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Classified Find: 1963 Willys Jeep CJ-5

This 1963 Willys CJ-5 is a tidy survivor that is a practical off-roader. Unlike the modern creampuffs that you will find in today’s showrooms, this is a vehicle that won’t cause its owner too much grief if a bit of mud finds its way into the interior. That makes it a practical alternative for finding your way into the wilder parts of the great outdoors. It is looking for a new home, so the owner has chosen to list it for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. It is located in Polk City, Florida, and the price has been set at $9,500.

Finished in Parkway Green, the Willys presents very nicely. The panels are free from any significant dings or dents, while the paint holds a very respectable shine for a classic of this age and type. It tends to indicate that this off-roader has not led a life of abuse. It is also a solid old beast. There is no rust in any of the panels, and the owner says that the underside is just as clean. The rollbar is a practical and sensible addition that I am happy to see. Given the type of terrain that the CJ-5 is designed to tackle, it does mean that there is some chance that the vehicle might potentially go shiny-side-down at some point. If this does happen, the last thing that you need is for your head to come in contact with Planet Earth. The bigger wheels and tires are also a smart move and should allow the Willys to get into even more inaccessible locations than usual.

One glance inside reinforces my earlier point about mud and dirt. With painted floors and vinyl upholstery, this interior is about as hard-wearing as they come. It also presents well, with no rips or tears in the upholstery. The painted surfaces are free from apparent defects, while the thick steering wheel should make life a bit more comfortable on the road. There are no engine photos, but standard equipment in 1963 was the 134ci 4-cylinder engine, backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. This combination should be pumping out a modest 75hp. However, the over-riding strength of the engine is its 114 ft/lbs of torque. This is available at a touch under 2,000 rpm, making the CJ-5 one of the most flexible off-roaders of its generation. The news here is all positive because everything works as it should. That includes the 4×4 system. I can hear the wilds calling to this classic.

There are plenty of 4×4 vehicles on the market that are more luxurious than this 1963 Willys CJ-5, and many of them will get you into the same areas that this one will. However, things change when you consider how many of those vehicles will get you back from those locations. The CJ-5 has developed a reputation for being as tough as old nails, and they will happily withstand some pretty rough going without any protests. That is one of the qualities that this classic offers, but the other is that it is a vehicle that is in exceptional condition for its age and type. That makes it a vehicle that is worth more than a passing glance.


  1. Avatar photo Raymond Smith

    This is a nice one. Our family had a similar one growing up. The engine doesn’t have much power so you drive it all out all the time. I know that probably doesn’t sound like much fun but it is. It was fun as kids because you didn’t have to worry about the power getting away from you. One thing that concerns me though is unless it has been converted to power steering you are going to get a larger diameter steering wheel on it. You might be able to muscle that smaller one on the road but you will hate it off road, especially in ruts.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo William

      I drove an old war surplus jeep a friend had a few times in my youth. The Go Devil Four was enough power for me, but we only used it on country back roads and farm fields. Not at all useful in modern traffic, even on a state hwy at 55MPH it wouldn’t be safe. Really fun for what it was, though. A more modern six cylinder jeep, from the 60s or 70s might be better for modern use. That you could wrench on yourself and cost not too much to buy vs a newer modern Jeep.

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Part of the charm of the CJ-5 is its ultimate simplicity and spartan nature. Which relates to my story.

    My dad bought a new black ’62 which he owned for four years and used in his oilfield job. The four-wheel-drive was useful, he did little highway driving so the 35 mph top speed wasn’t an issue, and overall it did its job. But ultimately it frustrated him for this simple reason: it was too spartan, even by basic standards.

    Specifically, his had a canvas “cabin” (doors, top, sides) in red (which quickly faded to pink). His main complaint was that the heater was weak, and with the canvas “cabin” offering little insulation, it never really got warm inside. And when you worked outside most of the time and your only chance to get warm on a winter day was inside your vehicle, it was frustrating. I vividly remember him lusting after metal cabs in the JC Whitney catalog, but never sprang for one. So when the company owner asked him one day if he would be interested in a company pickup, he jumped at the chance.

    This is a very nice example, and as long as the new owner understands what he or she is getting, they will be happy.

    Like 6
  3. Avatar photo Dave

    Without seat belts, that roll bar will make it easier for the next owner to repair the damage caused by that rollover accident…

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo chrlsful

    needs more oe – like steel wheels, etc

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo AndyinMA

    I wish it was summer and I was driving this every day. So simple and not modded into extremity (yet)

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Steve Brown

    My first Jeep was the second generation CJ5. 1972 introduced the Jeep Universal platform and the CJ5 grew in length to accommodate the straight six and the V8. Mine was a 304 V8 with a three speed on the floor. I bought it from a photograph and drove to Denver to go get it. The plan was to tow it back to Texas behind my friend’s 1984 CJ7. I ended up driving it back with no seat belts, no radio. I put shoulder belts in by drilling through the roll bar to attach the shoulder anchor. I had that Jeep a long time and it cemented my love for them as I wheeled it a lot. This is a nice example of a first generation and I think price is pretty good considering how nice it appears to be.

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo CharlesSawka

    The ad says it’s a tidy survivor. Looks like a full on restoration to me. A very well done one at that !

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    I should have bought one for $500 when nobody wanted one. Looks like the old squarebody will be my last vehicle,,,unless, somebody thinks my truck is worth $10g’s, then lets trade. Hey, it could happen,,( crickets)

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo gaspumpchas

    for 9500 it would beat the crap out of the new ones at 50k. Like Bob said, long as the buyer knows what he’s buying. This is a real jeep, not like the poor excuse that they are making today. The dealers can’t even fix them.Good luck and stay safe.

    Like 0

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