137: Richard Cloutier’s 1963 Willys CJ-3B
This Jeep is in fact a 1963 CJ-3B that has been modified to accommodate the MB grill and the lower hood. The tub is actually made from new heavy gauge sheet metal. Measurements are from CJ-3A configuration. The tub is not a repro kit. We made it ourselves from scratch by cutting, bending, rolling and shaping plain sheets of steel. Off the 3B, we kept only the windshield, hood, and cowl. The rest was junked as it was too far gone anyway. Even the seats frames are fabricated by hand.
In order to clear the taller F-134 and to obtain the lower look of the MB model, we had to raise the tub over the frame a few inches. In fact, we didn’t have much choice. We welded new mounts, reinforced the frame railings and we had to modify quite a few things, such as pedal linkage, throttle rods and things like that. The Jeep now sits on top of the frame, which gives it this unusual look. With its heavy gauge body tub, reinforced frame, and heavy duty suspension, this Jeep is the closest thing I know to a Sherman tank. I did not do all the work myself. I’m lucky enough to have a very talented friend who has access to sheet metal facilities. But I engineered all the details. I like MB model, but I didn’t want it identical as a MB jeep. For instance, I moved the spare tire carrier in the center of the rear panel instead of placing it on the right hand side, I didn’t want the jerry can holder, so I didn’t put one, I designed the instrument panel to fit my taste, with three gauges on each side of the odometer, I installed a powerful rear spotlight on the rear bumper, CJ-2A bullet style parking lights in the grille’s indentations. I didn’t want to mess with pioneers tools, but I wanted tp retained body handles and footman loops all around it. I also cheated a little on the windshield by gluing a fake split window bar directly on the glass to give it the MB split windshield look. From a purist point of view, there are a lot of things wrong with this jeep. But it is extremely rugged and reliable.
So, what started out as just replacing a few rusted panels ended up in the construction of a brand new old jeep.
– Richard Cloutier
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