Original 304: 1975 Jeep CJ-5

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With warmer weather fast approaching, delving into the wilds to commune with Mother Nature can be difficult to resist. There are many transport options for intrepid explorers, but this 1975 Jeep CJ-5 could be a hot prospect. Its relatively small dimensions mean it can maneuver into spaces beyond the reach larger off-roaders, while its original V8 offers the power and torque to climb every mountain and ford every stream. It has a few rust issues but nothing that could cause many sleepless nights. The Jeep is listed here on eBay in Rutledge, Tennessee. Bidding has reached $5,400 in a No Reserve auction, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this promising classic.

The seller believes that most of the Code 600 Copper paint cloaking this Jeep is original. They acknowledge some touch-ups and patchiness in spots, but it retains a healthy shine. There are minor dings and imperfections, but none require immediate attention. It looks like someone recently restored the wheels because they are in as-new condition. Surface corrosion is visible in various locations, including heavy pitting on the floors. There is also penetrating rust requiring attention, including in the toolbox and at least one body mount. The seller supplies this excellent YouTube video revealing many faults and flaws. One additional item requiring attention is the windshield. Although it isn’t cracked, it is extremely cloudy around the edges. However, I had no trouble locating a replacement windshield and seal for under $200.

The best word to describe the interior of this CJ-5 is “utilitarian.” The seats feature Black vinyl upholstery, but the remaining surfaces wear paint. This interior is unmolested, but the painted surfaces would benefit from a refresh to lift its presentation. The seatcovers aren’t worn, but their slightly odd appearance makes me wonder whether the foam might be on the way out. However, with a pair of covers and foam available as a package for under $500, addressing the shortcoming will not be expensive. Although there isn’t a back seat, the bolt holes are present for those who want extra passengers. I performed a brief online search, locating a new seat for $250. Throw some rubber mats on the floor, and this Jeep’s interior would look pretty nice for under $1,000.

Although buyers could order their 1975 CJ-5 with a choice of two sixes under the hood, the best option was the 304ci V8. It brought a weight penalty to the table, but the combination of increased torque, power, and better weight distribution made the Jeep an accomplished off-roader. The original 304 in this beauty should send 150hp and 245 ft/lbs of torque to the road via a three-speed manual transmission and a dual-range transfer case. With most of the power and torque available at 2,000rpm, this beauty is perfect for crawling over almost any obstacle, but it can still cruise effortlessly at 65mph on the open road. The seller provides this YouTube video of the Jeep running and driving, and its V8 sounds crisp. There are no signs of smoke at idle, but there is some visible on the move. That could warrant further investigation. Otherwise, the seller believes it needs nothing beyond brake work, new tires, and some minor tinkering to be mechanically roadworthy.

Although pristine examples of the 1975 Jeep CJ-5 have experienced slow value growth in the past two years, the buying public’s willingness to embrace project vehicles has seen the values of those examples climb at an impressive rate. This Jeep fits within that category, and I won’t be surprised if the bidding threatens $10,000 before the auction concludes. It could be a bargain worth a close look if it doesn’t reach that figure in the dying moments. If you are considering venturing into the wilderness soon, would this Jeep be your weapon of choice?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    Refreshing to see this era of Jeep without big
    wheels & tires for a change.

    Like 11
  2. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    So,,I suppose it’s up to us to filter out whats BS and what isn’t. Here’s a perfect example. All that comes through here, it seems, are 5 figure Jeeps and I complain about every one. This is much more down to earth, and should be used as an example of what to pay.
    You know, I look at this Jeep, and it’s a nice one, but there are LOTS of nice Jeeps. I hate to keep bringing up my YJ, but again, this isn’t much more than a glorified military Jeep, and at the time, that was okay, but the Asian jobs showed America, it didn’t want 4x4s like this anymore. Naturally, I’m jealous of the V8, but adds a lot of weight to an already front heavy vehicle, and roll tendency is great with this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great find, priced
    realistically for once, and ALL Jeeps rust by your feet, but, I could go out and comfortably drive my YJ to Denver this afternoon ( 3 hours, not that I would) and have no quams about taking it, this, I wouldn’t venture out of the county. The V6 is about as big as I’d go with these, the V8 is too much. With the 3 speed, 65 mph is unrealistic. While it could probably do it, things can happen fast at 65 in a CJ. For the last time, IT JUST WASN’T DESIGNED FOR IT! These came with 3:70 gears, but 4:27s were optional, and never see 65 if so equipped.
    To recap, DON’T pay much more for any of these, and with 14 bids, I think people are getting the message.

