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Military Jeeps in Spain


 

The first jeeps that arrived in Spain were a few Willys MB's and Ford GPW's, via Canada in the late 1940's and early 50's. But in 1953, after the U.S.A. established relations with Francisco Franco's Spain, a vast amount of material began to arrive, including M38's and CJ-3As (see Jeeps in the Spanish Sahara). The majority had been used in the Korean War or World War II. As American military bases were established in Spain, M38A1s, M170s and M606s were also supplied to the Spanish Army.

From the beginning of the local manufacturing of Jeeps in Spain in 1960, by VIASA ("Vehículos Industriales y Agrícolas, S.A."), the production was oriented to the needs of the Spanish Army.

Spanish Army motor poolAs of 1994, the Spanish army was apparently still using Jeeps produced by VIASA as well as EBRO, alongside newer vehicles. This one was photographed by M.A. Escudero at a military base at Zaragoza in 1994. This Jeep belonged to the mountain engineers unit of "Division Navarra" (the shield), and was assigned to a lieutenant (two small stars on the windshield frame).

I have heard the military model referred to as "CJ3M" but I have not seen any confirmation that VIASA or EBRO used that designation.

VIASA

Willys VIASAThe early production units, such as this 1961 Jeep restored by Sergio Lwoff, were known as "Willys Viasa" and had the Willys stamping on the hood and tailgate. The ventilating windshield and dual electric wipers are original, as are the blackout lights, headlight guards and bumperettes. A right side photo (70K JPEG) shows the bracket for two 5-liter jerry cans. The engine is an F-134 rebuilt by the Army in 1981, and Sergio had the 24-volt electrics converted to 12-volt.

The seats, jerry cans, rear view mirrors, rollbar and canvas top are not original. Likewise the Willys stamping in the grille; Sergio obtained it via the CJ-3B Bulletin Board and had it welded in. (He also thanks Bulletin Board readers who helped him out with gauges, dash light and and dash plates.) The 6.00 x 16 military tires were made in Turkey.
 

VIASAThrough most of the 1960s and 70's, the VIASA military models used Perkins and Barreiros diesel engines, and are identifiable by the location of the gas tank on the right side, and conical (not flat) steering wheel. In addition to headlight protectors and blackout lights, the miltary version had a rear pintle hook and lifting rings.

This Jeep, unrestored and largely original, has frame number 503601 and was purchased as surplus in 1996 by Juan-Reyes Martinez Rafecas.
 

FrontJuan-Reyes says, "It works perfectly and it has 50.000 km, the reason why its small Perkins is in the best condition. My dream would be to have free time to rehabilitate it completely. I envy those happy owners of Jeeps that have had sufficient time to carry out those wonderful reconstructions."

In the larger copy (70K JPEG) of the front view photo, the small "Jeep" logo can be seen below the right front marker light.

A rear view photo (50K JPEG) of another VIASA Jeep restored by Eusebio Leon shows the jerry can bracket on the left, and the framework for a Willys-style full canvas top.A right side photo (50K JPEG) shows seats over the rear fenders, and a rifle bracket.
 

CJ-3B mounting recoilless rifleThis archival photo shows a Viasa with 106mm recoilless rifle. Similar split-windshield gun-carrier versions were built in India and Japan, although Willys in the U.S. never put this feature on a CJ-3B or M606.
 

Military long-wheelbase flat-fenderVIASA produced a long-wheelbase civilian version of the CJ-3B which they called the CJ-6 (see Los Jeeps: Made in Spain). But the prototype military version in this photo, a unique design with a low-hood front end and a mechanical winch, was never put into production.

These archival photos are courtesy of Francisco M. Díaz, originally published in in the Spanish off-road magazine Auto Aventura.

EBRO

EBROVIASA was absorbed by EBRO in the late 1970's, and their CJ-3B was renamed "Jeep Ebro". This Ebro in olive drab appears to be an early long-wheelbase example. It still has the VIASA windshield vent and JEEP stamping on the hood, and is owned by Ignacio Goikoetxea. A rear view (100K JPEG) reveals other differences from the VIASA version, including both civilian and blackout taillights, and a swing-away spare tire carrier.
 

BravoLA later version carrying the "Bravo L" long-wheelbase badge on the hood, was photographed by John Carroll at a Pamplona car show. It has been nicely restored including full-length canvas top.
 

Surplus

And Not

This photo taken by Paul Heijstee in 2002 shows surplus VIASA Jeeps in a Spanish scrapyard waiting for disposal. Many of the surplus units are exported for sale in other European countries. So far the Jeeps seen here are luckier than some other Jeeps (30K JPEG) photographed by R. Flores Yoldi in Ermua (Vizcaya), in 1991.
 

PolandThis example made it to Poland, where it as restored and painted by Marcin Klamerek in 2004. This Ebro of undetermined year is immediately recognizable as Spanish Army by the large front blackout lights.See also a nice photo of Marcin taking it out for a drive (220K JPEG).
 


Thanks to all the Jeep owners who contributed photos for this page. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 17 December 2016 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
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