A Killer B on the Rubicon

JC Jenkins' 1962 CJ-3B on the legendary trail



In July, 1998 JC Jenkins wrote to CJ3B.info to say, "Took the '62 3B on the Rubicon for a test run -- WOW, that place is some incredible 4-wheeling. The 3B did fine, a little fast -- with the 3.73 gears and 3 speed, we were airborne quite a bit. We center-punched a boulder and bent the drag link to the power steering. Every time we would bind up the steering it would bow again, thus it had to be removed 3 times to be straightened on a boulder. There were about 300 4-wheelers there of every make... but only ONE CJ-3B. I leave Wednesday for the 46th annual Jeepers Jamboree... 4 days of Rubicon. Wish me luck."

CJ-3B on the rocksThe beautiful and difficult Rubicon Trail, 45 miles northeast of Sacramento, California, runs from Loon Lake to Lake Tahoe. It's generally closed by snow from November to July, and the melting snow changes the trail slightly each year. The trail is usually travelled from west to east, starting near Loon Lake. It's possible to complete it in one day if all goes well, but most people prefer to take it more slowly.

The Jeepers Jamboree in Georgetown, California has been organizing trips on the trail since 1953. (See CJ-3Bs on The Rubicon Trail, 1955.) This photo, of JC Jenkins on the trail in July 1998, could almost have been taken anytime in the past half-century of Jeepers Jamborees.

After the 1998 Jamboree, JC wrote: "We made it all the way through the Rubicon. Because we have such tall gears and the T90 (3.39) first gear, we leaped and jumped over most of the really rough stuff. It took 11 hours to go 39 miles the first day. A hundred yards past this photo we jumped a boulder and landed on another one, breaking the bead on a front wheel."

Shocked shock
"This Rancho 9000 shock was torn off about 1/4 mile after that."


"Here's another shot of the 3B, stuck in what is known as the 'dogleg.' The Jeep is resting on the driver's rocker panel, putting a dent in it, but that's OK, the rock is the only thing stopping the Jeep from tipping over. With a chain from the Jeep in front, we were able to climb out. This stuff is not for the faint of heart or inebriated.

"We broke one shock, bent the drag link (again), a minor dent in a rocker panel, bent a front wheel, assorted crossmember and body mount bolts to be replaced or tightened, but all in all we fared better than others whose rigs were better suited to this sort of endeavor." -- JC


JC in flightThe Jeepers Jamboree in Georgetown, California has been organizing trips on the Rubicon Trail since 1953. JC Jenkins was there again this year with his 1962 CJ-3B (left), and there were also several other 3B's in attendance.

JC says, "This year, for the Jeepers Jamboree, we made some changes. We installed an SM420 granny 4-speed from a 1969 Chevy truck, BFG 33X12.50 MT's, and a Ramsey 8k winch. Then, 36 hours before we left, we had to install a new Powr-Lok locker in the rear, when my old one blew up."

Broken driveshaft"But with all the upgrades, we fared much better this year, except for the driveline that broke just 200 yds. from Rubicon Springs, after we had already been through the worst of it. They say it was a rock dent, then a lot of torque trying to get out of a hole."

1999 Video

You can watch the video clips or see still photos below, from a videotape of the 1999 Jeepers Jamboree, including shots of five CJ-3Bs on the trail.


JC says: "The trip in to the halfway point at Rubicon Springs takes all day (8 to 12 hours), mostly due to breakdowns, visiting , etc. Once you get to Rubicon Springs, you spend all day Friday checking and fixing your rig, like my twisted driveline, then party till you leave Sunday morning. Again, it takes about 8 hours to get to Lake Tahoe. You ought to try it -- it's a hoot."

This clip features a couple enjoying the trip in their white 3B, in the company of some CJ-2As.


This clip shows JC getting into (and out of) a hole. He says, "That little hole is the Pinch Rock -- same place I almost rolled last year. We call it the dogleg , because of the the tight turn in the middle. Most of the Rubicon can be mastered by full-size rigs, except the front door, which is the Pinch -- it stops everything bigger than a short wheelbase rig."


"The other 3B that looks like mine is a 1954, driven by two guys in their sixties -- cool, huh?"

They demonstrate their off-road experience in this clip.


JC comments, "There was an awesome dark green 3B, full size Chevy running gear, 3/4 elliptical springs. It moved like a big cat -- impossible to drive on the street (trailer queen), but unstoppable in the rocks."

This clip includes a glimpse of the green monster, plus another happy couple in their black 3B.

You can also watch the video clips.

Thanks to JC Jenkins, and The Searchers Video. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see Jeep CJ-3Bs on Film: The Rubicon Trail, 1955.

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Last updated 16 February 2016 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond