Roy Roger’s Nellybelle II: 1946 Jeep CJ2A

Fans of Bonanza, The Rifleman and Have Gun Will Travel—50s western TV shows all—will probably be aware that The Roy Rogers Show was set in modern times. So while Roy rode a golden Palamino named Trigger, his sidekick (Pat Brady) owned a sometimes wayward and temperamental Jeep named Nellybelle. The car even makes it into the show’s opening credits.

This 1946 CJ2A Jeep known as Nellybelle II—which lived in the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri for many years—is now for sale here on eBay in Cave Creek, Arizona with a $29,500 Buy It Now. Museum cars often look good but haven’t moved or been serviced in decades. Nellybelle II is in better shape than that, and the owner says, “This Jeep runs and drives great around town, has a fresh service, new battery, and good brakes… It would certainly be the pinnacle of any Roy Rogers or western collection.”

These vehicles are pretty simple—and are civilian versions of the tough-as-nails General Purpose haulers that saw service in World War II. The Willys-Overland CJ-2A was first produced in 1945, and more than 214,000 were built.

Changes from the military Jeep are larger, flush-mounted headlights and a seven-slot grille (the earlier one had nine slots). The “Go Devil” four-cylinder engine was retained, but there was a new T-90 manual transmission. The Jeep on offer looks to be mostly stock CJ-2A, with the exception of that added bodywork. It has the optional rear seat, and a tow ball. It’s hard to tell if the first owner coughed up for the wipers, because the windshield is folded down in the photos. The CJ-2A was replaced by the CJ-3A in 1949.

The Jeep, which has unusual bodywork around the cabin that makes it look something like a mobile gunship, appears clean from every angle, and the battleship gray paint looks recent and shiny. The basic interior is complete and definitely serviceable, with what looks like new upholstery. Unless I miss my guess you could start using it immediately.  The engine bay could use a good cleaning, but reportedly does the job.

The provenance of Pat Brady’s Jeep doesn’t seem to be in question, but it only proves the car was once on display. “It comes with all the documents and certificates of authenticity, plus the original museum title signed by Roy Rogers Jr.,” the vendor says. “This is a very well-known and documented Jeep that thousands of people have seen in the museum.”

But was this Nellybelle II actually used on the show? The vendor doesn’t say, but it’s worth asking. An original Nellybelle (without the II) was left stranded when the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum closed in 2009. That car was sold at auction for $116,500 in 2010, and then again for $38,400 in 2018. So this may be a second car from the show (the producers probably built several of them), but bidders should clarify matters.

One hundred episodes of the 30-minute Roy Rogers Show were broadcast on CBS between 1951 and 1957. Eager consumers also snapped up two million copies of the comic books, and there was a syndicated strip, too. Perhaps memories of the show are now fading, but Nellybelle II is still a hell of a conversation piece. There’s even a song about Nellybelle, credited to Pat Brady and the Sons of the Pioneers. The gist seems to be that the original Nellybelle was an ornery horse, and the Jeep is a more civilized way of getting around. What would you do with this TV car? Use it, or put it on display?

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Comments

  1. Danny L Almashy

    Is this a copy of the original driven in the movies or is it the original and why is it called #2?

    2
    • Michael D Coit

      This is a copy. I own the original.

      5
  2. angliagt

    What kid of the ’50’s doesn’t remember that show?
    That said,this is cool,but not $29,500 cool.
    “Happy Trails” to you.

    8
  3. Had Two

    This same vehicle was in Seaside, CA last August at the Concourse d’Lemons.
    It had a Roy Rogers lunchbox displayed on the hood. Fun to see.
    Here’s the You Tube link to the event;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcBLKaPIjrQ

    However, Nellybelle must’ve arrived late as I do not see it featured in the video.

    5
    • Howard Kerr

      I am not 70+ but remember watching Roy Rogers and Sky King on saturday mornings.
      I will admit Nellybelle was probably why I watched, any while my memories are fuzzy…this only looks VAGUELY similar to the original NB.
      For starters, that trailer hitch on the back looks kind of slapdash, as do the doors and whatever those things are in the backseat area.

      1
  4. DanaPointJohn

    The provenance of Roy Rogers is lost on anyone under the age of sixty. Then, you need to find someone that feels this Jeep has added value because of it being associated with Rogers. This probably leaves about ten people. Getting anywhere close to $29,500 will be a challenge.

    8
  5. Classic Steel

    Who is Roy? Was he Daniel Boone or Hoss From ponderosa ? 😉
    Maybe played Jon Voigt with a lebaron convertible ? Did his horse talk on that old tv show?

    Nice to see the numbers come tumbling down to allow non elite buy some leftovers..
    Oh that guy
    I did pretty good for a guy who never finished high school and used to yodel at square dances.
    Roy Rogers

  6. FordGuy1972

    Westerns were probably the most popular TV shows in the 1950’s and if you watched them as a kid, you’re now in your seventies, at least. Roy Rogers was very popular back then but these days, unless you’re a fan, you’ve never heard of Pat Brady and his Jeep. The fact that the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum closed in 2009 tells you the interest in that era is fading fast because the kids who grew up with those shows are dying off.

    Maybe the seller will get close to the selling price, a long-time fan may step up. In any event………………….Happy Trails to you.

    5
  7. IkeyHeyman Member

    I used to watch the show as a kid, but this is not the “real” Nellybelle, it’s a clone that sat in a museum for years. If it starts, drives, and stops, it’s a $10,000 Jeep in my opinion, even factoring in the tenuous Rogers connection.

    8
  8. lbpa18

    There have been documented cases of counterfeits as well so any prospective buyer should do his homework.

  9. mtshootist1

    I had a pedal car nellybelle jeep when I was growing up,in the early 1950s I think it is still on the iron pile out at the ranch. I should go check next time I’m down there. It was grey, and had Nellybelle printed across the sides, with red wheels. Maybe I could get the pickers to give me big money!

    4
  10. Lance G Nord

    “Who’s Roy Rogers?” Unfortunately, there are very few people younger than 60 that recognize that name, therefore the value suffers significantly. A pair of Cardi B or Nicki Minaj’s dirty underwear probably holds more value. This jeep is really a white elephant… even if you could buy it for the right price, could you ever really enjoy it as a driver given the provenance?

  11. Bullethead

    Apparently, the original sold a decade ago for a remarkable sum:

    https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/nellybelle-5338180-details.aspx

    Of course, ten years ago flush Roy Rogers fans were just turning 60 and could indulge in such a toy.

    Today it’s a truly tiny target audience and this one isn’t accurate in the details, so it’s just another old CJ-2A with mods. Let’s call it good to excellent (being generous) and worth maybe $10-16,000.

    1
  12. Michael Ridley

    this is not the TV jeep. Several ways to tell the one used in the actual show. Replica made for the museum. worth just a little more than what it would cost to replicate.

    1
  13. ROH

    Park it in front of a Roy Rogers fast food joint. I’m sure that is what most people, under 60, think of Roy Rogers. Home of the fast food roast beef sandwich. Sorry. What’s with the body mods? Strange looking !

  14. John Member

    For $30K it would be the pinnacle of my foolish purchases!

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