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Mitsubishi Jeeps in Japan


Mitsubishi J20
The Mitsubishi J20 (left) produced in the 1960s is one of over 30 different Jeep models based on the CJ-3B body style, and built in Japan under licence from Willys from 1953 through 1998.

Mitsubishi J20, bird's-eye view
Seven passengers in a CJ-3B looks crowded, even in this J20, which is eight inches longer than a standard CJ-3B. This illustration of its capacity was featured in a Mitsubishi brochure.

J11 brochureThe Mitsubishi Jeeps have been built with short, medium and long wheelbases, with various gasoline and diesel 4-cylinder engines, and even in versions similar to a Willys station wagon with a CJ-3B front end, like this J11 model. Like Mahindra in India, on its later models Mitsubishi added a short diagonal skirt at the front edge of the front fenders. But unlike Mahindra, the Japanese firm never adopted the CJ-5 "round fender" body style.
 

Building the CJ3B-J4Mitsubishi Motors announced on 4 June 1998 that it would stop production of Jeep models, 45 years after their commercial debut in Japan. The Tokyo-based automaker would make its last Jeep in August, said a company spokesman, explaining the decision was made because the vehicles don't meet new environmental and safety standards. Mitsubishi sold about 200,000 Jeeps in Japan -- many to the government -- since it was first granted a licence to make them in 1953.
 

CJ3B-J3

After initially assembling some CJ-3As known as the "J1" (6-volt) and "J2" (12-volt) for the Japanese government, Mitsubishi undertook to manufacture a CJ-3B using largely Japanese-made parts.

Jeep NewsThe original CJ3B-J3 was built from 1953 into the 1970's, alongside the CJ3B-J4 Military Jeeps used by both the Japanese Army and the U.S. Army. Even the civilian version was often shown in Olive Drab in advertising. See a colorful CJ3B-J3 Brochure scanned by Makoto Hirakawa.

This cover photo from Mitsubishi's publication Jeep News, issue number 3 is typical of the beautifully hand-colored images Mitsubishi used; see also the cover of Jeep News number 7 (240K JPEG).
 

CJ3B-J3 data plateHurricane engine numbers on early Mitsubishi Jeeps have a 4J prefix, suggesting that they used engines supplied by Willys. Later Mitsubishi Hurricane engines have numbers prefixed by JH4 ("Japanese Hurricane 4".)

Other Variations

In the mid-1950s Mitsubishi began building versions with medium (87.5 inch) and long (104 inch) wheelbases. In the late 1950s, diesel versions and right-hand drive versions were added to the line.

See a Mitsubishi J32 fire engine on the CJ-3B Fire Engines Around the World page.

Slightly larger engines were added in the 1970's -- the J54 and military J54A used a 2.7L diesel engine, the J56 had a 2.4L gasoline engine, and the J57 a 2.6L. There were also medium and long-wheelbase models available with all of these engines. From the mid-1980's until Jeep production was ended in 1998, only diesel engines were available in the J50 series. Like the Mahindras which were built in India into the 2000s, the Mitsubishi Jeeps had a lot of appeal to people wanting a new vehicle with the no-nonsense look of a flat-fender Jeep.

This catalogue photo shows some examples from the J20, 30, 40 and 50 series, circa 1970. See a larger copy (330K JPEG).

Mitsubishi Catalog
 

Reference Chart

I compiled the chart below from several sources, but it is not complete and may have some errors. Any corrections or additions are welcome via my e-mail address at the bottom of the page.

Notes: an asterisk * indicates Left Hand Drive models. Links in the chart are to photos on CJ3B.info.

Not included are military models CJ3B-J4 ('53-'59), CJ3B-J4C ('59-'63), CJ3B-J4A ('65-'68), J54A ('68-'73), J24A ('73-'87) and J23 ('87-'94). -- Derek Redmond
 

Mitsubishi Civilian Jeep Models

Wheel
base:
Short (2032mm) Medium (2225mm) Long (2640mm)
Body Type: Soft Top Soft Top Hard Top Soft Top Hard Top
Petrol
Engine

JH4

CJ3B-J3* ('53-'70)

CJ3B-J10* ('55-'61)

CJ3B-J11* ('56-'61)

CJ3B-J3R ('61-'74)

J20 ('60-'73) J21*

J20C ('64-'73)

J32 ('62-'73)

J30 ('61-'70)

KE47

J52 ('73-'74)

J22 ('73-'74)

J22H ('73-'74)

J42 ('73-'74)

J34 ('70-'74)

4G52

J58 ('74-'81)

G52B

J59 ('81-'86)

4G53

J56 ('74-'80)

J26 ('74-'80)

J26H ('74-'80)

J46 ('74-'80)

J38 ('74-'80)

G54B

J57 ('80-'86)

J27 ('80-'82)

J27H ('80-'82)

J47 ('80-'82)

J37 ('80-'83)

Diesel
Engine

KE31

CJ3B-JC3* ('58-'71)

CJ3B-JC10* ('58-'62)

J20DC ('66-'70)

J30D ('62-'70)

CJ3B-J3RD ('61-'71)

J20D ('62-'70) J21D*

4DR5

J54 ('70-'86)

J24 ('70-'82)

J24H ('70-'82)

J44 ('70-'83)

J36 ('70-'83)

4DR6

J53 ('86-'94)

4DR5 Turbo

J55 ('94-'98)

Thanks to Mori Ochi, Makoto Hirakawa and 4x4 Magazine in Japan for providing information for this page and chart. -- Derek Redmond


On the web in Japan, see Makoto's Japanese Jeeper's Home Page.

James Danko has English Mitsubishi factory service manuals for sale.


See more Mitsubishi Jeeps on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 30 October 2018 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
http://cj3b.info/World/Japan2.html
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond