Immediately after World War II, the Netherlands (Nederland in Dutch) was short of funds for foreign exchange, but on the other hand had plenty of war surplus jeeps. Accordingly the Dutch government was reticent to allow the importation of new Willys Jeeps, and initially granted permission to bring in only a few CJ-2A Universal Jeeps for agricultural demonstrations.
Check out the rear tires on this one. Photo courtesy of the Nationaal Archief.
H.C.L. Sieberg in Amsterdam had been an importer of Willys-Overland vehicles since 1927, and shortly after World War II they began selling surplus military jeeps. Beginning in 1946, surplus vehicles were obtained through the Dutch Commission, negotiating with the Office of the Foreign Liquidation Commisioner in Paris. The first large lot included 4,030 jeeps and 1,310 trailers from the American surplus depot in the village of Suippes (near Reims, France.) Of these, 2,610 jeeps went to the Dutch East Indies, and 1,420 to the Netherlands.
To guarantee the reliability of the jeeps, Sieberg director Fred Mählmeijer went to Toledo to negotiate for sufficient spare parts. He also received a sales pitch for the new peacetime Jeep, and is seen here behind the wheel of a pre-production CJ-2 model, with Charles S. Dennison, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager at Willys-Overland. Note the JEEP stamping on the side of the CJ-2 hood, but WILLYS on the CJ-2A windshield frame.
At the end of 1946 the government authorized Sieberg to import 400 CJ-2As, most of which went to farms. Vehicles were imported from the U.S. and later were assembled in Belgium by Ateliers de La Dyle in Louvain.
This Sieberg brochure (left) says, "The Jeep saves you, every day, every season, every year!" and interestingly refers only to "the Jeep," not mentioning the Willys name which was not yet well known in Europe.
Sieberg undertook the assembly of 100 Universal Jeeps in Amsterdam in 1948, but found the process to be too expensive. However, by later that year the company was offering the full Willys-Overland line (110K JPEG) as imports. They also had Kronenburg produce some CJ-2A fire engine conversions.
Sieberg's distribution agreement ended when Kaiser acquired Willys-Overland in the U.S. in 1953.
The "Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer" (NEKAF) factory in Rotterdam was perhaps best known for its version of the M38A1 military Jeep, used by the Dutch Army for three decades (see Military Jeeps in the Netherlands on CJ3B.info.) But more than a year before it delivered the first of those famous "Nekaf Jeeps," it was already assembling the Willys Universal Jeep CJ-3B for sale in the Netherlands.
The NEKAF plant (270K JPEG) had been built in Rotterdam during 1947-48, and initially began assembling the Kaiser Manhattan (60K JPEG) and Henry J (60K JPEG) automobiles, and the small French car Simca.
When Kaiser bought Willys in 1953, the Dutch distributorship immediately went to NEKAF. Within about a year, assembly of the Willys CJ-3B started in the NEKAF plant.
In February 1954, NEKAF presented a CJ-3B at the RAI car exhibition in Amsterdam, opened by the Minister of Economic Affairs Jelle Zijlstra (left), but this example may have come from the U.S. or Belgium.
See also Promoting Farm Jeeps in the Netherlands on CJ3B.info.
A 1955 advertisement placed in a Dutch military magazine states: "The 'Jeep' offers unlimited possibilities! Willys Jeep is famous the world over -- with good reason. In wartime the Jeep has deserved this recognition without any doubt! Everywhere, always and for anything the Jeep is useful. This strong, economical and safe Jeep with the famous 4-wheel-drive is now a Dutch product and is being assembled in the Netherlands by the Ned. Kaiser Frazer Fabrieken Ltd."
A number of CJ-3Bs were soon sold to police departments; this shot shows thirteen headed for the Hague Police (see Police Jeeps of The Hague on CJ3B.info.) It was colorized by CJ3B.info for the January 2020 cover page.
NEKAF also advertised a Fire Jeep, but with less success.
I'm not sure that Willys Motors in the USA ever mounted a CJ-3B display as impressive as the one seen here in the showroom at the plant in Rotterdam.The CJ-3B on the right carries a Jeep-A-Trench, and the one on the lift is fitted with the popular Dutch Vredesteinbanden tires.
Jan found this undated photo in 2019. In the background is a Simca display, plus a 16mm film projector aimed at the rear-projection screen seen in the upper left!
NEKAF also built the Willys Pickup Truck (230K JPEG), the FC-150 (150K JPEG), FC-170, Station Wagon, CJ-5, DJ-3A, and even the Willys Aero, as well as the military M38A1. Total production figures are unknown, but 576 Aeros were assembled from 1954-1957, of which 384 were exported.
This double-decker transporter from NEKAF, loaded with two CJ-3Bs and four CJ-5s, was photographed on 29 September 1956 in front of the railway station at 's-Hertogenbosch, in the southern Netherlands. The Jeeps were destined for the local dealer Louis Putters. The Fotopersbureau Zuiden photo is courtesy Erfgoed 's-Hertogenbosch.
Following NEKAF going bankrupt in 1959, the Dordrecht firm Kemper & van Twist Diesel (K&T) began assembling civilian Jeeps as well as the military M38A1.
Civilian models included the CJ-3B, CJ-5, CJ-6, DJ-3A, Pickup Truck, Station Wagon, FC-150 and FC-170.
This ad reads, "The car that made history in the Second World War. Still preferred for its inexhaustible performance."
Knowing that the Hague Police used Jeeps to patrol the beach on the North Sea, K&T even foresaw a possible market for the DJ-3A Gala. This Gala was decorated for a parade celebrating Queen Juliana's birthday in 1961.
Assembly of Jeeps at Dordrecht lasted until 1963. Following that, K&T continued to import Jeeps through 1975, when Hollandse Autoimport (HAI) in Rijnsburg took over the agreement with American Motors (AMC).
Thanks to Jan Hogendoorn, and to Bob Westerman, Harold Bergers, Kees Blijlevens, Cor Streutjens, Erik van de Peppel and Hanno Spoelstra. -- Derek Redmond
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