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May 2012 Trail's End Editorial

Posted in Features on May 1, 2012
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Eleven years ago in the Sept. ’01 issue of Four Wheeler we ran a story entitled “Treasure in a Barn” about a ’46 Jeep CJ-2A. As the title implies, the story revolved around a classic old rig that was an honest-to-goodness “barn find.”

The CJ-2A was Willys’ answer to a problem. They had ramped up production during World War II, but when the war ended the company had plenty of production capability but few buyers. The answer was to create a civilian Jeep (hence the CJ moniker) and one of the plans was to market it as a fully functional farm implement. Like the Model MB military Jeep, the CJ-2A had a split windshield, durable 134ci four-cylinder engine, and basic military-type gauges. The CJ-2A differed from the MB with its surface-mounted headlights, tailgate, side-mounted spare tire, later production Spicer 41-2 rear axle, and T-90 transmission, among other things. It featured a draw bar so it was capable of pulling implements like plows, harrows, discs, and rakes. Another feature was a front or rear power take-off (PTO) system, which gave the machine the ability to act as a power source for operating a variety of equipment from winches to generators.

The CJ-2A in our story (which you can read about at was in rough condition when it was found with some dents, dings, and rust, but it was intact. Under the hood was the correct four-cylinder engine and the only upgrade appeared to be the addition of an electric fuel pump. Inside, the seats were ripped and worn, but most everything including the factory gauges and steering wheel was also intact. As a bonus, this particular CJ-2A was outfitted with a rear PTO setup, and it worked.

The Jeep was purchased by then-12-year-old Andrew Pappas and his intention was to restore the machine so he could have a car when he got older. When the story was written, Pappas regularly drove the vehicle around his grandfather’s farm. We can’t help but wonder how the project turned out. Pappas should be 23 years old now and we imagine him driving the restored Jeep that he rescued from a barn long ago.

Which leads us to this question: Have you come across a rare barn find? Have you found and purchased an old 4x4 that had been tucked away and forgotten? Or maybe it was sitting next to, or behind, the barn. If you’ve rescued an old rig, email a photo of it to and tell us a little about how it went down.

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