Our Willys is a 1949 CJ-2A which I believe spent much of its life on land out in the country. Not sure of the compete history but the previous owner told us it sat in his grandfather’s barn for the previous 20 or so years not being used. My son and I purchased it in August 2016 to restore and spend some quality time together.
In my younger years I tinkered around with cars quite a bit as a hobby and always enjoyed it. Life and finances have limited my ability to participate in my vehicle hobby over the years. Once our son reached his teenage years and began to get interested in vehicles, particularly Jeeps, I knew we had to find a project to work on together.
When we purchased it, the engine was not in running condition and it looked as though the Jeep had been well used. Years of dirt and grease covered the axles, transmission and transfer case. We took it completely apart, sandblasted all the crud off the fame and coated/sealed it. We rebuilt the axles, transmission and transfer case. A dual reservoir master cylinder was installed along with all new brake lines and disk brakes up front.
When it came time to rebuild the engine we found out the block and head were cracked. We wanted something a little more modern with a little more power. So after some thought we decided to do an engine conversion to a Dauntless V6. Through some family and friend connections we acquired a complete engine from a 1970 CJ. We rebuilt the engine and did the necessary modifications to the frame mounts and tub. After doing the necessary body and paint work we put it all back together and got it on the road again. Driving this Willys around is a blast. We get lots of waves and thumbs up. But none of it compares to the quality time I enjoyed with my son and seeing the smile on his face when we first took it for a spin. We’ll have those memories forever.
We took it to our first Jeep show this past weekend and I could not believe it, but we won Best in Class and Best in Show. We have other light mods planned and would like to take it to more shows in the future.
Willys Jeep Life Story – Jerry Pfeuffer
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