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20 Years In The Barn: 1955 Willys CJ-5 Jeep

With a production run from 1955 to 1983, the Willys (later Jeep) CJ-5’s tenure on the new-car market is hard to beat. This 1955 Willy CJ-5 in Fort Collins, Colorado seeks a new owner here on Facebook Marketplace, where $6700 makes it yours. The seller points out that this Jeep comes with a “wench,” though more probably it comes with a PTO-driven winch. Either could be considered a bonus. The winch PTO “does not… engage,” so that’s a bummer. On the upside, it’s been converted to 12v operation. Highly original and rust-free, the little CJ sat in a barn for 20+ years and now features a rebuilt engine. It’s said to run and drive “very well,” and has survived without restoration, retaining much of its original metal. The iconic seven-slot grille renders a Jeep recognizable on all inhabited continents.

Nothing epitomizes “form follows function” more than this CJ-5. Dashboard design may have taken all of 45 seconds. “How about a flat panel across the door frames?” “Brilliant!” Certainly changing the wiper motors has never been easier than having them (one for each wiper) in the passenger compartment. The turn-signal box looks like an aftermarket unit from J.C. Whitney.

The box-steel bumper makes a perfect hitch point. Military Jeeps often found themselves towing utility trailers and other wheeled objects. Early Jeeps gladly functioned as a mini-pickup-truck with the same tailgate style and a cargo area positioned squarely over the rear axle. Trailer lights in the rear continue (in theme) on today’s Jeep.

The Willys F4-134 Hurricane inline four-cylinder made 75 HP (gross) in 1955. Though not exciting, the primitive design rendered tremendous reliability, perfect when you’re miles from civilization. The remote oil filter adds oil capacity and simplifies oil changes.

What looks like a smuggler’s hatch holds items that you don’t want bounced out as you traverse the back country.

No fewer than four levers sprout up from the center tunnel. According to OldWillysForum the three forward levers are (in order) Transmission, Transfer Case (2wd/4wd), and Transfer Case (high/low range). The rear lever is probably PTO for the winch. What destination would you visit in this first-year CJ-5?


  1. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    That’s an attractive winch.

    Like 11
  2. Avatar photo Rixx56 Member

    To engage wench, supply ring!

    Like 19
    • Avatar photo connbackroads

      Whoever wrote the Facebook ad blew it when they included a winch and a female in the same ad . . . and they really blew it when they didn’t know the difference between a winch and a wench !!!


      Like 12
    • Avatar photo Max

      Be sure to take it out of gear before engaging wench.

      Like 3
  3. Avatar photo oilngas

    For twenty years in a barn the wench is in better shape.

    Like 14
  4. Avatar photo Steve R

    I love the look of this Jeep. The color combination with the body colored wheels make it stand out. It a clean, understated combination that effectively draws your eye due to its simplicity. It would make a great warm weather around town or country cruiser as it sits.

    Steve R

    Like 8
  5. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    Imagine teaching someone how to drive a stick with this jeep.
    Staring at all those levers . . .

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Mr.BZ

      I automatically flashed back to trying to teach my daughter how to drive a stick, 370zpp. 20 years ago, it may have been the last argument we had and I’m sure a recurring nightmare for her!

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Dex

      Both of my kids learned to drive in a ’49 CJ3-A. Pretty easy to get going in a field and in low range. Not much speed, and almost impossible to kill when letting out the clutch!

      Like 11
    • Avatar photo thomas glashaw Member

      try teaching someone to drive a 1918 model t that’s even harder lol 3 pedals on the floor and 2 levers on the steering column lol

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Johnny

    Now your talking. I noticed the oil filter and had to go see the one on the 67 Jeep out back. Dad and I put a metal top on his. Them cloth top ones will freeze your side off–facing the door. No matter how many rags you put around the cloth top doors. The cold air still come in. These Wills were well made and and sturdy little vehicles. I like this jeep.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Dave S.

    I’m not sure but I think that’s Hot Lips in the jeep ! But where is Frank Burns ???

    Like 0

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