Preserve or Restore: 1947 Willys-Overland Jeep CJ-2A

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The Willys-Overland Jeep CJ-2A emerged in 1945, remaining in production until 1949. Although it wasn’t the best weapon for long-distance touring, its four-wheel-drive capabilities made it an accomplished off-road performer. They remain a strong performer in the classic market, with spotless examples commanding healthy sale prices. This 1947 model requires TLC but is an essentially solid and unmolested classic. The buyer could address its rust issues while preserving its survivor status, although it could be a prime candidate for a faithful restoration. The Jeep is listed here on eBay in Grangeville, Idaho. Bidding sits below the reserve at $4,251.

The exterior shots provided by the seller aren’t great, but they show the Jeep’s existing Red paint is pretty tired. However, if the successful bidder wished to preserve its appearance, that is a valid approach. The bigger wheels and tires are a later addition, but reversing that change would be easy. The glass is crack-free, with the windshield folding down as it should. That brings us to the subject of rust, and there is a bit to consider. The seller admits it is present in the floor and hat channel area of the toolbox and the hat channel on the driver’s side. The remaining floors are sound, but there is added bracing on the front frame horns. The seller says the buyer may wish to remove this and perform repairs that would look better, but it probably justifies an in-person inspection to assess what is required. However, this Jeep could be an excellent hands-on restoration project if it isn’t structurally compromised.

Powering the Jeep is a 134ci flathead four-cylinder engine that sends 60hp and 105 ft/lbs of torque to the road via a three-speed manual transmission and a dual-range transfer case. Although the power and torque figures don’t sound impressive, they are delivered low in the engine’s rev range. That makes the vehicle extremely flexible, allowing it to crawl over harsh terrain with the motor barely ticking over. The seller states the engine isn’t original, and the electrical system has been upgraded to 12 volts. However, it runs and drives well and is a turnkey proposition for its new owner.

Life inside a CJ-2A is not luxurious, representing motoring at its most basic. It could prove a rude shock for those raised on a diet of leather or cloth seating, power everything, air conditioning, and a blasting stereo. The new owner won’t receive a heater, which would be pretty useless under the circumstances. However, the windshield swings out to provide a wind in the hair (and face!) motoring experience. The seat upholstery looks extremely nice, with no wear or other issues. The dash features additional gauges, and the painted surfaces are in a similar state to the exterior. However, like the exterior, the buyer could preserve everything if they wanted to cultivate the “survivor” look.

Buyers must like what they see with this 1947 Jeep CJ-2A because it has already attracted twenty-six bids. It remains short of the reserve, although time remains on the listing for the situation to change. It needs work to present at its best, but a meticulous restoration could see it command a value of more than $25,000. The rust issues are a concern, and it could be worth negotiating an in-person inspection to assess the extent of the problems. It could be an ideal first or DIY project if they aren’t severe. People like what they see with this classic, but do you?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Could be a good one. Found out after buying our ’42 that taking the body off the frame is pretty easy and would make repairing the frame a relative piece of cake. Hope that happens to this one.

    Like 5
    • Rw

      Bob everything is easy ,that’ was it’s purpose.

      Like 5
  2. DavidH

    I like it just the way it sits. I would be hard pressed to change the overall appearance right away. I could see driving it as is until, sometime in the future when I felt like it was time for a face lift.

    Like 3
  3. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Leave it as is-this is perfect for meandering through the sagebrush on some obscure desert mountain road..a spool of baling wire, a stick of chewing gum and a roll of gorilla tape would be all the tool kit you’d need.

    BTW, Adam-I’ll be the first one today to ask what is a “hat channel””? Never heard that phrase until now.

    Like 5
    • John

      Hat channels are the metal upside-down hat shaped reinforcements under the floors to provide strength. MBs and CJ2As had oak in many of them for additional stiffening without adding a ton of weight. they all rust, but there are available suitable replacements

      Like 4
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Cool real Jeep. I would fix the rust spots. Clean the body maybe wax the paint to see how it looks. I would leave it the way it is. Why? Once you paint it…..It will not go off road to ruin the paint job! 😂 This is a Jeep to drive and have fun. Also would install a heater for the feet for those cool mornings. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 6
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      Thumbs up on the heater. Didn’t have one in the ’42 so plowing snow in the north west portion of the southern part of Michigan was a little crispy. Glad to have had the full hard top.

      Like 4
  5. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    I agree, a great find at a PLAUSIBLE price. It’s what these should go for. Again, it’s all about use. For off road, mending fences in the lower 4000, what this was and SHOULD be used for,,a modern ATV does much more. I know, where’s the fun in that? Big Bear mentions a heater,,I think as time has passes, and the lack of interaction with these, one might be surprised, as mentioned, just how basic they really are. The further north you got, out came the innovations, and a cab of some sort was mandatory. Even then, a heater was still a luxury. What’s attractive here, is what it is. I don’t know about you or where you live, but here in the Rockies, ATVs are very popular. They are fun, I’ll admit, but are annoying, loud, ruin the trails, and general lack of respect that usually follows that crowd. The officials look the other way, as they bring in a ton of money.
    Now, there’s a group of Jeep nuts here that have, oh, I’d say 20 restored military and most other Jeeps( no Rubicons) and have outings,and once, back in the hills, they were on a “putt”. I watched them go by, thumbs up,, American flags a wavin’,,,IDK, for some reason, made me darned proud I’m an American and drive a Jeep to prove it. I should look into that group. Great find, I wouldn’t dawdle on this one.

    Like 3
  6. cmarvMember

    I have a rust free one owner 46 CJ2A in my building , I bought it at an estate sale last year . 20k original miles , running and driving great . I payed more than I wanted to , but it was just so cool . It came with a snow plow set up with it new but was never installed , the plow is lifted with a hand operated hydraulic pump lever out front and you angle it by “Armstrong” power . Just a simple , cool ,tough as nails piece of automotive history . This is a nice one (not as nice as mine) and I’ll be watching to see the outcome of the listing .

    Like 2
  7. Clipper

    Fix the rust and leave it pretty much as-is! Add a full canvas set and a heater if you’ll be using it in winter months. A heat plug on top of the cylinder head helps it crank easier in winter (though you already have the 12V conversion, so that’s shouldn’t be too bad anyway).
    Hope the seller is close to the reserve, the price is about where it needs to be right now (at $6500). GLWTS!

    Like 1
  8. FordFixerMember

    I have a 48, stock except for 12 volt. It has a heater. a plug in motor heater, a fabric top, towbar, and no rust. Have had trouble with the carb, but all in all a fun ride. ( also have a 57 3B with a V6 and Warn overdrive ) fun summer rigs.

    Like 2
  9. Flapjack

    I have a 47 CJ 2a, runs good but needs some TLC. Looking to get rid of it, cool vehicle for someone with property or farm to ride around.

    Like 0

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