57348 12886, the engine # is 4J78494. The frame is stamped on the top of the frame passenger side 12886."
"I bought the Bison lift in 2006, for $1400 delivered to the curb. The model number is TP9KAF. Its a 9000 pound. If I had it to do all over I would get the 11K lift cause my Dodge Cummins is too much for it. Any vehicle has to be centered, weight-wise, on it or it will really struggle getting up in the air. I have replaced the seals in the same cylinder 2 times. Rod looks good when it's apart but after a while the oil will spit out of the bleeder hole at the top of the cylinder.
"I'm a hobbyist, so the lift will sit for a month sometimes without use. But when I need it, it's awesome. If I was a professional I would get a high quality lift, but for the money its been pretty good for the stuff I do."
Here's what Randall is shooting for -- the Jeep as it was when his father first bought it. Side steps, chrome hubcaps and Dec 56 Wisconsin plates.
The seat was looking somewhat worn for only two years old, and in fact I'm not even sure it's a Jeep seat, so possibly it came from another vehicle. The passenger seat was an option in those days!
Andreas Rye Andersen wrote from Denmark to tell us about a Jeep that belongs to his father's machinery rental company: "In 1964 my father Poul bought a Willys CJ-3B, serial number 57348-16016. It was used to spray until 1980, then it sat quiet in our barn, where it was largely forgotten until 2008. We began a long restoration, and now we are almost done. We started making racks for the roof."
The restored Jeep carries the old company name "Poul Rye Machinery" and the company motto En go jordforbindelse or "A Good Grounding".
Poul and his younger son Asger pose with the Jeep in the Rye Andersen farm machinery barn in Hadsten DK. Photo courtesy of pingvinnyt.dk.
Denny in Batavia IL got a surprise in 2016: "Many of the managers in my company chipped in this spring and bought me a CJ-3B fully restored as a thank you for the 34 years we have spent together and the success we have had. I was blown away. What an unbelievable gift.
"So I am new to CJ's. I have 1 YJ and 3 TJ's. Rebuilding TJ's and modifying them for off road has been my passion. Odd thing about this Jeep is that upon closer inspection after they gave it to me it has a Go Devil engine in it, not a Hurricane as it should have. We are speculating that when whoever restored it, a Go Devil was easier to procure. I have attached a few photos of the Jeep -- a front view in the garage (220K JPEG) and a shot of the interior (260K JPEG). It was restored beautifully. Just now digging into it to understand them better."
This rare, possibly original Transport Yellow Jeep (see original paint showing, 150K JPEG) is Mark's second CJ-3B in Palmer, Alaska. He says, "Without CJ3B.info I would have been lost in trying to identify this 3B I acquired several years ago. It had no firewall tag, no title, no old license plate or anything else to help identify its place in history. It came with no engine, and the motor mounts and grille shroud had been hacked out. Whoever started the re-power job they had planned for it, never completed the task, but all in all it looked like a candidate for restoration. The right rear corner where the spare carrier goes has some issues, but the rest of the floor boards are pretty solid for Alaska. I believe this is because of the Koenig full hard top (130K JPEG) that was on it.
Recently I had a little time, and had been thinking of it a little more partly because I have finally located another original power train and the rest of what is missing to start the restoration. I then started digging on CJ3B.info to figure out what year it was, to stay with everything original. I was confused at first as it appeared to be a 1956 to me partly because it was originally yellow and I thought it was Arena Yellow. Then it finally came to me that it was too dark and had to be Transport Yellow, and I found the serial number 22870 stamped on the frame just ahead of the passenger side cab mount. I am convinced now it is a 1955 model year CJ-3B, VIN 57348 22870 and I have no doubt about it being Transport Yellow originally."
Chriss in Arkansas says, "I'm an auto technician of 29 years. I bought the '55 Willys about a year and a half ago. It was in pretty rough shape, rust in the floorpan and body side panels. The engine smoked badly (2 cracked pistons -- broken rings). Even though it was worn out it was still a lot of fun to drive. This convinced me it was worth saving, so the repair project started.
"It seemed to get out of hand then -- everything I took apart needed major repair. I took the body off the frame to repair the rust, and a good friend and excelent body man, Kevin Nault replaced all the rusty metal. Meanwhile I disassembled the engine to give it a minor overhaul (I thought). After about $1500 the engine went back in the frame.
