Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
"This CJ-3B was a belt loader at one time. (See Airport Jeeps of the 1960s for details on the Jeep's original configuration.) The previous owner had replaced the dash and cowl, the hood, and the right rear fender, after purchasing it at auction from the airport authority. While the body tub was pretty rough, the thing that attracted me to this Jeep was the excellent condition of the frame and running gear (see a photo of the Jeep as I purchased it, 60K JPEG.) The frame is clean and straight, no dirt packing or dents, no rust, even the original front bumper is perfectly straight. All data plates were removed, and the only number I have found is the engine serial number, 4J212320 (from 1958-59 according to the Serial Number and Engine Number List). But since the dash has individual gauges, I assume this Jeep must be an early 1950s model.
"I replaced the wiring (12V), installed M38 seat frames, installed new 7:00 x 16 NDT tires, new radiator core, and paint. Being a member of the MVPA and the owner of a restored M38 Jeep, I just had to restore this one as a Navy Jeep. I experienced a transmission input bearing failure just before our Veteran's Day parade; had hoped to drive it, but had to drive the M38. I pulled a T90/D18 that I had in my parts stash and rebuilt them. I pulled the engine and transmission out of the 3B (40K JPEG), rebuilt the steering drag link, installed a bell crank bearing kit, and cleaned and painted the frame. I installed the rebuilt transmission/transfer case (40K JPEG) with new mounts and new clutch linkage and cross shaft. I am working on the engine now (40K JPEG) -- new oil pump, correct oil pan, front and rear main seals, and new gaskets all over. Also replacing the flywheel (broken teeth), and installing the correct bolts."
"I bought it in Cleveland a few years ago and tow-barred it back to Colorado behind my '72 Commando -- a painful story, but all too typical. I took it to Moab last spring, after Easter Safari. Wasn't running real well due to lack of tune and general lack of use, however it was the only stock Jeep on the trails, much less a 46 year old 4 cylinder. I dented the rear quarter on the trail. There have been at least 3 owners prior to me, but I don't know its full history. It is in line for the body work, and a new, correct paint job, but it's probably 1-2 years down the line due to other more pressing restorations."
More of Jim Marski's Historic Civilian Jeeps Collection was featured in the April 2000 issue of Jp magazine.
"I am not 100% sure that it is a '53, but it has the multiple small gauges in the dash. The serial numbers are unreadable, & the title labels it a "42 ford". A friend gave me 2 3B's. One was a parts donor, the other previously a daily driver 'til he had to pull the motor (Buick 231). I have not done much to it so far except sand blast the frame, paint it with POR-15, & add the 33's & wheels. The frame was in excellent condition, however the tub is pretty beat up."
"It seems to be pretty original although certainly not pristine -- plenty of bondo, and a basket case for an engine. I don't know the history of it other than the last registration was in Idaho. Its fate is yet to be determined -- restoration, partial restoration or sale to a restorer."
The VIN plate shows serial number 453GB2 10012. Terry comments, I didn't realize the low serial number when I purchased the Jeep (apparently CJ-3B number 12). Any help I can get determining the historical value and suggestions on what to do with it would be welcome."
See also a left side photo (30K JPEG).
This is CJ-3B Number 9 (serial number 453GB2 10009). Glenn has "restified" (restored and modified) this Jeep, which is certainly one of the oldest surviving CJ-3B, for the 50th anniversary of its manufacture. It will probably be around for at least another 50 years.
For the history of the Jeep and details of the restoration, including the Wilwood brake system, see CJ-3B Number 9.
This 1953 Willys CJ-3B , s e r i a l n u m b e r 4 5 3 G B 2 1 4 5 4 3, was purchased by Ted in 1974 for $550. During the next seven years the 3B was used to go 4-wheeling, hunting, and fishing in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Many an old logging trail was driven to a remote lake or stream, with a canoe strapped to the top of the full metal cab of the 3B. It was then parked for nearly 20 years, but Ted had quite a few great memories of the 3B, and promised himself that someday he would see that it was rebuilt.
That rebuild finally happened in Colorado in 2002. For the full story, see Building a Dream Jeep.
"The entire Jeep is pretty much original and shows the signs of years as a working vehicle. The electrical has been changed to 12V to include a non-standard heater and wiper on the driver's side. It has a Solex carburetor and fuel pump without the vacuum unit, and a roll bar. Other than that, I think it is original. It had a paint job many years ago, probably candy apple red, and some things got re-located. Notice that the windshield blocks are missing on the hood. Those holes and the holes for the tie-down straps were puttied up. The hood apparently was used as a cargo area and caved in, so some welding was done and lots of body putty, but I believe it can be brought back into shape.
"The Jeep has spent all or most of its life on a ranch in Southeast Arizona. The lady I bought it from said she remembers riding in it when she was just a little one... she's mid-30's now. The story goes her dad overhauled the engine and then put the Jeep into a barn for many years. It runs like a top now. The speedo reads less than 59,000. I use it daily -- no ranch, but we have an acre to take care of and three rental units close by that I do all the maintenance on. It's a great little truck/tractor for the yard and maintenance work. We are adjacent to a National Forest in the Huachuca Mountains so we have a great time on the old logging and mining roads. I really enjoy it and it's a big favorite with the grandkids."
See also photos of the manual windshield wiper -- inside view and outside view (40K JPEGs).
"I have been drooling over CJ3B.info for over a year now, hoping I could find the Jeep I have been looking for. I almost settled on a CJ-3A , but lo and behold I found a "cherry" '53 CJ-3B! It is original (restored with N.O.S. parts) right down to the proverbial non-functioning fuel gauge! It's even still 6-volt with floor starter. The seats were re-done and also the paint job (original color?).
"Having had several Jeeps in the family over the years, I've finally found a high hood. We are going to take 'er north to the cabin for nothing but joy riding (maybe a little work too)! I am in desperate need of a back seat."
See more photos of Jack's Jeep in Vernon, Michigan: front view and left front (former cover photo), and interior with daughter Jordan (60K JPEGs).
"The body tub needs changing, but for the most part, this Jeep is in good condition. The tail gate is in good shape. It has an aluminum hard top. I plan on restoring it back to new condition. It looks to be a Woodstock Green originally."
See also the steering wheel and dashboard (35K JPEG).
"I've owned my '53 CJ-3B for 10 years now. I purchased it from a guy in Longview, Washington and he had put in the steering ('53 Studebaker) and Ford V8 and transmission. I use it for off-road mostly, and also to run back and forth from work on nice days. During the summer it sees a lot of miles. I have a Best top for it, but can't seem to get myself to put it on very often. A topless Jeep seems to just be so much more fun."
See some action photos and details of Mike's Mustang V8 CJ-3B.
I bought this car from my partner's father in Bogota, Colombia, who had it for 37 years and bought it from the first owner in 1963. Everything except the air windshield wiper system and the horn seems to be original. This man told me he used the Jeep for not more than 200 miles per year since 1970. This car was registered on the Colombian Owners Card as a 1952 model because it was purchased in November 1952 and brought to Colombia in that month."
Serial number of this early CJ-3B is 453GB2 11914, and the engine number is 4J12235. See also a high angle photo of the Jeep (40K JPEG), and more information on Jeeps in Colombia.
Glenn lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and says, "I bought the Jeep to use when I go hunting. I have found that it will go anywhere that the quads will go. I have owned it since 1998, and so far I have put in a new gas tank, soft top and tires, and rebuilt the steering box. I plan to convert it to 12 volts but it still has the original 6-volt system that works fine.
"The engine was rebuilt and all 4 brakes were replaced, even the drums, before I bought it. I would like to upgrade to 11-inch brakes in the future. I am going to restore it, hopefully in the spring: I am tossed between restoring it to factory original and modifying it. I don't want to ruin its value as it is pretty much original. The body has been fixed with bondo but never hacked up. The only thing is, it has custom-made fenders that look good but not correct."
