In the summer 2006, I was a 15 year old high school sophomore itching to get my first Willys Jeep. I quickly purchased a basket case 1946 CJ2A I found in central Pennsylvania. Looking back now, it really wasn’t the smartest purchase I could have made. The engine was missing and the body had been almost totally consumed by rust. It did, however have a good chassis and a clear title. My goal was to restore the vehicle to factory-new condition. A few months later, I purchased a second 1946 CJ2A for the engine and some body parts.
With some help from my dad, who is an auto mechanic, I quickly tore the first Jeep down to the bare frame. After some hole patching, sandblasting, and paint, I had a nice foundation for my restoration. Next, I tackled the Jeep’s mechanical systems. Each component was cleaned, rebuilt, painted and installed on the chassis. The wheels were repainted the original Autumn Yellow and mounted on new NDTs. By the summer of 2008, I had assembled a complete running chassis.
The next step was the body work. I had 2 original body tubs in my possession, but neither was a candidate for restoration. One had rusted away and the other had suffered a major collision damage in the rear. I purchased a third original tub, but it turned out that it needed more work than I had thought. Although I had wanted an original tub on my Jeep, the third tub was the final straw. So, I ordered a reproduction body tub and spent many weeks fine-tuning it by drilling many holes and welding on a number of brackets. I also did body work on the rest of the original body components. A local body shop then painted the body parts in the original Pasture Green. This was the only work I didn’t do myself. In April 2009, I placed the freshly painted body on the frame. Then I started adding the gauges, reupholstered seats, wiring, and other small parts. The Jeep was basically done in May 2009, just in time to drive to my high school graduation. I think probably the worst part of the 3 year restoration was the sandblasting. I sandblasted each part myself using a small 10 gallon sandblaster my grandparents gave me for Christmas one year. It was a dirty time-consuming job that I don’t care to do again for a long time.
I enjoy driving my Jeep when I am home for college and am still working on it. It is a blast to drive whether going to a car show or driving downtown to run errands. I finally have almost all of the bugs worked out of it. It is now a very dependable driver even with the original 6 volt electrical system. I most recently added a rear seat and the Pasture Green wheel pinstriping. Next, I would like to add an original canvas top. I credit the Jeep restoration with introducing me to mechanical engineering, which I now study at Carnegie Mellon University. Of course none of this would have been possible without all of the help I got from the friendly, knowledgeable guys on the CJ2A Page message board.