Mini Pickup: 1956 Willys Jeep


I haven’t seen many Jeeps with this type of cab that turns the early utility vehicle into a small pickup. Combined with the somewhat weathered look of this vehicle and a claimed 34,000 miles, I think we have an excellent candidate for a period-looking work vehicle. I can see someone putting some sort of farm logo on the side of this (suitably weathered) and using it as-is cosmetically on their ranch. After all, that’s what the civilian Jeeps were designed for! Thanks to reader Jason J for alerting us to this find, located in Fort Collins, Colorado and for sale here on craigslist for $3,000. Tough as nails but not really suitable for highway use, this generation of Jeep enabled farmers and ranchers to take their work vehicles to town. I’m guessing in this case, the cab was to keep the owner warmer during winter work. Unfortunately, the seller tells us absolutely nothing about the mechanical condition of the vehicle, although there are pictures, including a large front winch and a fixed tow bar to take the Jeep with you. Interested?


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  1. Mark E

    Flat fendered jeeps are always collectable though all the rust makes me think they should add a 1 in front of the mileage. Research only pulled up that the Willys Jeep originated in Butler, PA. Images pulled up a couple of pictures of jeeps with similar cabs but no info. Kind of frustrating but this would sure be a conversation starter at any car gathering…

  2. Todd Zuercher

    Very interested. You don’t see many of these anymore. Second year of the CJ5. Looks like hubcaps from a 60s Wagoneer or Gladiator. Not sure of the “Butler” designation – never heard of that before. These steel hardtops were available from a variety of sources including Sears.

  3. jeff6599

    This isn’t considered a flat fendered Jeep. The CJ-2A, CJ-2B, CJ-3A and CJ-3B were plus some military models. The CJ -5s and up don’t fit that category. Most of all of these were titled as 1/4 ton pickups, even the topless models.

  4. Matt Tritt

    This is the civvie version of the M-38. The 134 CU F-head is a great engine and, with the addition of an overdrive, this would make a fine highway vehicle…Not freeway, highway. If I lived closer I’d buy it for sure.

  5. Peter R

    I remember in the ’60’s a number of gardeners in Montreal using these in winter with a plow to clean driveways and shovels in the back to use on sidewalks and front steps

    • Matt Tritt

      Both Land Rover and Jeep had the half cab versions but the Rover always seemed like a more useable size… the 88, I mean. Out here, ranchers liked the small cab for field work because it provided a way to be pretty much out of the weather while still allowing the back to be used for carrying rolls of barbed wire and the other stuff you don’t want to ride with. Handy!

    • Ed P

      Advertising for the Jeep CJ’s included pictures with wide range of farm implements attached. I don’t know if that stuff was made by Willys or a third party.

  6. Todd Zuercher

    @Mark E. The Bantam Motor Company was headquartered in Butler, PA, and since they built the first prototype of what became the jeep for WWII, Butler is often considered the birthplace of the vehicle. Willys was in Toledo, OH.

    @Matt Tritt: the CJ-5 is the civilian version of the M38A1, not the M38. The CJ-3A was the civilian version of the M38.

    • Matt Tritt

      I stand corrected. I’ve driven about every Jeep made up to 1968, but only some of the labels have stayed stuck!

  7. Jason

    I am sick and tired of sellers lying about the mileage. 34K is a freaking joke for this truck. When pushed, the sellers inevitably say, Oh, that’s what the odometer says. As if no one ever heard of it rolling. /rolls eyes/

  8. Howard A Member

    These are getting pretty rare. Every gas station and municipality had dozens of these. Sadly, most saw plow duty, and turned into dust. I do believe the mileage claim, as these weren’t too highway friendly.(with a 3 speed and 5:38 gears) And remaining examples are bringing big money (relatively speaking) A restored one like this on Hemmings was advertised for $16,000 dollars a while back. As far as the cab, many outside companies offered metal cabs, including Willys-Overland. This particular cab, looks like a “Kelly” half cab, with the bars on the doors, and, I believe, Kelly was the only one with roll up windows.
    Great find.

  9. Robert B

    I’ve owned quite a few flat fender Willys and currently still have two – a 2A and a 3B. Low mileage Jeeps are not that uncommon since they weren’t really suitable for highway use without an overdrive, which few had. Many were just used around the farm or ranch, and didn’t rack up the mileage like a car of a similar-age would. Occasionally they’d be driven to town but not many of this era were ever used as family cars or daily drivers. And many spent most of their lives in a barn.
    My most recent Willys purchase was out of a barn and last titled in 1984. So, although it’s an old vehicle, it hasn’t been driven a single mile in the last 31 years.

  10. William H

    Growing up, my father had a ’48 Willys jeep that we used as a farm/lease vehicle. It had a top speed of about 35 MPH but would go pretty much anywhere even in 2wd. Much to the disappointment of others on our leases that had their 4wd vehicles, they could never follow the little jeep. Many, many great memories were made in that jeep and I would love to find another one to mess with.

    I would bet the mileage is correct on this one as we only covered a few thousand miles in ours in all the years we owned it. It was generally towed to the lease at the beginning of the season, used during, then towed back home to be used in tasks around the property.

  11. krash

    @Howard A

    thanks for the link..’s a wonderful multi-layered site with all sorts of great Jeep/Willys aftermarket info (history/descriptions/photos)…..

    • Howard A Member

      Hi krash, your welcome. Over the years, I’ve had several Jeeps, and friends had many more. In the late 80’s, I found a 1951 Willys pick-up (full size) that had only been used as a plow truck (still had the plow) and had 19,000 miles with a bad motor. ( I think I paid $500 without the plow) I put a SBC in it, from a 1950 Willys wagon I had. The SBC was a little much for the pickup, but it was a fun vehicle. I’d love to find another full size Willys someday and they come by here from time to time.

  12. Matt Tritt

    I’d put money on that being the right mileage, but remember that 34,000 miles of mainly ranch work is a lot of miles! Many of these vehicles have been used in mainly 4WD.

  13. Jay Calk

    The cab was an add on. I bought a full cab very similar from JC Whitney in the 1980’s. They may still make them. Sure would keep you a lot warmer than a canvas top or nothing at all.

  14. Jasper

    The accessory catalog from my ’70 CJ5 still showed some interesting offerings. From metal tops to trencher attachments, a funky piggy back slide in camper and many other stops in between.

  15. Jon Sieck

    The tow bar is made from a lower control arm from a 40’s GM big car (Cad, Olds, Buick)

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