Mitsubishi's first Jeep was the CJ3B-J3, almost identical to the Willys CJ-3B, and followed soon by versions with station-wagon bodies, as seen in the background of this cover photo from Mitsubishi's publication Jeep News, issue number 3. This picture is typical of the beautifully hand-colored images Mitsubishi used; see also the cover of Jeep News number 7 (240K JPEG).
Mitsubishi built more than 30 different Jeep models in Japan between 1953 and 1998. This later station-wagon model, photographed in late 2001 in Jakarta, Indonesia by Roi Permadi, shows the only significant styling change made over 45 years -- the front fender skirts.
The rear view as the wagon passes, provides a good look at the long wheelbase and five-door body on this model.
The same front-end configuration, but with military-style lighting instead of the twin horns of the wagon, is seen on this army surplus J24A. It belongs to Edwin C. Go in the Philippines, who says "I bought it in Angeles City from a local used car dealer. It came as surplus from Japan. There are quite a number of the same model running here, and some have already changed their color. I bought it because the road going by our house is a flood-prone area (20K JPEG). The Jeep was a big help to us in getting through it."
The J24A was also used by the Japanese Navy. This one has a loaded front end, with three wipers, dual blackout lamps and marker lamps, extra driving lamp, dual front mirrors, and headlight guards. The only thing missing is a winch.
Noted high-hood detractor Hobbs sent us these two photos from Japan in 1999, and commented "Note the one nod towards good looks on the Jeeps -- the bent-down fenders!"
Here's a winch, on the front end of a J20 medium-wheelbase two-door hardtop version.
Hobbs also said, "You can't tell in the pix, but "Jeep" is embossed on the sides of the hoods. They appear to have Dana axles properly offset for a 3B, but I don't know about the rest of the drivetrain."
Meanwhile, in Japan (like everywhere else) off-roaders sometimes get a little over-enthusiastic, and may find themselves in a difficult spot. Take for example the photo below of Makoto Hirakawa's Mitsubishi J56. This updated CJ-3B clone was one of the last models built by Mitsubishi before they stopped producing Jeeps in 1998.
Thanks to the photographers. -- Derek Redmond
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