What’s It Worth? 1955 Willys CJ-5 Jeep

This thing gives me the willys, just because I want it so much. The 1955 Willys CJ-5 seen here is listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $2,000 and there is no reserve. There are still four days left on the auction for this “Jeep” that’s located in Shipshewana, Indiana.

The story goes, this first-year Willys CJ-5 was found on a farm by the seller and it even comes with a title! Sometimes that isn’t the case with vehicles a decade or two newer than this one is. Kaiser gave the world the Willys CJ-5 starting in 1955 and by 1964 they were known as the Jeep CJ-5. In 1970 AMC bought the company and the CJ-5 continued until 1983.

This seller is a strong candidate for providing the “Best Photos of 2017” and we’re only two days into the year! The photos in this ad are like an art student’s project combined with a technically-proficient photography student’s thesis all at once. Very, very well done, and it really gives a potential buyer all, or most, of the visual information that they’ll need to make a decision on this “Jeep”. Some more underside photos would have been nice, but overall, you should figure out if you want this one or not from these photos, unlike a lot of sales ads.

Boing-boing! That passenger seat needs a bit of help. Actually, both seats could use some help. But, the floors look fairly solid, even if they are patched. The back looks rugged but decent, sort of like everything else on this CJ-5.

This should be the Willys F-Head “Hurricane” 140 cubic-inch inline-four with around 72 hp. It has some interesting plumbing fittings on it and no battery (?), and the seller says that it’ll need some work to make it run again. Hopefully it isn’t a major overhaul since a fairly decent, usable CJ-5 could be had for somewhere around two or three times this current auction price. Sure, a nice one is a lot more, but deals are out there; is this one of them?


  1. Howard A Member

    That’s a good question. What is it worth? Used to be, these were so common, every driveway had one. Fact is, there’s one right down the road from me, with a cab and snow plow, condition unknown ( pretty rough, sunk in the dirt a ways) and the guy wants $500, as is. This one has a hydraulic pump ( disconnected) to run what looks like a PTO and dirt plow lift in the back, so this old Jeep done some hard time in the field. Still plenty around, parts galore, so I wouldn’t pay too much, it’s still a yard toy, maybe $1,500. Thing is, nowadays, a modern ATV does everything this did, and many rural roads are opened up to ATV’s now, and they probably do a lot better than this. This one looks pretty tired.

  2. rustylink

    You’re right Howard-back in the day, it seemed every apartment complex, shopping center, gas station had a forlorn (usually rusted) CJ-5 sitting in the back with a plow blade attached for the few times it got used during the year. They were plentiful in this condition. This one will need some real TLC to get it back to a nice driver.

  3. rojo

    I have a whole yard full of CJ2A in better shape and I probably couldn’t get $1000 each. No titles but vin and tags on all. Take a bit of paper work but titling is a no brainer in Southeast Missouri and tricky but California.

  4. CJay

    There does not seem to be any major rot on this! If some one is looking to make a period correct restoration (With the pto/hyd lift arms three point hitch) farm Jeep this is a great starting point because it is complete. My guess it will go for around 3 maybe 4k.

  5. Brad C

    This thing is like a wheel of sharp cheddar – perfectly aged. I’ve had my share of scary rust-filled projects… but if this one is solid, it would be perfect for an “oily rag” approach. Get the mechanicals up to snuff, toss your trusty dog in the back, and head out for a long hike in a local forest preserve.

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    The only thing I can see with this is a full resto. But your heart would have to be in it because it wouldn’t make a good investment. Lots of them around in various stages of wear and disrepair. Not very powerful and the ride leaves lots to be desired. But they’re tough and reliable.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I agree on all counts George. As far as the power and ride comment, she is a 1955 CJ. Not a Caddy or Linc. Not built for speed or comfort. Built for around the farm or gas station. As Howard says an ATV could replace this. But for me as an old car guy I would putz around in this any day over an ATV with a huge smile on my face. She would need a topper for the Winter months. Take care, Mike. Go Pack!

  7. Mike

    This has a Farm PTO accessory package to it, back in the 50’s you could buy one of these with a 3 point plow and cultivator attachment for it, they worked real good in areas that a tractor would get hung up, and being 4 wheel drive they were sometime easy to get unstuck. I have also seen them I remember seeing one in SE Missouri on a farm near my Grandfather, of course by this time 70’s they were very well out dated. I think he would use it for plowing gardens and such.

  8. Todd Zuercher

    Love it. Surprised it’s not rusted to bits since it’s from Shipshewana. Fix what’s needed and drive it. You’ll be upside down with a full resto.

  9. Rickyrover

    $800 tops…..and it’s already gone $2k past that, people are crazy…..here’s mine found in a Tucson horse corral, paid $1600, rust, patina and all….added new brakes, tires and battery, done. (and it came with 2 seats)

    Like 3
    • Rickyrover


      • sp8z

        It’s too old but not old enough, we had a couple of WWII surplus models at the scout camp where I worked in the summers while I was in high school in the early 60s. The were unbelievable, couldn’t stop them. A friend of mine got one in a surplus sale for $75 he had to show up with a flatbed truck because it was totally packed in a huge wooden crate packed in tarpaper and cosmoline grease, what a mess.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member


  10. Bill Hart

    Kind of a mix:
    Cowl-top battery well, exterior fuel fill, snorkle hole in hood, top bow pockets on sides say a M38A1, but missing antenna base well on right side.

  11. Rustytech Member

    If you could find any Cj up here in the north east that wasn’t rusted into the ground you’d pay more than the asking price here. Yea there are atv’s that could do the same thing this could do but THERE NOT JEEPS.

  12. cyclemikey

    Yeah, there USED TO be CJ-5s all over the place. Key words: Used To Be. There used to be 911S Porsches all over the place for 10K, too.

    Fact is, there aren’t a lot of early CJs around anymore, and this one looks reasonably solid. It’s definitely collectible as a first-year CJ-5. Who said that it has to be fully restored? This is a really good do-it-yourself fixer-up project, and it’s easily worth the 2800 it’s bid to. It will probably go higher by the end, I’d guess.

  13. chad

    Y fix it up?
    the rear set up goes 4 $800 round here.
    I could use that. Don’t care bout da rest…

  14. Rob j Member

    I bought a CJ-5 that looked similar, maybe even a little better than this one last year for $2500. It looked better but everything, I mean everything was worn out. I started fixing this, then might as well fix that, oh and this is about to break, until I ended up here;

  15. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The old girl sold for $3,150. 14 bids.

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