Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Parked in ’75: 1940 Piper J3 Cub

This 1940 Piper J3 Cub was parked in a hangar in 1975, and hasn’t turned a propeller since. Known as the “Model T” of aircraft due to its high production volume (nearly 20,000 made in the U.S.), it’s safe to say there’s a strong following for this light-weight aircraft. Bidding has risen to just under $8K here on eBay, but the reserve remains unmet.

The J3 Cub is a very simple airplane, with what could be described as rudimentary controls and a sparse cockpit. Because of this, it was used extensively in military applications and also turned out to make for a great training aircraft. This example even sports one of its iconic colors, know as Cub Yellow. The seller notes all logbooks are complete.

The fuselage consists of a steel frame is welded and is covered in fabric. Seating options are limited, with room for just two passenger arranged in tandem formation. The seller notes it comes with an aluminum prop, as well as an original but reconditioned wood prop. Storage arrangements appear to be dry and clean, and the tail section looks straight.

The wings have (obviously) been removed, with no information given as to why this Piper J3 left the runways. The design is one that is likely instantly recognized by aviation enthusiasts regardless of this one being in pieces, as it was immortalized by its efforts in WWII. The seller claims it is priced to sell; what’s a fair offer for a J3 project like this?


  1. Haig Haleblian

    One can buy a nice J3 for $30-$40k or completely tricked out for $50-$60k. Why would anyone want this mess? It will require new fabric, all AD’s, motor rebuild, avionics and on and on. Gives me a headache just thinking about it.

    Like 26
    • Unobtanium Matt

      Unless you’re Indiana Jones. In that case, pour some whiskey into the carb, fire her up and make a flying escape.

      Like 6
    • Steve Feld Member

      Hello Haig!

      I recognized your name the moment I read your remarks. When did you get interested in flying?

      Steve Feld

      Like 3
    • JayBee

      You can say that again…
      What did Moriarty say to Oddball about the Tiger tank he traded for in Kelly’s Heroes?

      Like 0
  2. CJinSD

    Reasonable reserve? I’m pretty sure that a suicide supply of cocaine, 20 year old call girls and bourbon could be had for less than eight grand.

    Like 11
  3. Steve Bush Member

    CJinSD; Were you boys with Hunter S Thompson?

    Like 7
  4. Pookie Jamie

    Light sport worthy!!!!! Where do I sign? My FAA mechanic friend and I are looking for a project like this!!!! And he was in WWII!!!!! He knows these planes all too well!!!! And the N number is there so we can trace it !!! Ahhhh exciting beyond belief! See ya guys! I have homework to do….

    Like 6
    • Chuck

      The N number search I did came back as “no record”.

      Like 1
      • Jim

        I got “deregistered as of 08/06/2013.
        At that time it was owned by a person in Cuyahoga Falls, OH

        Like 2
  5. Howard A. Member

    Clean the windows, air up the tires, good to go,,, you gotta be nuts. Like Brian Dennehy’s character in the film, Never Cry Wolf, “How do beat boredom, kid? ADVENTURE!! ( as the plane is going down)

    Like 3
  6. Jack Hammer

    Would fly during a tornado.

    Like 1
  7. LARRY

    Needs a blown big block lol

    Like 3
    • Howard a. Member

      Cummins diesel? Don’t see a lot of diesel airplanes,,

      Like 2
      • Jim

        Look up Napier Nomad.

        Like 1
  8. Jay E.

    I Love J3 Cubs, having no wind under its wings for 45 years is a CRIME!!! 45 years ago it would have no big deal or cost to repair it and put it back in the air. But now it would be foolish to bid ion this without seeing the logbooks. Judging from the bent landing gear strut, crinkle in the firewall and the broken wood prop, it is possible that it ground looped and was parked. But perhaps not, but the possibility changes the value dramatically because of the potential for hidden damage in the wings, fuselage and engine.
    That said, because it is going to need to be completely disassembled and rebuilt anyways, it could still be parked in my hangar. I’m an A/P and these are wonderful, fun projects to work on. When complete, the result is a plane that is so delightful to fly that words really cant describe. I have many, many hours on these planes.
    Right now it is a bargain, but reserve isn’t met and who knows what they want for it. It is so much more expensive to repair these today, crazy costs for certified parts even if you do the work yourself. I would top out at $10K, perhaps $15K if the logs dont reflect damage. I’m going to contact them.

