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U.S. Air Force CJ-3B

Louis Capezuto, 1964 CJ-3B, Maryland


Louis Capezuto in Clear Spring, Maryland is an Army vet who has been restoring military and civilian Jeeps and trucks on and off for 25 years. His latest project, completed in 2023, is an unusual one and it is for sale. Louis' contact information is at the bottom of this page. -- Derek Redmond

left Louis says, "This interested me because I had never seen an Air Force 3B before, even at the national shows, and it's also rare to find a military vehicle that has not been in civilian hands and had things changed already. The odometer on this Jeep shows 11,000 miles."

Front He says there were no markings on it when he got it, but it had been purchased directly from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware by a friend in 2005. So he decided to letter it for the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron who were based at Dover in the 1960s. The 95th is nicknamed the "Boneheads" and Louis also stuck their mascot Mr. Bones, seen at the top of this page, on the bumper and cowl of the Jeep.

Delta Dart The 95th flew Convair F-106 Delta Darts out of Dover Air Force Base from 1963-73. Mr. Bones is seen on the tail of an F-106 at Dover, in this undated photo courtesy of F-106DeltaDart.com.

Right side Louis comments, "This was a complete off-frame restoration, everything sandblasted, rust cut out and new metal welded in. All the channels had to be replaced as did the area under the tool box and a portion under the gas tank. The rest of it is all original metal."

Engine "A local machine shop rebuilt the engine that still had a standard bore and crank."

See also a right side view of the engine (340K JEPG).

Dash "I left a very aircraft-looking oil pressure gauge that had been installed in a hole cut through the white warranty decal. Even though it was not there from the factory I thought it was an interesting addition so I left it in place.

"I have never seen an orange shift knob on any Jeep before, but that is what was on it and it has the correct threads, so I left it in place. Because the Jeep was never in civilian hands, I took the approach of not removing anything I wasn't sure didn't belong. There was a small amount of the good driver decal left as well."

Nomenclature plate Louis found the original nomenclature plate still in place on the dash, listing purchase contract number DA20-113AMC-02534T, the same number appearing on 1964 CJ-3Bs belonging to the Army and Navy. As usual, the "Service Maintaining Vehicle" field is blank, suggesting that the government allocated the Jeeps to different branches of the military after they were delivered.

Before And it appears that this Jeep was initially allocated to the Navy. Here's the Jeep as Louis received it. He says, "The body was definitely olive drab originally, with a semi-gloss black frame. But if you look closely in the pictures you can see it was painted Navy Gray at some point and then painted USAF Strata Blue. The blue is faded and peeling, both from age and probably from very little prep work being done before painting. There was both gray and blue overspray on the engine and inner fenders."

Before "The Jeep was very complete when I got it. Missing the battery hold down, radiator shroud, top bows and rear seat. I was able to reuse most of the original parts except the gas tank. I didn't realize at the time how few Air Force 3Bs were around, or I would have taken many more pictures."

See one more picture, from the right side (390K JPEG).

Rear "The practice bombs were just something I had, and decided to make a wood cradle to mount them in, after talking with the curator of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. He told me one of the uses of these air base Jeeps would have been to pull lines of bomb dollies with different kinds of ordinance to waiting aircraft, and basically any job a tug would have been used for.

"The trailer socket is original to the Jeep and would function but it's not wired at this time."

Door The extended side mirror mounts on the 1964 military CJ-3Bs, which originally held rectangular mirrors, may have been chosen for use with trailers, or because of the steel hardtops which many or possibly all of these Jeeps had at one time. Louis has installed a canvas half cab from New Life Canvas, seen with its doors in this photo.

The hardtops were probably the reason that the 3Bs also had ventilating windshields. And the windshields were kept clear by vacuum-powered wipers left and right, defroster, and washers with a Jeep washer fluid bag (240K JPEG).

Front diff Louis says, "I rebuilt the front and rear axles, T90 transmission and D18 transfer case. Everything was replaced that you would expect in a full restoration: brakes, fuel, exhaust, wiring, tires, etc. Many of the new parts came from Walck's Four Wheel Drive before he went out of business."

Rear diff The U.S. military 3Bs were generally intended for non-combat duties, so they did not have the heavy duty rear springs or the blackout lamps found on the M606 version exported for overseas military use. The factory 4.26.1 gears mean that highway speeds without an overdrive are not a problem, and Mile Marker locking hubs have been installed on the front.

Practice bombs Looking back on the project, Louis comments, "It took about two years total but I don't know if these restorations are ever really done. I'm still looking for the correct heat control valve for the heater!"

Right The Jeep is for sale in Maryland with an asking price of $23,500. Louis' e-mail address is honeyholeapiary at gmail.com, and his phone is 301-491-2986.

Thanks to Louis Capezuto and Joe Evans. -- Derek Redmond

The only other photos I have seen to date of an all-original USAF CJ-3B are a front view and rear view (70K JPEGs) of George Bagwell's '64 in the 1964 Owners' Photos.

There's also Kris Carlson's restoration of a '55 in the 1955 Owners' Photos.

See also Building a Clone of a U.S. Air Force CJ-3B.

See more CJ-3B and M606 Military Jeeps.

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Last updated 7 February 2024 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond