About two years ago, I spotted an old jeep, sitting in the tall grass in a neighbours's back yard. It turns out to be a 1946 Willys CJ2A, the first civilian jeep that Willys built after the war. It looks pretty dilapidated, but on closer inspection appears to be a good candidate for a restoration project. Nearly all the components are there and the owner says it was running when he parked it. It obviously needs lots of work, but best of all, nobody has ever "modified" it, by trying to install a V-8 engine and cutting out the firewall to make it fit, or some such travesty.
|As found||After initial clean-up|
Gerry McRae, our mechanic at B&M Delivery Service, has restored several old vehicles and he agrees that it will be an interesting project and should be a fairly straight-forward restoration. We drag it to the shop and start to clean it up. Our first impressions are confirmed. It looks much better with the after-market top removed and the dead vegetation cleared away. Gerry installs new sparkplugs, hooks up a temporary gas can and a battery ... and the engine starts! Within a few minutes the old four-cylinder flathead is purring and we drive it around the shop.
The first task is to remove the sheet metal and find out what how much body work is required. One of the nice aspects of rebuilding old jeeps is the availability of almost every part. Because they are such a popular project there are many sources of used parts and several businesses actually fabricate new replacements for original components that are no longer available. The floor pans and the under-floor braces are quite rusty, but we will be able to order anything that we can't fabricate in our shop.
|Strip begins||Floors need work|
|Engine room||Original serial number plate|
Next step is to lift the body tub off and turn it over so we can work on the under side. This also exposes all the mechanical components so we can begin to rebuild each of them.