    Like 9
    • Steve P

      I agree Jay, a tail dragger that that old has surely been ground looped a a time or two. As for speed, I used to fly huskys from the factory to Oshkosh and sun n fun for display. Remember one trip I had a 50kt head wind, almost going backward, cars were passing me up😂. Wood spars and fabric can be the Achilles heel.

      Like 1
  9. Ken Cwrney

    It’s the Model T of airplanes! Simple
    construction and simple to fly. I’ll bet I
    could teach my MIL to fly this in no time
    at all. There’s an airport not far from our
    house, and I’ve seen at least one of these
    take off from there. ‘Twould be fun to have this plane as the Sun N Fun fly in is
    not all that far away in Lakeland. I recall
    they used these for those penny a pound
    airplane rides quite a bit in the late ’50s
    and through the 60s as well. What was fun was watching the crop dusters show
    off their flight skills looping and barrel
    rolling those old biplanes. I’ll bet a lot
    of pilots got their start in one of these.

    Like 4
  10. Chillywind

    This is a serious labor of love. I have owned 3 and would never take this on unless I was snowed in to the hangar and wanted to hide out. A wooden spar cub with a non flanged crank is not that desirable. You will have 50K easy in this plane without labor. as stated before you can get a near perfect one for 40K and fly today, when you are done with it, you sell it for 40K and have used it for free sans fuel and insurance.

    Its awesome to see stored in a hangar that long. I like it as antique art more than a resto project. Keep it hanging in the corner.

    Like 3
    • George Dray Member

      The FAA drops registrations if there is no response to a questionnaire after I believe 7 yrs.

      Like 0
  11. Robert

    My dad owned a brand-new one of these in the 1970s and used to keep it in the Atlantic Aviation hanger at Teterboro Airport. Since it’s a fabric aircraft, it requires being stored inside from the elements. Flying in it’s most basic element form!

    Like 2
    • GregNJ2SC

      I grew up not far from there in paramus. I forgot teterboro has the airport

      Like 0
  12. Hollywood Collier

    I have to do this before someone else does. Put an LS in it….LOL

    Like 1
  13. Edward Preusser

    I started with a J3 and my solo flight was something I’ll remember forever. I went on to fly as a career, 33 + years and now days you don’t see many but you always can hear them coming as 65 HP doesn’t result in much progress. This is a project that should be done with original configuration as a goal. Looks like this cub may be have some damage. The person who said ground loop was right but when you touch down at 40 mph not too much usually happens. Interesting project. Capt. Ed

    Like 0
  14. The one

    Thank goodness he didn’t leave it in the basement!

    Like 2
  15. Jack Quantrill

    This too, can be raised from the dead! It will fly again!

    Like 0
  16. geomechs geomechs Member

    If you were inclined to tackle a job like this you could have a lot of fun with it. Some have successfully restored fabric-covered wooden spar airplanes under the supervision of an FAA certified mechanic. I met a guy at an air show, going onto 40 years ago, who restored a ‘33 Waco that he bought was as a wreck. With the exception of the engine he did all the work himself. Good job too…

    Like 1
  17. Al

    Is it a 4sp?

    Like 1
    • BravoCharleyWindsor

      Six speed actually…

      Never Exceed Speed
      Cruise Speed
      Best Rate of Climb Speed
      Best Angle of Climb Speed
      Stall Speed
      Backwards (as per previous posts regarding strong headwinds)

      Like 0
  18. Steve P

    Ha, very good Bravo. I used to own a 1955 C170B. It was bigger, but still slow, cars passed me many a time. But, when you fly those type aircraft, you are in no hurry, it’s all about the experience.

    Like 1
    • Dave Mazz

      Steve P.
      See above post suggesting putting an LS… :-) :-)

      Like 0
      • Steve P

        I see that, now that is funny!

        Like 0
  19. Joe Haska

    My first airplane ride. A yellow J -3 ,I was hooked Fromm that moment on, I would love to own one!

    Like 0
  20. Brian M Member

    I recall a wag somewhere saying that the Piper Cub was so safe to fly that it could just barely kill you.

    Like 0
  21. LouAZ

    J-3 Cubs are TWO SEATERS. The J-5 Cub carries 3.
    Safest airplane you can fly. It can barely kill you.

    Like 0
  22. The one

    What goes up, must come down…

    Like 2
  23. Walt Winslow

    Judging just by the photo the spars are no good. Flaking of the varnish means water ingestion then freezing and flaking. Given where it resides thats a very good possibility. A flying J3 with decent paint fabric and engine could be had for 35 grand. You are looking at 25 grand alone to get this airworthy. Unless you are an A&P or know one to sign off the work.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.