I have been in the process of restoring a historic military Jeep. It is a USMC waterproof radio Jeep designated CJV35/U 1/4 Ton 4×4 Truck. It was manufactured by the Willys Overland Corp in Toledo Ohio sometime in the first two quarters of 1950. This Jeep was one of 1000 ordered and was the only military contract filled by Willys Overland in the years between WWII and Korea. The Jeep was the precursor to the more famous M38 series of Jeeps and was a mix of MB, CJ3A and M38 parts. The Korean war started just after the last CJV35 was delivered to the Marine corps but it is unknown how many actually made it to Korea. I suspect the relatively low numbers of them that exist today may indicate that at least some did in fact make it into service with the USMC in Korea and likely did not make it home. The Jeep was given to me by my Friend Stan Thompson who obtained it in a straight across trade for a motorcycle in about 1970. He used it for a hunting Jeep in and around his home in Payson AZ. He had no idea what the Jeeps heritage was. When I received the Jeep I had no idea what it was or that it was a very rare part of history. After doing some research I found out the Jeep was one of the rarest of all production military Jeeps. I contacted the friend that gave it to me making sure he was still ok with the deal. He said its yours to do whatever you want with but please don’t sell it. It was soon apparent that my original plans for the jeep would not work out.
After some research I decided to enlist the help of my Friend Tanner Lamb at Lamb Fabrication in Gilbert to undertake a complete restoration of the Jeep back to as close to its original condition as delivered from Willys Overland as possible. Tanner and his crew at Lamb Fab spent over 18 months and countless hours restoring it to what it is today. And while I am a little bias I think the end result was beyond even my wildest expectations. I did what I could to help when time allowed but my greatest contribution was transportation, cleaning, research and parts locating. I spent more hours than I care to count doing research and acquiring parts. Along the way I also became acquainted with several experts on Willys Jeeps and Especially the CJV35/U and CJ3A series of Jeeps. Without the Help of Bob Westerman, Harold West, Dale Campbell, Richard Grace, Robert De Ruyter and Loren Jones this project would still be on the drawing board. I also had lots of help from my friends Ken Shields and John Almaguer. It is hard to put into words the gratitude that I have for these folks and anyone else who lent a hand along the way. The Radio gear and much of the original unique military equipment was missing and some of that equipment has not been located and may never be, so this project will never be complete. As I understand it all CJV35’s left the Willys Factory with semi gloss forest green paint, black chassis and drive train and had the USMC and registration numbers stenciled on the hood and Bumperette. My jeep was missing the original hood and bumperettes so we were unable to locate the original registration numbers. The numbers you see on this project are comprised of the first 3 numbers “162” commonly seen on this series of Jeeps. The last 3 “492” are the last three of the vehicles serial number.
As of today the Jeep is as done as it can be for now and we will start to enjoy it. I plan to take it to Military vehicle shows and other events in the area like parades and car shows when time permits. I also plan to drive it around our area from time to time just to enjoy it. I will post more pictures when I have time. I have also included a few links to some websites that contain information about the CJV35 and the CJ-3A. I am still looking for parts and pieces to fully complete this project and in fact along the way I have acquired a second CJV35/U. I was able to salvage many rare parts from it for this project but I am unsure whether I will attempt to restore this second jeep or pass it on to someone else to restore. Time will tell.
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – Michael Wixom
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