    Like 7
    • alphasudMember

      A V6 in a 1975 Jeep? I personally like the 304 option. It’s only 150hp. and it’s a torque engine and perfectly suited to work in this application. Plus who doesn’t like the sound of a V8 over the 258 inline six. My friend got his CJ-5 while he was in high school. 304 with a 4-speed (I will have to ask him as it might be a 3-speed) but he now has a 360 with headers and a 4bbl. I think if you ask him he would say there is no such thing as too much power.
      I like the way this looks. I would fix the rust but try and keep the patina. Reupholster the seats in the original vinyl new tires on the steel wheels and enjoy it for what it was made for and laugh at the people who spend 100K for a restored Bronco who will never get it wet and dirty.

      Like 8
      • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

        Yeah, slight error, the V6 was discontinued in ’72, I read. I meant inline 6, and these were more than a regular CJ. The firewall was pushed back 2″ and the hood and fenders grew by 5″, bigger gas tank, and frame. Of course, there are always the “more is better” folks, and to them I say,,”better on”, but really, you want a monster truck, perhaps an old “Grave Digger” is more your style. I like a simple Jeep, in the 3 Bears analogy, the V8 was too much, the 4, not enough, the 6, just right.

        Like 3
    • Mark Tuovinen

      I agree that this one so far is much more reasonably priced than most I’ve seen. The rusted body mount appears to be the worst issue it has. I wouldn’t waste money refurbishing the existing seats, I’d swap them out for some high back buckets that are more comfortable and safer. As for the V-8 with a 3 speed, assuming it has the 3:73 gears which were standard it will certainly do more than 65 mph. My first vehicle was a twin to this one except for the color and a few minor features, mine had a functioning tailgate, a backseat, and parchment colored upholstery. I still have a few parts of mine left including the transfer case which is attached via an adapter to a T-10 4 spd out of a Ford as I eventually swapped a 302 into it.

      Like 2
  3. robjMember

    Save those steel wheels. Quite difficult to find a nice set of steelies…

    Like 3
  4. Gary

    I’ve driven CJ’s with small tires and it is not a pleasant experience IMHO. Larger tires, moved out by offset wheels cures a lot of the handling woes. They are so narrow the little tires follow the semi grooves in the road. A straight six is plenty, a V8 would be fun though. A friend’s uncle had a CJ that he lifted six inches, did a axle swap with some kind of lockers, some pretty big tires with a all season type tread and a very healthy 455 Buick. He could roast all four tires at will and said it actually handled fairly well.

    Like 3
    • Richard

      I had my ’77 CJ 5 304 3 speed with factory white spoke wheels and GoodYear Tacker AT tires on three wheels around a corner ONCE. That jeep would do anything I asked it to do. What a nice package. I miss it.

      Like 0
  5. eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

    Gary, my Uncle had a similar setup with a 74 Jeep back in the early 80’s. Built 400 Chevy smallblock with a Rock Crusher 4 speed Muncie and 411 gears. It was canary yellow with big chrome wheels and 33’s. That vehicle would roast all 4 also and was a blast to run around town in— a real head turner. I wanted to buy it but he sold it before I got the funds together. It took several years of life to finally order a 2016 Rubicon with hard rock package for climbing, 3″ lift and Nitto Ridge Grappler 35’S. It’s got the big V6, never been off road yet but will cruise the interstate at 80 with no problem.

    Like 2
  6. Steve Brown

    My first Jeep was a 1972 CJ5 with a 304 and the three speed manual. I drove it many years and I never felt it was too front end heavy or dangerous. It did lift a back tire during a panic stop on the highway once though.

    Like 2
  7. RexFoxMember

    The 304 came with a 3 speed, not a 4 speed. While inspecting the rust issues, I also recommend really checking out the frame; some cracked, especially with the V8.

    Like 1
  8. skibum2

    I regret selling my 1973 Super Jeep.. I had no idea that they only built 500 of them.. 6 and a 3 speed was more than enough for me .

    Like 1
  9. FordFixerMember

    Had a number of stocker CJ 5s, but altered a 82 CJ7, 360, auto, lifted, locked, caged. Great rock crawler, not great highway. Ruined a great jeep!! Have a 48 2A and 57 3B flat fender now. Fun rides.

    Like 1

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