Return to the index of 1955-59 Jeeps.
Denis' Jeep in France is not strictly speaking a Willys, but of all the versions of the CJ-3B built from scratch by overseas manufacturers, this version from Hotchkiss and Co. is probably the one that was closest to the Willys original, although Hotchkiss called it a JH-101 rather than a CJ-3B. This example is serial number 1433 (80K JPEG) of 3,496 JH-101s built from 1955-1960.
Denis wrote in 2020, "I live in the west of France in Brittany. I bought this Jeep in 2005 near Calais in a military vehicle resale garage, after it was surely used by a farmer in the Calais region for many years. There was a 23 HP Massey Ferguson diesel engine. I replaced it with a Peugeot Indenor 75 HP diesel after modification of the clutch housing."
This is the paint job the JH-101 sported when Denis bought it! In addition to repainting, and replacing the tractor engine, changes consisted of installing an MB-type canvas top (100K JPEG), new seat cushions and backs, a Willys steering wheel, jerrycan holder and spare wheel holder (60K JPEG) and 600x16 military tires. He says, "I have also redone the brakes (shoes, wheel cylinders, brake hoses) and I will later redo the tired spring leaves. It is a very pleasant Jeep to drive with an engine full of torque."
Christián is originally from Argentina, where he owns a 1943 Ford GPW and 1944 Willys MB. In 2016 he wrote to say, "I moved to Mexico City in 2013 and since then I thought about getting a new project. In February this year I had the chance to buy in Guadalajara, Jalisco a 1956 Willys CJ-3B, serial number 57348 24289 and engine number 4J112950.
The Jeep was formerly used by the Mexican Secretariat of Health and Assistance in the fight against malaria, and in 2021 Christián completed his restoration of this Malaria Campaign Jeep.
This 1956 CJ-3B originally served in the motor pool at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the federal government scientific facility in New Mexico set up in 1942 as the home of the Manhattan Project, developing the first atomic bomb. The Jeep had been repainted in white, but current owner Todd Marquart in Idaho decided to return it to a look more appropriate to its role at LANL. See Los Alamos Jeep Now in OD.
Sam is in Exeter NH, and wrote in December 2018: "I just acquired serial no. 57348-33735 last week. Looks like the engine was rebuilt as I cannot find the number on the block above the water pump. It was in Hull, Massachusetts. The previous owner purchased it in 2011. Prior to that it had been in Boston's south shore area, however I don't know for how long nor any other details. It's mechanically solid, but has some rust that will have to be addressed at some time.
"It will make a nice project for me and my 17 year-old son. This is our second Jeep. We also have a 1995 YJ. We are excited to have a flat fender."
"I have just bought a CJ3B that is titled as a 1955 but after looking at the CJ-3B Serial Number List I believe it is a 1956 -- the VIN number is 5734827001. I live in Debary, Florida and bought it from a local dealer.
"With the angle cut right rear side (180K JPEG) I believe it was a cargo loader. (See Building Conveyor Belt CJ-3Bs on CJ3B.info.) I know it has the wrong windshield on it and will most likely find a correct one someday. The old owner has put 20K into the restoration and it looks as good in person as it does in the pictures. It does have the original drivetrain."
Kristian in Austria found this former Swiss Army Jeep in a barn in 2004, and says, "For 1500 Euros I got it and since 2007 I drive it every day in summer, when the weather is dry and warm.
I did a lot of improvements. My principle is always: it should look good and contemporary and must be useful. On the front, I mounted a winch (230K JPEG). It's a modern winch (yes, it's China but useful), but I painted in olive drab and stuck a brass type plate on it. Now it's looking vintage.
"My spare tire is on a swing out carrier (290K JPEG), combined with the jerry can on the back. It looks like the Willys MB, but more practical.
"For towing a trailer I needed a trailer coupling (250K JPEG). For me not a great challenge -- I'm a metalworker and can make it by myself. If I don't use it, I can remove it with two screws. For communication with my friends, I installed an invisible CB radio, only the mic is on the dashboard."
