Back in 1953, people were startled when they saw the new Jeep Universal. After ten years of an unchanged, unassuming low profile, the 1953 Jeep had a taller, more powerful look. It was the "iconic" look that Automobile magazine remembered in 2004 when they named the Jeep CJ one of the Coolest Cars of All Time.
Ed Wyche of Huntington Beach, California, remembered that look from his childhood, when the parents of his friend Larry Shank took the boys on great trips in their '53 CJ-3B. These days, Ed enjoys buying, restoring and selling classic vehicles, and in 2013 he spotted and purchased a '53 CJ-3B for himself.
This CJ-3B (above) just happened to be the one that Jonathan Ward had measured and analyzed as he started the CAD design work for the ICON "Dog" (right), the re-visioned, high-tech CJ-3B produced in 2010 by his company, ICON. The '53 had been gathering dust in the corner of ICON's warehouse, and Ed called up his old friend Larry to say, "I just bought 'us' a new project!"
Having finished restoring his parents' Jeep (right) in 2006, Larry was ready to give Ed a hand, and told CJ3B.info, "There is the classic death shimmy that starts at 25 MPH. The good news is that many components are in good shape: the engine has great compression and the head/valve train looks to have been recently rebuilt, the brakes are all new. However it needs all new steering, new wiring, new springs and shackles, plus other typical basic stuff. The differential oils are sludge, but the gears seem OK -- we hope? Our local vintage 4WD expert, Ron Heitzman of Fresno Four Wheel Drive, has already ordered parts and offered to 'let me help him'. We hope to have it on the road by summer... maybe?"
Ed's parents Frank and Louise are seen here in the back seat of Harry and Harriette Shank's Jeep in Monument Valley in 1953. Frank and Louise are also seen in the home movies included in Larry's article Mom, Dad, a Jeep and a Teardrop on CJ3B.info, along with more photos of Larry's 2006 restoration of the many special features his Dad added to the Jeep.
Ed's Jeep came with an unusual winch. Larry commented, "It is a Koenig Model 100 that looks very similar to the one on Dad's Jeep. However, it is driven from the crankshaft, not the transfer case. It has some damage to the clutch engagement linkage, but it is complete. The winch will not be re-installed, so it has been sold."
This photo shows the complete winch assembly after it was removed from the Jeep. See also a detail of the clutch which connects the winch to the crankshaft pulley (120K JPEG), and a closeup of the Koenig Model 100 (190K JPEG).
This winch was purchased by the late John Ittel, who pointed out that the crankshaft drive is useful for a Jeep which has other equipment such as a trencher on the rear PTO.
See more on Koenig Winches on CJ3B.info.
Larry later told me that the mechanical restoration was completed but there was no repainting, and the only cosmetic change was some stock wheels. Ed's family enjoys using the Jeep for cruising around the orange groves and back roads.
Thanks to Larry and Ed (seen above with their respective Jeeps) for filling us in on this project to restore an "iconic" Jeep. -- Derek Redmond
See also Larry's article on his Dad's Steering Headlight.
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