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Cheap Jeep? 1946 Willys CJ2A


Jeeps are amazing vehicles. They are the only American cars on the road today with direct roots to World War II. Almost all of us know someone who loves jeeps, whether we do ourselves or not.


I have never owned a Jeep, nor have I even really ever been tempted to buy one, but I do appreciate the attraction they have had for so many Americans for so many years. And these early post World War II civilian Jeeps are pretty interesting. This one is a pretty solid looking survivor, albeit with quite a few modifications showing. It’s for sale on craigslist near Ansonia, Connecticut.


The seller does not say much about his car: Garaged last 33yrs-Original seats reupholstered-All metal body -No Bondo-Good Condition.


The photos do show a car in very solid appearing condition, which looks to have been used for off-road travel at some point in its history. The wagon wheels and oversized tires do make this Jeep look a little like a cartoon car to me, and if I were to be the owner, I would swap them out for smaller wheels that ride and handle a bit better. But that’s just me, I am sure many of our readers will disagree with me.


The interior is spartan, but that’s the way a Jeep should look.


Is that engine original? If it is, then it’s the “Go-Devil” 134 cubic inch four cylinder making all of 60 horsepower when new.


As a potential buyer, I’d mostly want to make sure the body is not too rusty, but with an asking price of $5,000, if it is as solid as it is said to be, this should be a pretty good deal, and even though it’s now 70 years old, it’s could be a fun little driver. I’d keep the paint the way it is too. I’d love to hear what our readers think of this ride.


If you want to know more about the history of early civilian Jeeps, here’s a pretty good reference.


  1. Todd Zuercher

    Looks to be in great condition! Rare to find them this nice anymore.

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  2. Joe

    Judging by the severe toe out in the last picture, I’d say it needs some front end work. Personally, I’d stick with the big tires/wheels.

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    • Todd Barrett

      I’m sure it needs king bearings and bushings!

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  3. Chris in Nashville

    Love it but if I were to get one I would want the Military spec version.

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  4. jeff6599

    It has a very short wheelbase and Ackerman; that is how the wheels look when turned.

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  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    A lot of surplus Jeeps came on the market after the war. It seems to me that even the military versions quit using the full floating rear axle by the end of the war. They were adapted to many different uses. From what I understand this particular unit, I’ve posted, was once used as a fire truck in the military then the community bought it and has kept it for 70 years. It was used as a backup till the early 60s and is now used for promotional duties.

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  6. Matt Tritt

    I totally agree that the wheels and tires are wrong for the vehicle. Jeep suspensions aren’t designed to handle such huge dynamic loads, the tires will prevent full steering radius and the center of loading on the wheel bearings is too far outboard. Finding a set of the original 16″ rims and fitting orig spec tires would improve road handling enormously and vastly improve MPG. Save the big wheels for when you feel like REALLY getting stuck.

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  7. jeff6599

    some of you folks may not go off roading much if at all. I assure you that there are thousands of CJ sized Jeeps fitted with tires this size and actually quite a bit larger. I doubt that there is anyone alive today who knows what loads the suspensions were designed to handle within the typical 35% yield point. Since the first Jeeps, aka General Purpose Vehicle, aka GP, aka GeeP, aka Jeep, were manufactured in 1941, the design specs were likely put out in 1939. Who honestly knows what loads those design specs called for? The two basic front axles were: a, enclosed knuckle u joints and b, exposed knuckle u joints. Each has their good points. With wider offset wheels, the wheel bearing life is simply reduced, requiring bearing replacement more often; a small price to pay for the off road performance of current wheel and tire size availability. Worried about tie rod ends? Use heim joints!
    Springs bothersome? use monoleafs, either steel or composite. Just don’t make common everyday mods to keep a great old soldier in operation seem like the work of the devil. It is called engineering.

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    • DAN

      or whole knuckle implodes
      every trip to Rubicon, some broke weak front axle is broke blocking the trail
      d44s not much better…even if you put $2500 into it:)… way I would run a stock 25/41setup

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    • Matt Tritt

      Very true. I happen to know two of the premier Jeep modifaction gurus in California pretty well, and I also know just what it takes to make em Rubicon-worthy. A LOT. The thing is that the original versions are just not engineered or made to do what current back country drivers expect from them, and require very extensive and expensive modifications to do the job. The usual first move is to drop a Buick V-6 in – and then the (inadequate) T-90 3 speed blows up. Drop in a 4 speed from a later machine, and then the rear diff complains. Replace both diffs, the springs, steering (complete), jack it up to accept those oversize tires, replace those wimpy shocks with double-piston long stroke gas shocks – and then out with the 6 and in with an 8, and on and on you go. This little CJ is so perfect the way it is and it will do just fine in the woods without turning it into some hashed-up rig that you can barely give away on Craigslist after you lose interest. Only my opinion.

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  8. Todd Zuercher

    Yes Jeff and if you’re going to do any serious off roading in this Jeep, it will require some serious re-engineering.

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  9. Philip Shevlin

    $5000 is high. I sold this one for $7800 3 years ago.

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  10. GTOJeff

    I restored an actual military one last fall.

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  11. Ric Parrish

    GTOJeff, that’s the coolest one of all, the WWII version with the small headlights. That’s the one I want, but my three 2&1/2 ton 6×6’s and 62 Corvette project, put it way way off in the future.

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  12. BMW/Tundra Guy

    I used to own a Jeep Renegade. It was a, at the time, very rare automatic. Had the longer than normal wheel base, also. Straight six engine. Of all the vehicles I have ever owned, that one, hands down, was the BIGGEST POS I have ever had the pleasure of had. Thinking I used the word “pleasure” as a misnomer? It was an absolute POS BUT it was also THE MOST FUN DRIVING VEHICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED/hated that thing!!!! It literally spent as much time working on it, as it did driving it. I remember being out in a below freezing day, under the hood, changing out the accelerator pump. I used to be on an “On Call List” for the local Hospitals. Whenever it snowed too deep for “normal” vehicles, they would call me, amongst others, and I would go pick up Dr.’s, Nurses, and critical Hospital Staff at their homes and take them to work. Pick up the crew that they were replacing and take them home. What an absolute love/hate relationship vehicle!!!! I STILL miss it!!!! (not my Wife, she had a hate/hate relationship with it) to this day if I even mention my missing that toy, she will remind me of the “bad times”. Don’t care, still gonna get another one!!!!! Someday! (just not this one and not today)

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    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hang in there Brother, last year I bought a 1960 Willys wagon. 4×4. So fun. I drive it now every day, all year in Wisconsin.

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