Phil contacted CJ3B.info from southern California in 2015 to say: "My father-in-law bought the Jeep new in 1956. He and I put all the miles on the Jeep hunting (primarily deer and ground squirrels) in and around the Bakersfield area in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range.
"When my father-in-law passed away, he left the Jeep to my wife Charlene (his daughter) and me. We put the Jeep in storage for nearly 30 years. In 2015, we pulled the Jeep out of storage and I started to bring it back to life.
See California 3B is a Retired Hunter for more photos, and stories from its hunting days.
Vincent in the Netherlands writes, "This Willys was from an uncle of my father, he bought it brand new in Nijmegen, a city in Holland, in the year 1956. The name of my father's uncle was Ben Meurs."
See more on Uncle Ben's Jeep.
Pierre bought this Jeep in Grenoble, France in 2011. It dates from early in the 1956 model year, and was exported to Europe in 1955. This is according to the import plate (80K JPEG) which is in French and German, probably indicating a former Swiss military Jeep.
Ian is a Dane with an English-sounding name, courtesy of a Canadian mother. He owns a 1956 ex-Danish Army 3B, still pretty much in its original military condition. Some of the Danish Army features are: log book in a pocket on the dashboard (to record oil changes, mechanical problems, etc.), a traffic-signalling sign stored behind the driver's seat, Bosch electric wiper motors, Ermax blackout taillights, Ermax side mirrors, rear-mounted spare, ventilating windshield, and canvas cover for the front grille.
See more photos and details of Ian's Danish Army Jeep.
Allan Dahl has a Danish Air Force Jeep: "I am the happy owner of a Willys CJ-3B. It has been running in the Danish Air Force as an officer car in the late '50s. I bought the Jeep 10 years ago in very bad condition and have been forced to shift to a new chassis. I would now like to paint the jeep in the original color."
See also a great front view photo of Allan's Jeep and dog (160K JPEG).
David in Nova Scotia says, "I had asked the owner of CJ-3B serial #57348 32062 and engine # 4J133542 if he wanted to sell it about 10 years ago, and he said no he was going to fix it. So I worked away on my M38 and used it. Then I sold the M38 in the summer of 2009 and had been having withdrawal symptoms to my Jeep habit, so I stopped and asked again and it was mine for $150.
"The man who I bought it from worked in the quarry at Wallace NS. It was a maintenance vehicle there. He said it quit one day in 1966 so they towed it into a shed with a dirt floor and it sat and sank there til 1993 when he bought it and towed it home. He got it running but it had no brakes and it ended up sitting in his yard til 2009. The engine is seized and there is a lot of rot. I have a year to get it roadworthy because my daughter wants to drive it to her graduation prom in 2011! So the Jeep was towed 16km up the road to my home in Pugwash, NS. First time the Jeep was out of Wallace since 1956."
"I just bought my first CJ-3B in July and will be restoring it over the years, but I'm done with restoring for now. This Jeep is Located in Braselton, Georgia, USA. Serial number is 32720."
Joe in Cheyenne, Wyoming has what is probably a former airport baggage loader Jeep, which he keeps in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Joe says, "It was purchased from an estate sale 'in boxes' by a good friend in Arizona in 1993 or 94. Being the more mechanical one, I helped get it together and painted. The Jeep had been wrecked and worked over, it appears.
"The steering gear and wheel are out of something like an early '50s Hudson; two glove box doors from some sort of aircraft were inserted in the dash, the parking brake was relocated to a lever between the seats, and the hood is a fiberglass repro from somewhere. The spotlight and antique 'Handyman' jack are vital accessories!
"The right rear wheelwell has been reformed so that it slopes back instead of being flat. The most noticeable alteration is the windshield; someone fabricated one from scratch. It was well done by someone who knew what they were doing, but cannot be mistaken for original by anyone. But running and painted, it looks good and is a lot of fun; stock engine and drive train. The engine number is R4J43411. I see the R prefix is unusual."
In 2020, Joe wrote, "Recent retirement has provided more time. This last summer I completed a total brake rebuild -- all new parts except the brake pedal -- and new tires and fuel gauge. A repaint, seats, and new top are slated over the next year or two."
Niclas sent a beautiful photo from Stockholm, Sweden. He says, "After 4 years the Jeep is finally done (except hubs). The Jeep is a 1956 M606-modified 3B, ex Danish military. My only modifications are a 90A Bosch alternator, upgrade to 12V from 6V, and a non-working blackout light system. The tub is an MD Juan repro tub; the original was in a poor shape. The F134 engine has an YF938SD carb. The top (M38 adjusted to 3B, not in picture) and seats are from Beachwood Canvas.
Philipp in Switzerland says, "I bought the former Swiss military Jeep in 2001. The previous owner had it painted brown, otherwise it was largely in the original state. In winter 2004/2005 I painted it in Swiss Army dark grey. I have also an original jeep trailer. For more info see my website Burgi's Page."
"I replaced everything on this Jeep from nuts, bolts and washers, to cotter pins. It's brand new from front to back, and a lot of the credit goes to my wife for putting up with all the long hours I spent cleaning and scraping the mud and oiled dirt from all the parts I took off. I also have to give a ton of credit to all the people on CJ3B.info who answered my questions, and to the folks that had the parts I could not find."
See more photos and the history of Andy's Jeep which has been From Airport to Hunting Camp.
"A friend of mine gave me this 1956 CJ-3B and the owner's manual this summer, and I have begun to restore it. The original owner used to drive the Jeep partially into the ocean and fish off of it, which is why the body is somewhat rusted, but other than that, it is in good order, with a few repairs needed. It has what I believe to be a homemade hardtop on it, though I don't know if there were ever doors or not.
CJ3B.info has helped me out a ton in getting started in the restoration of this Jeep, and I hope to be able to send an 'after' photo when it is mostly restored. (I don't think that something like this Jeep is ever completely done.)"
"The first part of the story is not verified but different parts come from different local sources. A doctor who also owned a farm here in the county where I live in Georgia bought the Jeep. It was used on his farm for many years. Somehow the doctor got in on a real-estate deal and lost his farm when the deal went badly. The Jeep was then given or sold to one of the older farmhands, who drove it for some time while it continued to be used around the farm. It was eventually parked in a barn on the farm and left there for many years. The farm again was changing hands, this time by auction, and some things were being sold to locals before the auction.
"Now for the part of the story I'm much more sure about. I was about 16 and my best friend's father bought the Jeep from the old farmhand (very old by now) for $100. It was towed a few miles to his farm and his son and I started working on it to get it running. The clutch was frozen to the flywheel. Several wires were rotten and replaced. The seats were nothing more than frames. All in all we were as happy as two 16-year-old boys could be though!
"We got the Jeep running without much work (as well as I can remember for 20 years ago). The bed was almost non-existent though -- there were several bales of hay that had been in the bed for years. We solved that at the time with a piece of plywood, cut to fit. I remember lots of good times with the Jeep. We would drive it a while and work on it a while! It was actually used on the farm though -- we most often used it to pull a large cotton wagon. The wagon had the sides removed and was used to haul bermuda hay on. We would hook up the wagon and go to the field. Once in the field we would put the Jeep in LOW-LOW and let it drive itself. One of us would be on the ground throwing up bales to the one on the wagon. The speed was just right. When you needed to turn you just ran up and 'tweaked' the steering in the right direction.