"Reading Jimmy Nylund in Four Wheeler confirmed my idea that a Range Rover V8 in a flatfender was possible, despite all the opinions I heard in France. Basically the key is a cut Range Rover bellhousing with a gear box adapter plate welded to it. Yes, Rover aluminium can be welded!"
See more details and photos of this Rover V8-Powered CJ-3B.
"The body is in excellent shape, and is going in the paint shop for candy apple red paint. Has a small block Vette engine on steroids (hot cam), new starter, new battery, new distributor, new water pump, new hoses, new 11" brakes, new gauges (in the original holes), big tires and runs like a striped as* ape.
But I did find out you don't drive a 47-year-old, 80-inch wheelbase, overpowered Jeep over 40-45 miles per hour! This mutha sounds bad! It's used just for cruising -- I'm too old for rock climbing."
Dean Thiem of Oak Harbor, Washington has completely rebuilt his '53, including the aftermarket Koenig box extender. Dean comments, "I thought that the two braces that go from the bumper to the back edge of the box were not correct but after seeing the catalog picture of an extension body (100K JPEG) from the late-1950s Jeep Specialized Vehicles and Equipment catalog, I realized that they came from the factory that way.
"I was worried about mounting the spare tire on the box to begin with. The sidewall has a doubler on it and the original spare tire mount aligned perfectly with holes. I put a doubler on the other side to support the weight of gas can and added a brace to it to help support the weight. It has a bit of sideways movement but isn't showing any signs of stress cracking yet."
See Story of a Long-Box Willys for more more photos and details of Dean's project.
Alexandre is in Alfenas, Brazil, and has installed a roll bar and one of those deluxe Brazilian soft tops. He says, "This Jeep has seats and transmission from a four-speed Brazilian Jeep model 1976. The rest is original. F-head engine number 4J16127 -- VIN doesn't exist."
See a rear view photo (70K JPEG) for a better look at the soft top and seats.
This Jeep is apparently a 1953, although how it ended up in South Africa is unknown -- it may have been used by the South African military. Jens plans to restore it as a military vehicle.
See Fifty Years Later for more photos and details on the Jeep, and CJ-3B Restored as M606 for the final result.
"I bought the Jeep in 1986 from a truck driver that lived in California. It appears to me that the engine is all original. It has the oil bath air cleaner, canister type oil filter setup. It is still 6 volt with the generator. About the only major thing that is not factory is the soft top that I installed. When I bought the Jeep it had no top. The owner said that a tree fell on it and smashed it, so he gave me a Bestop soft top. It also has a roll bar welded in.
"It needs paint -- I hate body and paint work or I would have already done it in a dark green. It is currently a faded out shade of red. There is some bondo here and there but the body seems to be fairly good. Three years ago I removed the front and rear axle and re-arched all the springs back to specs." (See also a photo from a front view.)
"When I sanded down the frame and axles there was green paint underneath everything. Do you think that this was a primer, or is there a possibility that my Jeep was a military Jeep at one time?"
Note: Tom sold this Jeep in 2001, and as of 2012 it belongs to Jeff Wallace in North Carolina.
"The Jeep was completely restored two years ago to stock condition, except I did add the 12-volt generator and added a second tail light on the right side, along with a later 50's signal light controller. Also I used 15" Jeep wheels with radial tires since it handles so much better with the radials. Another change was the 12V electric windshield wipers. The F-head engine, transmission, and differentials were completely rebuilt.
"The 3B joins my other stock (usually converted to 12-volt, added signal lights if not stock, added electric wipers, and 15" Jeep wheels) Jeep collection which consists of a restored 1943 MB, 1948 CJ-2A, 1957 CJ-5, 1958 FC-150, 1966 M151 manufactured by Kaiser Jeep, and a 1952 M38 now under restoration."
See also a rear view photo (140K JPEG) of Larry's Jeep in Post Falls, Idaho.
"I recently inherited this Jeep from my great aunt who lived on a farm in Sherman County, Oregon. The nearest city would be The Dalles on the Columbia River gorge. It was a farm/hunting Jeep. Mostly all original from what I can tell. It has been sitting in a huge shed for the last 20 years and only driven a couple of times since then. My aunt was 96 Years old when she passed away. I drove down and rented a car dolly to tow it back to my home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada."
See lots more photos of this Nicely Preserved 1953 CJ-3B.
Aaron Baird in Creston, Ohio, has a hard-to-find item: a fiberglass tub for a CJ-3B. He says, "The fiberglass body appears to be made for a CJ-3B -- I don't see any apparent signs of modification. The hood, grill and windshield appear to be original. After looking at it, it appears the fiberglass body is slightly too narrow where it meets the hood. There is a gap on both side and the windshield arms are slightly kinked. I suspect they were bent in to match the body. I installed a Delco alternator; it had a 12v generator when I got it, but it was beyond repair."
"Restored as stock as I could except paint and tires. Still 6 volt. Canvas summer top by Beachwood Canvas. Pride of Maui, Hawaii! Custom plates read '1953 Wlly' because everyone kept asking me what year it was. Lots of Willys Jeeps and Willys freaks on Maui; my dream is to start a flatfender club here."
Richard is in Quebec, and wrote in French, "The body has been rebuilt from parts (only the hood, the tailgate, the windshield frame and the part before the body tub are original).
"It now has 31" tires, a 1-1/2" shackle lift, new gauges, hand throttle, bucket seats from a '79 Firebird, modification for 2WD low, hinges for the hood, and all hardware in stainless steel.
"The transmission and transfer case have been replaced. All that's left is to reinstall the engine (90K JPEGs).
Louie Larson, formerly of Willys Minneapolis, lives in Bloomington MN, and says, "This red '53 is one of five CJ-3Bs that I own. I drive it as often as possible and I certainly use it off road. It is also equiped with a Warn Overdrive and a Lok-Rite in the rear diff. I drove this Willys from Mpls. to California last summer and did the Rubicon trail with it. Used the winch 5 times to pull myself off the rocks. Put on a little over 5000 miles in 3 weeks time. Had a GREAT time doing this trip. It of course was not without minor problems. The washboard roads in Montana broke the grille mounting to the frame. Had that welded at a JI Case dealer. Vacuum advance fell off the dist. I traveled with 3 other vintage Jeeps on this trip. A '70 CJ-5, '65 CJ-6, and a CJ-7. A Wrangler was allowed to tag along behind."
See a beautiful photo of three of Louie's Jeeps (100K JPEG): "The blue one is a 1961 original 3B, unrestored with 16,xxx original miles on it. The Jeepster is a 1948, the 10th Jeepster built. All pictured vehicles are driven on a regular basis."
See also a photo from the rear (100K JPEG), including two of several MBT, Bantam and M-100 trailers in Louie's collection.
"The F-head is gone and is being replaced with a 2.0L Pinto motor, bored .030 over, with an R.V. cam and a Rajay turbo-charger. A custom shackle reversal is being installed, as well as enough lift to keep 36x12.50 Superswampers from rubbing." For more photos and details of the project, see Pinto Turbo in a CJ-3B in the Tech Tips section.
See also the VIN plate (40K JPEG) showing a DJ-3A serial number.
"It comes from the Swiss army which used it since 1955 (first registration). I bought this Jeep in 2003. I renovated it completely from October 2003 to January 2004."
See more photos of Marc's Swiss Army Jeep.
Rafael writes in Spanish from Mexico: "I am 18 years old and the Jeep was bought by my grandfather as government surplus, and went to my papa in 1974. He restored it over the course of approximately a year, and used it mainly for hunting. The motor is not factory original -- it has been changed 1 or 2 times.
"It has four new General tires, size 6.50X16, and the spare is a military style from BF Goodrich. The main accessory is the Koenig PTO winch (90K JPEG).
See also a front view and the interior (60K JPEGs) and a photo of the VIN plate (30K JPEG.)
Return to the index of 1953 Jeeps.
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