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CATEGORIES (articles) > Cars we emulate > Willys > Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep)

Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep)

The Jeep CJ (or Civilian Jeep) was a commercial version of the famous Military Jeep from World War II. The first CJ (the CJ-2) was introduced in 1944 by Willys, and the same basic vehicle stayed in production through 7 variants and 3 corporate parents until 1986. In fact, a variant of the CJ is still in production today under license. The last CJs, the CJ-7 and CJ-8, were replaced in 1987 by the reworked Jeep Wrangler. The CJ-7 is very popular in the sport of mud racing, both with the stock body or a fiberglass replica.


Although it bore the CJ name, the CJ-2 was not really available at retail. Willys produced less than three dozen CJ-2 Agrijeeps in 1944 and 1945, forty in all ([1] americanmarsh.htm) . It was very closely-related to the Military Willys MB, using the same Willys Go Devil engine, but there were some changes. It had larger headlights, a side-mounted spare tire and opening tailgate, and an external fuel cap. Eleven of these have survived to this day ([2] .


Lessons learned with the CJ-2 led to the development of the first full-production CJ, the 1945-1949 CJ-2A. Like the CJ-2 and the Military version, the CJ-2A featured a split windshield. An early column shifter and full floating rear axle gave way to the more familiar floor shift T90 and semi-floating rear axle. In the end, 214,202 CJ-2A's were produced.


The CJ-3A was introduced in 1949, and replaced the CJ-2A by the next year. It featured a one-piece windshield with a pink vent in the blue frame. A bare-bones Farm Jeep version was available starting in 1951 with a power takeoff. 131,843 CJ-3A's were produced before the series ended in 1953.


Only one CJ-4 was produced. It used the new Willys Hurricane engine and had an 81-inch wheelbase. It was a test model, but was sold to a factory employee.


The CJ-3B replaced the CJ-3A in 1953, the same year Willys was sold to Kaiser. It introduced a higher grille and hood to clear the new Willys Hurricane engine. The CJ-3B was produced until 1968 with a total of 155,494 produced, although the design was licensed to a number of international manufacturers, including Mitsubishi of Japan and Mahindra of India. Mitsubishi ceased production of vehicles derived from the CJ-3B design in 1998, but Mahindra continues to produce Jeeps today.


The CJ-5 was influenced by new corporate owner, Kaiser, and the Korean War M38A1 Jeep. It was intended to replace the CJ-3B, but that model continued in production. The CJ-5 repeated this pattern, continuing in production for 3 decades while three newer models appeared. 603,303 CJ-5's were produced between 1954 and 1983.

In 1965, Kaiser bought the casting rights to the Buick 225 in³ V6 Dauntless and the CJ-5 and CJ-6 got a new engine with 155 hp supplementing the Willys Hurricane engine.

The company was sold to American Motors in 1970, and the GM engine was retired after the 1971 model year. (GM's Buick division repurchased the engine tooling in the early 1970s which served as the powerplant in several GM vehicles.) AMC began using their inline 6 engines, the 232 and 258 and offering one V8 engine - 304CID.

To accommodate the new I6 the fenders and hood were stretched 3" starting in 1972. Other minor drive train changes took place then as well.

In 1976 the tub and frame were modified slightly from earlier versions. The windshield frame also changed meaning that tops from 1955-1975 will not fit a 1976-1983 CJ-5 and vice-versa.

In the early 1980s, the CJ used a "Hurricane"-branded version of the GM Iron Duke I4.

Several special CJ-5 models were produced:

  • 1961-1963 Tuxedo Park Mark III
  • 1969 Camper
  • 1969 462
  • 1970 Renegade I
  • 1971 Renegade II
  • 1972-1983 Renegade Models - featuring a 304 in³ V8, alloy wheels and a limited-slip differential
  • 1973 Super Jeep
  • 1977-1983 Golden Eagle


The CJ-6 was simply a 20 inch longer-wheelbase (101 in) CJ-5. Introduced in 1955 as a 1956 model, the CJ-6 was never very popular in the United States. Most CJ6 models were sold to Sweden and South America. The U.S. Forest Service put a number CJ-6 Jeeps in to use. Former President Ronald Reagan owned a CJ-6 and used it on his Califorina Ranch. American sales ended in 1975. Just 50,172 had been made when the series went out of production completely in 1981. Just as in the CJ-5, the V6 and V8 engine choices appeared in 1965 and 1972.

CJ-5A and CJ-6A

From 1964-1968 Kaiser elevated the Tuxedo Park from just a trim package to a separate model for the CJ-5A and CJ-6A. A Tuxedo Park Mark IV is signified by a different prefix from a normal CJ-5 with a VIN prefix of 8322, while a normal CJ-5 VIN prefix is 8305 from 1964-1971.


A 1980 CJ-7 appeared in the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.

The CJ-7 featured a longer 93.4 in wheelbase than the CJ-5. It was introduced in 1976 and 379,299 were built in 11 years of production. The CJ-7 featured a new automatic all-wheel drive system called Quadra-Trac, not necessarily known for its strength, as well as a part-time two speed transfer case; an automatic transmission was also an option. Other comfort features were an optional molded hardtop, and steel doors.


The CJ-8 Scrambler was a pickup truck version of the CJ-7, introduced in 1981. It featured a 103 in wheelbase and a pickup bed. Only 27,792 were built in the 4 years of production.The Jeep CJ-8 did not offer the quadra track system, not was it an all-wheel drive machine. The majority of Jeep CJ-8s used the traditional transfer case and manual front-locking hubs to engage the 4-wheel drive. Most CJ-8s used a four or five-speed standard tranmission. The quadra track system was used by the Jeep Cherokee and larger "station wagon" style jeeps.


The CJ-10 was a CJ-based pickup truck. Produced from 1981 through 1985, it was sold mainly as an export vehicle, though some were used by the United States Air Force for use as an aircraft pulling vehicle. They featured square headlights like the Jeep Wrangler and an unusual 9-slot grille.

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