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1951 Willys Jeep - Way Cool Willys

Posted in Features on December 1, 2003
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Upon first glance, many Jeep enthusiasts say to themselves, "I have to have one of these cool little Willys." At least that's what Brent Burton said at 8 years old when he found this '51 CJ-3A sitting in a used car lot just itching to be restored. Over the years, Brent and his father Ron Burton took a little bit of the old, mixed it with a little bit of the new, and created a vehicle with a whole lot of the right stuff.

We don't know what the pintsize Jeeper actually did to the Willys at such a young age, but we can sure tell you about the results. Brent and his father have transformed this little flatfender into one of the cleanest and most capable Willys we've seen.

At some point, the original suspension was removed from the vehicle, making way for the latest in axle and suspension technology. The rear axle was built by Mark Williams Enterprises and is a high-pinion Dana 44; it was fit with an ARB Air Locker and geared to 4:56. The front axle is also a high-pinion Dana 44 axle with 4:56 gears and an ARB Air Locker. Sway-A-Way 16-inch coilover shocks were mounted on the front. For the rear suspension, a spring-over conversion was completed using Old Man Emu leaf springs and Tera Flex Revolver shackles, and Rancho RS9000 shocks soften the ride. After the suspension conversion, there was more than enough underneath to get a set of 18/35-15LT TSL Super Swamper Boggers wrapped over 15x10-inch OMF bead locks. The complete suspension conversion was fabricated and installed by the father and son team.

The original 134ci engine had some problems spinning the 35-inch tires and pushing the little flattie where Brent had plans for it to go, so he swapped the four-cylinder flathead out in favor of a 4.3L Vortec V-6 powerplant. A GM 4L60 transmission fit with a B&M shift kit transfers the power to an NP233 transfer case with electronic shift. Custom driveshafts were built by none other than Tom Wood.

As you can see, the detail work and interior received quite a bit of attention during the restoration. Auto Meter white-faced gauges were mounted on the custom-built center console. A set of comfortable Super Seats from Steel Horse were fitted inside to keep Brent, his wife Amanda, and their son Kyler comfortable while out on adventures. For trail safety and protection, Brent and his father custom-built the rollcage. Another unique feature is the larger front windshield also created by Brent and Ron.

Starting younger than most Jeepers, Brent clearly knew what he wanted as a young lad, and with the help of his father, he was able to restore and build a super-clean and functional '51 Willys CJ-3A. Now that Brent is quite a bit older and a father himself, we feel he will make a great dad, and we can't wait to see his son Kyler's restored Willys in the years to come.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown: Brent and Amanda
Burton/Colstrip, {{{Montana}}}
Year/make/model: '51 Jeep Willys CJ-3A
Engine: 4.3L Vortec V-6
Transmission: GM 4L60
Transfer case: NP233
Frontend: Dana 44 with ARB
Air Locker
Rearend: Dana 44 with ARB
Air Locker
Ring-and-pinion: 4.56
Suspension: Sway-A-Way coilovers
up front/Old Man Emu
leaf springs in the
rear with Rancho
Wheels/tires: 15x10-inch OMF bead
locks/18/35-15LT TSL
Super Swamper Boggers

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