This Willys is a 1953 CJ-3B that required a frame up rebuild. I knew when I bought it three years ago that it was going to be a long project. The body was too far gone to bother with so I bought a new body kit from Kaiser Willys. The frame was not much better so I spent two weeks straightening, untwisting, and welding it. I kept the Buick 225 V6 with the TH350 auto trans but rebuilt it all with a hotter cam and new valve train. Engine now has hardened exhaust valve seats and Chevy dual valve springs. As a note to the uninformed, the valve guides have to be cut down in order to run a high lift cam in these engines. I installed a HEI distributor which made a very noticeable difference.
I rebuilt the transfer case with new gears and a kit from KW. I had to fabricate many sheet metal parts to make everything fit. I fabricated all the pedals, mounts, etc. I even made my own emergency brake system to make it street legal. I finally got done painting it so I’m done with it for now. Next year I might install an overdrive unit. I’m welding up an aluminum tool box for it now. As all car guys know, these projects never really gets done. Thanks to Kaiser Willys for the parts and I’m sure I’ll be needing more parts later.
Willys Jeep Life Story – Robert Kudamatsu
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