"Since the body was now very nice and maybe straighter than original, I couldn't stop there. With the help of another good friend, an excellent painter, Timmy Tabor, the paint turned out so good that now I don't want to get it scratched up in the brush (see the grille, 140K JPEG). The pretty girl in one of the photos (160K JPEG) is my niece Andrea Manley.
"Now the strange part. I bought another Willys for parts, It's a '61 CJ-3B (150K JPEG) and after close inspection it wasn't so bad after all. With a good cleaning and a few repairs the old rusty red '61 now is saving the nice yellow '55 from all the rough work. These old Willys are the most fun you can have with your clothes on! Maybe someday someone will inherit these (way down the road I hope) and have as much fun as I am now. It is a great stress reliever after working on Cadillacs and Corvettes all day!"
As of 2012 Chriss has a new shop building with a roof for the Jeep, and a Jeep hood for a porch roof. There's also a Koenig hardtop (170K JPEG) on the '55.
Jamie Powers took a couple of photos when he drove up from Texas with his daughters for a visit: Chriss and Patsy on the trail in the '55, and Chriss and the girls posing with the two Jeeps (100K JPEGs).
In late 2015, Craig said: "I live in Cary, Illinois. My CJ was owned by the Chicago Arch Diocese as a church plow truck. A retired Chicago fireman has owned it for the past 25 years. When I purchased it from him he told me that it was run from time to time. It was never titled. I plan on not restoring it and keeping it as original as I can. I recored the radiator and reupholstered the seats."
John wrote from Enid, Oklahoma in summer 2015: "I purchased the Jeep a few months ago from a farmer in Aline OK. It was buried in the back of a small barn under all sorts of stuff; the word 'hoarder' comes to mind. The Jeep is all original as far as I can tell. I originally thought it was a 1940's model that I planned to restore to military specs, but could not pass up the CJ-3B after spending the two hours to dig it out. It was originally a dark green. The VIN is 57348 10878. I do not have the engine numbers yet; too much grease and oil to be removed to ensure they are the correct ones.
"The Jeep is in really good shape (see a side view, 160K JPEG) and will be mostly restored to original. Upgrading steering and brakes but all else will be original. Has a King winch powered by flywheel on front that is functional. The winch is complete other than the lever to engage and disengage the drum is broken. I used it to rewind the excess cable while cranking the motor over while trying to start the Jeep. I do not know if it will get the original winch put back on or a newer electric one.
"It fired a couple of times and then I tore it apart to begin a light restoration/rebuild of the whole thing. It will be a slow process as I am still Active Duty Army and just get to work on it on weekends and while on leave. Right now it is a great learning tool for my son and daughter to learn basic mechanics and how to work on cars."
"My name is William Castillo, from Cartago, Costa Rica. This is my Willys CJ-3B, serial number unknown. When I bought it, it was in really bad condition, in misuse about 10 years. I restored it so it can be used according to our Department of Transportation laws and Periodic Vehicle Inspection."
Marcus lives in Munich, Germany and writes: "I bought it in August 2007 in North Germany (Borken), brought it to South Germany (Munich) and improved it year by year. I have no roof, and my family and I drive it on sunny days through Munich and to beer gardens. The dove-blue and brown color mix (280K JPEG) fits great.
"Gearbox and engine needed some fine tuning, wheel bearings were changed, and I replaced the wiring with better wires. I love the simplicity and and rough style and try to keep it as clean as possible. My family, specially my kids, love our Jeep, and it creates here more attention than a Porsche, Ferrari or Lambo...."
"This is my 1955 3B that my wife inherited from her grandfather. It used to be used in New York, about 40 miles out of the city, to plow a service station, 'Bob and Ott's.' Her grandfather was Robert K. Butler II. After he sold the station in the 90's, the Jeep was used to plow in the Berkshires in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, at Bob and his wife's lake home.
"The Jeep now resides in Vernon, Connecticut, to plow driveways within the cult de sac where we live. I have been a car and truck nut as long as I remember, and have become a purist, even at the young age of 27. After seeing the fads in cars change like clothing over the years, I now prefer them stock or with very simple, clean modifications. So I plan on adding a small block Chevy, but do not plan to alter the outward appearance, so as to keep it a sleeper except for a mild rumble from a quiet turbo muffler.
