After serving dutifully in every role that the military asked it to serve, the Jeep came home a war hero just like the soldiers that operated them in all the varied theaters of WWII. The pluggy little 60hp rig was good in the mud, it was good in the sand, it could be used to run generators, saws, plows, carry recoilless rifles, and generally act as a Swiss Army Knife on four wheels. No, they were not good long distance traveling vehicles with their spartan seats and passenger compartment, but when the object was to live from point at to point b, not luxuriate, the Jeep was perfect.
The Jeeps’ true renaissance began in the waning days of the war when company officials at Willys were starting to try and plan out what the post WWII automotive industry would look like. They ventured the correct guess that their trusty little warrior truck would adapt well to the needs of people like farmers, to the adventuresome spirit of people who liked to hit the woods for camping and fishing, and to municipalities that needed small trucks to do jobs like plowing snow and maintenance.
This 1948 CJ-2A is a perfect representation of the not too post-war Jeeps. The CJ stood for Civilian Jeep and there were subtle styling differenced between it and the MB military versions. The headlights in the CJ kind of bulged out and the CJ had a seven slot grill instead of the nine slot that fronted the MB. 214,000 of these Jeeps were built and as the country inched further and further away from the war more colors became available, more options became available, and the Jeep established itself as one of America’s most iconic machines.
I’m in love with this rig and have been eyeballing a bunch of early Jeeps for my next project. This one is not cheap but the thing appears to be mint in every direction and it would be a fun thing to rip around down in (OK…shuffle) and take wheeling on the weekends. Hmmmmmmm.