When beginning our 3A project we had no idea what a great vehicle Willys make in the 40's & 50's.  Being as the vehicles have NO top end, most of the old CJs' available, even though they're 50 years old, are in excellent mechanical condition and have reasonably low milage.  Also with the clutch & brake linkage connected to the frame, this is the easiest, quickest project vehicle you can do.

Our project vehicle wasn't cheap - but we did manage to locate a low milage 1951 CJ-3A with an excellent engine & drive line and a terrible body.  Before beginning our total overhaul we had to determine our objective.  We wanted to reassemble the vehicle as it was when it was new.  Small motor, skinny tires, lo-back seats, basic guages, no frills.  The next step was to check the availability of the parts to rebuild the CJ.  Once we found the parts (on a vehicle this old) we felt it was best to order our parts quickly - with no hesitation, before they were no longer available.

We ordered:  new points - plugs - condenser - cap & wires - master cylinder - brake cylinders - pads & springs - new shocks - steering damper - gear lube - oil & filter - 2 new 12v wipers w/arms - tail & headlights - alternator - ait filter - battery - belt - Super Swampers & a 20' piece of 3/16 2x4 box tubing for bumpers & side impact bars.  For the interior we purchased lo-back front & rear seats - soft top & doors - and a set of Stewart Warner mechanical gauges, which feature a basic green graduation to match the Military Green paint we've chosen - a hand held C.B. radio & whip antenna.  We also purchased plenty of new wire - solder & shrink wrap along with a basic assortment of 3/4 to 1 1/2" stainless & 1/4", 5/16" & 3/8" bolts, all necessary for a clean rebuild.

Once running perfectly we marked the position of the vehicle on the frame so the NEW FIBERGLASS BODY would slip on without any guessing as to where it should set.  Drain the radiator, disconnect the battery, loosen and remove the hood, fenders, pedals, wiring harness, fuel tank & line and steering column (being sure to tag all parts and wiring for easy reassembly).  At this point simply remove the clutch & emergency brake, return spring and 8 body mount bolts.  With the help of a few friends - lift the old rusty body off of the frame.

For a neater appearance we pressure washed the frame - pulled the engine out and proceeded with the time consuming task of wire wheeling, sanding & removing 50 year old welding slag.  Then the frame, shocks and rims were painted Military Green.  Next, we installed the shocks, all the newly plated parts and our fresh new Super Swampers.  The front stops had to be adjusted to keep the tires from hitting the frame.  Before advancing further we added a new exhaust system while we had the access.  As for the engine, for a neater appearance we sent out the manifolds, oil filter & filler housing, trans cover, fan shroud and differential cover along with a few miscellaneous parts to be Hi-Temp Ceramic Coated.  The engine was cleaned, resealed and painted.
Next we cut open the shifter holes on the new RUST-FREE FIBERGLASS BODY.   The new body was dropped into place.  The fenders were drilled and mounted to the body and original core support.  Body mount holes were drilled and the whole assembly was loosely bolted in place at 4 mount locations.
The windshield frame was refaced with a new skin and drilled but not secured, until after our painting was finished.   Our new top had to be installed next, for the chassis shop to properly install the new roll bars with proper clearance.  (We were very dissappointed to find out that our ALL AMERICAN CJ was getting a top made in Malaysia with Tiawanese hardware).  We made a trip to our local Walmart & picked up and $18. boat seat & swivel stand to bolt on the top of the roll bar.  The chassis shop assembled the new removable roll cage, with the body sandwiched between the rollbar and frame extensions.  We only used 4 original body mounts, as the roll bar supported the body at the rear locations.   Side impact bars were also added on.  Now it is time to drill lots of holes and temporarily install the front and rear seats, steering column, heater, gauges, emergency brake, soft top, grab bar, fuel tank & side fuel insert (allow a couple hours to cut and fit) & tail lights, 2 extra lights were added down low for towing signals.
The tool box was then trimmed and fit to its position under the passenger seat.  (We drilled a few drain holes and roughed it up with 80 grit).


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