"For tires I am running 6 x 16 NDTs from Wallace Wade, and snow tires ($55 apiece 8-ply from GPX International Tire, Malden MA) on 15" rims. The Jeep is now green with a new Beachwood canvas top (70K JPEG), very nice quality."
Brian is in RIchmond, Vermont, and says, "I have been working on the frame-off restoration of a 1955 CJ-3B, serial no. 57348-17385. My wife was pregnant with our first child at the time I bought the Jeep. She is now four years old, and this summer we plan on using the Jeep at last."
See Beryl Green Jeep is a Gem for more photos.
Andrew in Geraldton, Western Australia writes: "It is a factory right hand drive and was in pretty poor condition (80K JPEG). There was no engine. There is no chassis number stamped into the chassis. I have checked and checked everywhere and even had the whole chassis sandblasted. The serial number on the identification plate is 57348 15358T. The colour originally was a brown, almost khaki colour."
Jaime in Bogota, Colombia has the earliest known surviving 57348 serial number: 57348 10294 is from the beginning of the 1955 model year. He writes, "I restored a CJ-3B that belonged to my father's farm since new.
"It was originally red but painted as a tiger as a game when I was a boy. I sent a picture of me playing in the CJ-3B (60K JPEG) 20 years ago."
See also the new paint job on the hood (60K JPEG).
"This Jeep is located in Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. Serial number is 5734813919M, and engine number 4J79388. The Jeep is not all 100% original -- it has had some modifications, such as the gas tank, the seats, and floor. Other than that I believe it is in good shape, still running."
See also a front view photo (120K JPEG).
"I bought this 1955 CJ-3B in 1972 from Midwest Welding in Bozeman, MT, where it still resides. It had 26K on it at the time but the body was in rough shape due at least in part to the shop putting very heavy items in the bed. When I decided to completely rebuild it, I went with a glass body because of both the physical damage and rust on the original.
"The engine is a 381 Chevy. What I wanted was a spunky daily driver with good road manners (well, as good as they are going to get with an 80-inch wheelbase and 15 inches under the skid plate) and good off-road ability. I think it is getting pretty close."
See more on John's Wolf in Jeep's Clothing and his 2013 Weekend in the Tobacco Root Mountains.
"On December 22, 1954 the Jeep was imported to Colombia by Leonidas Lara e Hijos, the company which imported many of the Jeeps that are working now in the coffee area in the country."
See Working Jeep Restored in Colombia for more photos and details of this example of Colombia's hardworking Willys Jeeps.
This military CJ-3B was apparently sold or sent brand new as U.S. military aid to the Spanish army. Marcel writes from Barcelona in Spanish: "I decided to replace the gearbox with one of four speeds, from a Jeep Toledo SV (a van made in Spain by Willys-VIASA)."
See more details on his restoration of this Fast and Flashy '55 with four on the floor.
Edmundo lives in Toledo, Spain, the namesake of that other Toledo in Ohio, USA, where Jeeps have been built since 1940. Ironically though, this Jeep was assembled not in Toledo but in Louvain, Belgium.
The serial number plate (70K JPEG) reads "Willys-Overland Import. S.A. Ateliers de la Dyle. Louvain." It is stamped with year of manufacture 1956, and chassis number "CJ3 17010," which would indicate a 1955 model if it is the Willys serial number.
The tailgate is unusual because it lacks the small square cutouts in the top lip (for installing the tailgate spare tire mount.) This is a distinctive feature we have run across only on a few 1954 Jeeps (see Tailgate Reading.)
"I'm from Mexico and I live about 100km from Mexico City. This Jeep was given to me by my grandfather who bought it from the Mexican Air Force, so he says. He used it as a farm jeep but its major purpose was to help my grandfather to reach unreachable places to visit sick people, since he is a doctor. He needed to get to very far places fast and sometimes he had to cross rivers or take the the nurses to the mountains to do their social service. As the years went by and highways and roads were more common he stopped using the CJ, but then he started using it as a farm jeep to pull heavy trailers or to transport animals or even just to take a ride and supervise what was done by the workers. Years went by and the CJ started to look old and rusty so my uncle painted it as it is currently painted. (See also front view and rear view photos, 100K JPEGs.)
