At the close of World War II, Willys realized that it could leverage its wartime fame and enter the consumer vehicle market under an already well-known brand name. The first “civilian” Jeep was the CJ-2A, also known as the “Universal”. It offered features not found on the military MB model, including a tailgate, side-mounted spare tire, higher windshield and larger headlights. The retail price was $1,090 and the CJ-2A was produced from 1945 to 1949.
The CJ series evolved rapidly, first as the CJ-3A (1948 – 1953), with improved ventilation and a one-piece windshield that featured wipers at the bottom as opposed to mounted in the top frame. The CJ-3B (1953 to 1965) had a higher hood to accommodate the more powerful “Hurricane” overhead-valve, four-cylinder engine. During the CJ-3B production run, Willys also offered the DJ-3A, or “Dispatcher”, a two-wheel drive version of the CJ-3A that was available in hardtop, convertible, and half- and full-top models. It was often used as a vacation rental vehicle at tropical resort destinations. Kaiser Willys Auto Supply has old Jeep parts for all Willys CJ Jeep models.
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CJ Series Evolves
From 1955 to 1983 the CJ-5 was a popular model, sold as the “Universal”. Many different models were offered, including the Jeep Camper, 462, Renegade, Super Jeep, Golden Eagle and Tuxedo Park. A two-wheel drive version, the DJ-5, was offered through 1974. Overlapping with the CJ-5 model was the CJ-6, which had a stretched 20″ longer wheelbase. A two-wheel drive version was called the DJ-6.
Moving closer to modern Jeeps, the CJ-7 was introduced in 1976 and had a very successful 10-year run. With a wheelbase 10″ shorter than the CJ-6, this was the best handling and smoothest riding CJ ever, and it’s still popular today. An open cap pickup version called the CJ-8, or Scrambler, was built at the same time and was 10″ longer than the CJ-7 (meaning it had the same wheelbase as the CJ-6). Both soft tops and hard tops were available for the CJ-8. Kaiser Willys Auto Supply has old Jeep parts for the entire Jeep CJ series.