My 1947 Willys CJ2A
This is my 1947 Willys CJ2A. When I purchased it (out of state), it was
actually titled as a 1948 for some reason, but
the serial number shows that it is actually a very early 1947. (It was
around the 200th or so CJ2A to be built in 1947, out of a total of
approximately 65,000 for that year.) I was somewhat concerned about that,
and brought some information printed out from the web to the DMV when I
went to register it. (I also had Jim Allen's book on order which shows
the production info but hadn't received it by that time. I figured I'd give it a
shot anyway.) It turned out to be a non-issue. I had filled out the paperwork
and applied for insurance
as a 1947, and when the person behind the counter was processing it, they
noticed the out of state title which showed it as a 1948. I said "Yes,
that's incorrect - the VIN shows it as being a 1947". She punched a couple
of keys on the computer and confirmed that yes, it should indeed be a 1947,
so now its titled correctly. I didn't even need to use my supporting
The CJ2A is the civilian version of the
famous WWII Jeep (known as the MB) from which the term "Jeep" was coined.
Of course, there were no new vehicles
available during the war, so the civilian versions were first produced in July
of 1945 (2 months after V-E day and 1 month *before* V-J day!), with production ending sometime in 1949. Other models such as the CJ3A and CJ3B continued the lineage
which can be traced right to the present day TJ (Wrangler). As far as Jeeps
go though, this body style is the absolute earliest a civilian could purchase.
Although the civilian and military versions are not identical, there are more
similarities than differences. (For more information about the Willys CJ2A, please check out
The CJ2A Page.)
As you can see, this particular CJ2A has been painted in military colors,
and is equipped with military tires.
This was done by the previous owner who used it in parades. I think its
pretty neat, so I plan to leave it that way. The body is in decent shape,
I guess. Its kinda
hard to say since I am a relative newcomer to these Jeeps. I have seen
some really trashed CJ2As out there, and there are also some pristine,
restored examples. This particular jeep has obviously been hacked on
over the years, although sometimes its hard to tell wether something
has been altered somewhere along the line or if its just 1940s technology.
I am doing my best
to correct the jerry rigs and cheezy hacks as I come across them.
These Jeeps were powered by 4 cylinder flathead known as the
"Go Devil". (60hp at 4,000 RPM, 105 lb-ft at 2,000 RPM) However, this
particular Jeep is powered by a 1972 Ford EAO engine.
It is an overhead cam inline four displacing 122ci (2.0L) and produces
86hp and 103 lb-ft of torque. This engine was made in Germany and used in
many European Ford vehicles, and also exported to the US for use in the
Capri and Pinto. This was apparently a somewhat popular swap for these
vehicles, as there is an aftermarket adapter you can purchase to make
I don't have
any particular fondness for Fords in general, and I certainly wouldn't
have done this swap myself, but as long as the motor continues to run, I plan
to leave it alone. (I'm not sure when the swap was done; it had been done
before the previous owner acquired the vehicle, which would put it sometime
between 1974 through 2000 or so.) Although I must admit that it is somewhat
embarrasing to have to admit to having a Ford under the hood,
I plan to give it the opportunity to
prove itself. Ford did make a version of this vehicle (known as the GPW)
for the war effort after all, so there is a shaky bloodline of
If the motor gives me trouble, I will either look for an
original engine or another idea kicking around in my brain is to drop
in a fuel injected V6 Magnum from a Dodge Dakota, Ram or van or more
probably a 2.5L I-4 from a Jeep or Dakota. I don't
purchase my vehicles to show or as an investment, I buy them to use and
enjoy, so in some ways a modern engine fits better for my needs,
but there is something pretty neat about the thought of having an
original 60 year old motor purring away under the hood...
Except for the engine, the remainder of the drivetrain is correct for
- The transmission is a Borg-Warner T-90A1. This is a 3 speed manual, floor
shifted transmission with a first gear of 2.98:1, second gear of 1.66:1, and
a 1:1 third.
- The transfer case is a Dana/Spicer 18. This is a twin stick, gear driven transfer case, and in this particular series of CJ2As, is known as the "third generation Dana 18" which has a 26 tooth input gear, 1 1/8" intermediate shaft, and 2.42:1 low range. Produced from 1941 to 1971, this transfer case is known for its strength, reliability, and ease of maintenance. Because both outputs are in an oil bath, it can be flat towed when placed into neutral with the transmission in top gear. It has the capability of running a PTO (although my Jeep isn't equipped
- The front axle is a Dana 25. This uses a 7.75" ring gear, available in ratios of
4.27, 4.88, 5.38, and 6.17. I used the tire spin test to determine that this Jeep is
equipped with 5.38s. Not surprising I guess, since this is the stock ratio for
this vehicle. One deviation from stock here is the presence of Dualmatic locking
- The rear axle is a Dana 41. This uses a ring gear similar in size to the Dana 44 (8.5").
Like the front axle, obviously it too has 5.38s.
For those who are into that sort of thing, the trans, transfer case and
gears give this Jeep a crawl ratio of around 38.8:1, which is actually
about the same as most modern stock Jeeps and Dodges. I had figured the crawl
ratio would be pretty impressive on these old Jeeps to make up for the
weaker engines, but apparently not. Despite the impressive 5.38s in the
diffs, the (relatively) tall transfer case and first gear ratios conspire
to knock that down a bit. Oh well, should be plenty for what I need; I'm
certainly not planning on doing any rock crawling with it!
With a top speed of around 45mph, this is certainly no highway cruiser,
but then again its not intended to be. I plan to use this for running
around the fields and woods and also to take to the occasional car show,
etc. My plans for this one are to basically leave it alone
to retain its original appearance, and do repairs/upgrades as needed.
The biggest thing that I can forsee is a possible engine swap, but again,
this won't happen unless the current motor decides to overstay its welcome.
The only other "major" mod that I might forsee undertaking is installing
an overdrive unit in the transfer case, should I stumble across one for
a very good price. That would give me the ability to split gears and
give me a bit more speed on the highway.
The links to the left will provide you with more information about my CJ2A
and some of the modifications I have performed. I hope this page is of some help
to you and your own vehicle!