"In 1990 a worker destroyed the engine -- my grandpa tells me that the block was broken in two parts. He fixed the engine in 1991 with brand new pieces (when they were cheap). Finally after a few years the CJ started to be obsolete as more new trucks came to the market. The only user was my grandpa -- he used to give me a ride in the CJ to get the milk and go horseback riding, so the CJ is pretty much the first 3 years of my life. About 4 years ago I was being nostalgic and I decided to take out the CJ after at least 8 years of storage. I knew nothing about cars, but finally a mechanic who works in the farm decided to help. It's a long way still to see it completely restored, but hey -- no one said it was going to be easy. Friends of my age (18 or so) go nuts every time I decide to go for a ride in the CJ. I will send more pictures. Congratulations for CJ3B.info -- since I found it, this page has been my bible and even an inspiration to decide on what I wanted to study. In university I wrote an essay about my CJ and it helped me to get a good spot in a mechanical engineering congress."
Stephen Gallagher of Portsmouth, NH found this 3B in a junkyard and decided to bring it home for Christmas (60K JPEG) last year to keep his two Willys pickups company.
"I am still trying to decide if I should restore this, which means it will be on the back burner for a while, or part it out, or get it running and beat on it in the woods. On the driver's side of the firewall there is an aluminum tag with the number 28670. Anybody have any idea what that tag is?"
Ron Murray has restored a President Red 1955 CJ-3B with 17,264 miles on it. It's in the center of the large version of this photo (60K JPEG), with Ron's unrestored '53 snowplow Jeep on the left (and Steve Chabot's red '59).
See also Ron at the wheel of the '55 (60K JPEG), with Steve in the background. These photos were taken on my 1999 trip to Maine.
"I live in Reykjavik, Iceland. About two years ago I noticed this CJ-3B standing outside on a parking lot in an industrial area. When I saw it still standing there few months later I could not resist any longer, tracked down the owner and asked him if he was willing to sell it.
"Registered in 1954, it had serial number 57348-11369 (actually an early 1955 model), and had all stock running gear and stock steering gear, but had been lifted with a leaf over, and the front differential had been welded to lock it 100%.
See more photos of this Jeep and Magnus' 1953 3B on the "Israelsyeppi" in Iceland page.
"I started working on my Jeep around 1999 and finished it around 2002. I did all my body work and painting myself and all other work on it. I rebuilt the Jeep from two CJ-3Bs and one CJ-5, the engine from the CJ-5 which is a Hurricane F134. The frame is a 1965 CJ-3B, the body is a 1955, and that's what I have it registered as at the courthouse. This is how it turned out in the end."
Tony is in Georgia, USA, but the body he used apparently comes from a Jeep that was exported and assembled in Europe, since it has a dash tag in German and French.
While putting an addition on his house in 2010, Tony used his Jeep to pull 2,464 pounds of concrete blocks (120K JPEG).
"The Jeep is a one-owner -- Dad purchased it new in the spring of 1955. The vehicle has been garage kept since 1963. Prior to that it sat in the weather. With the exception of batteries, a muffler and a tailpipe, no other parts have been replaced. Dad did have the seats recovered, I think in the mid-80's. The original color of the seats was the same as the grey covers on the tailgate chains. The only other change Dad made was to add a stabilizer shock to the front tie rod ends to eliminate shimmy, and to bolt on a farm tractor floodlight to the draw bar for a back up light."
See Family Tradition for more photos of this Jeep in the 1950s, and Wade at the River for recent photos. Also 1955 CJ-3B Details: A Photo Reference for some closeups.
"My CJ-3B is extremely modified. The engine is a 340 Buick V-8 with Carter 4 bbl and HEI from a '79 350 Buick (the 340 was made only in 66-67). The V-8 is mated to an SM420 4-speed tranny via an aluminum Buick bellhousing, which houses the McLeod clutch, and the original model 18 transfer case (shift poppet removed for 2Lo capability)."
See details and photos of the engine compartment and photos of William's Jeep in action.
Return to the index of 1955-59 Jeeps.
You can contact CJ3B.info to add your CJ-3B to the Owners & Photos pages. -- Derek Redmond
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Last updated 24 January 2019 by Derek Redmond firstname.lastname@example.org
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond