Steve and I went to Chicago to pick up a 1972 Grand Prix, it needed a battery, so we stopped in Bloomington IL at a service station. The owner had the CJ-2A sitting in his garage and it was for sale… I ALWAYS wanted one, so long story short, my husband bought it for me! It’s a 1947 CJ-2A, but I had always said if I was ever gonna have one that I wanted to turn it into a Surrey, like Elvis Presley had in the movie Blue Hawaii. And there you have it! Yes I know to some “purest” they would have a fit because Surreys were 1959-1964, they were DJ’s, they weren’t 4×4, the seats weren’t bucket, but I believe you should build what you enjoy. We are the owners of Center Line Auto Body, a body shop, in House Springs Mo. For our personal cars, we usually build “drivers”, that is to say we personally like to drive our cars all over, not just to shows, and the only time they are a “trailer queen” is when we go to the Emerald Coast Cruizin show in Panama City, FL in November.
We had to buy a new tub for ours, the one on it was just too far gone, new gauges (for asthetics), new e brake, shocks, front end parts, the normal things that a Willys of this age would need. I’m happy to say though that when we bought it, it ran and drove, and I’ve pretty much left it like that, with the exception of a thermostat. I plan on tearing into the tranny and drivetrain this winter, because, lets just say, she’s tired!! Our motto is “Run it may, Shine it Must!!” so out she went, tired, but shining all the way!!!! Mechanics can wait till wintertime when she wouldn’t be out anyway!! Luckily, 2 of my 3 boys are mechanics!!! The other works here with us at the body shop.
The hardest part was probably the surrey top, terrible time getting the right material, but we have the most awesome upholstery guy, named Bill Berger, that I just gave pics to, and he went at it and made it perfect!!!
Of course all body and paint work was done by us, and we’re very happy with the results. We take pride in our work, and we build ‘em how people want ‘em, it just happened to be me this time!