"Eventually my friend's little brother got old enough to drive the Jeep on the farm and we had moved on to college. The little brother burnt up the clutch and the Jeep was moved to a barn where it sat for the next ten years. I asked many times to buy the Jeep to restore but always got the answer that the dad wanted to keep it, or the brother wanted to keep it. Well I just kept asking and eventually last Christmas when the two sons and the father were going to be in the same room at the same time I made my friend make sure and ask yet again about the Jeep. Well, come to find out it was one of those cases where the father was saving it for the sons, the sons were saving it for the father, one brother thought the other brother wanted it and so on. Fact of the matter was no one was really interested but me! Well the decision was made to sell it. The price was set at $100, the price the father had paid for it 20 years ago, and a promise. I picked it up this summer (July 2002). I have done very little over the last few months but am finally spending more time working on it. While on Christmas holiday I have removed the tub and have it down to the rolling frame as I type. Not sure how long I'll take to put her back together but will work diligently to keep the 'promise' of letting the dad drive it one more time."
See photos of the engine (80K JPEG) and the original vibration dampener for the spare tire (50K JPEG).
"My father was a doctor in the Indonesian Air Force until 1993, so I think my Jeep was a military Jeep.
"In 1990, when I was in high school, I started always using the Willysto go to school. I had Opel Blazer tires on CJ-7 wheels. Now I am using original wheels with 750-R16 for 5 wheels because the tall front wheels were touching the body, the frame and springs."
See a rear view photo (50K JPEG), and see more photos in Willys CJ-3B: The World's Jeep.
The photo shows Piet's Jeep as he found it in the Netherlands: "I found one dealer who had a 1956 Willys CJ-3B for a nice price. Originally it was used in Switzerland by the Army there. For me it was the one chance out of hundred -- this one was mine. The engine was in running state (sort of). The rest was in reasonable and complete state including a lot of rust."
See Restoring a 1956 Military CJ-3B for lots of photos and details of Piet's project. And see also the story of Piet's 2001 CJ-3B Vacation in France. The Jeep was also featured in the Christmas 2001 cover photo (150K JPEG) on CJ3B.info.
"I live in Lausanne, Switzerland. On the 22nd of March 1999, I bought a CJ-3B from the second owner -- it comes from Swiss army stock. I registered it as 1956 according to the serial numbers reproduced in CJ3B.info. But I think it is one year older, as the Swiss military registration plate found on the dashboard says 1955.
"My first objective is to restore it to pass the administrative examination, to be able to drive it with registration plates. Second objective is to dismantle it, paint the frame myself, and have the body parts painted by a professional.
For more details and photos, see Swiss Army Jeeps on CJ3B.info.
"I bought this Jeep from the second owner. He learned to drive in it years ago. He used it for hunting every once in a while but kept it indoors when not in use. He had the engine rebuilt 2-3 years ago. It's running very well and the whole Jeep is in really good shape. I've replaced the speedometer, speedometer cable, parking brake cable, and one of the tranny gaskets. I've also redone quite a bit of the wiring under the dash. Left to do: Replace the rest of the transmission seals and gaskets, replace gas tank sending unit and/or guage and replace sending unit seal. And when I get the chance: some minor body work, fix the roof (or find a new one), and maybe a couple coats of paint. "
Note: Amos sold the Jeep in 2003.
Jon wrote: "I found this block of rust with 3 wheels attached (complete with its own inbuilt tree) in 1990, in the bush in South East Queensland, Australia. The property owner had owned it for 30 years and had used it for general farm duties. I purchased it for the price of a 6-pack, brought it home, and freaked out the "Love of my Life", poor girl. Six years and about AU$7000.00 later there are now two loves in my life. I use it to run the 3 kids to school (I must have found at least three spare minutes during the restoration). The kids prefer the Willys to the brand new Toyota (who said kids were dumb), and it takes me shooting three week-ends out of four.
"The Jeep is restored to original, with the exception of the right-hand steering, and conversion from 6 to 12 volts. The canvas soft top was made locally by a bloke who used to make replacements back in the fifties."
The serial number is 57348 24438R -- the "R" suffix was used on some of the early 3Bs sent to Australia. Note: Jon sold the Jeep in 2005, and as of 2017 it belongs to Warren Jacobsen.
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Last updated 13 February 2021 by Derek Redmond firstname.lastname@example.org
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