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Jeep CJ-3A - Vintage Vault

Posted in Features on June 24, 2014
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Photographers: Eric Rickman

Last time in Vintage Vault land we showed you pictures of a Military Flattie with a Ford small-block V-8 swapped between the ’rails. Well, Source Interlink Media’s vast archives don’t discriminate much and so while we were thumbing through we came across this much more street-based flattie that also carries a little surprise between its front tires. These images, shot in 1967 by Eric Rickman for Hot Rod, were in a folder labeled “Barnow Willys Jeep with Corvette Fuelie Engine.” The Jeep’s builder seems to have been Chuck Barnow, known from his time spent with Fiasco Automotive and later for swapping Chevy engines into Rolls-Royces. Our source (Bill Holland also of Fiasco Automotive fame) tells us that Barnow also worked at Schonlaw Chevrolet in Hollywood. It seems that the Jeep was owned by Ted Schonlaw (we’ve heard he still owns it!) and built at the dealership by Barnow. Whatever the story it’s a clean Jeep and we wanted to show it to you in these previously unpublished images.

Posing for the Camera
Here in another photo by Rickman we can see enough clues to get a pretty good idea that this Jeep is a CJ-3A. The windshield is definitely from a ’3A and the Willys-stamped hood is also civilian. You can also see the tailgate, chromed factory steps, exhaust, and check out those early Warn Locking Hubs on the front axle. The rear axle looks to have two-piece shafts – we wonder how long they lasted with all that Vette power. Behind the wheel is Chuck Barnow himself.

It’s Mechanical
Here is a clear shot of the fuelie showing how it tucked fairly cleanly into the Jeep CJ-3A’s engine compartment with a little trimming of the rain gutter at the front of the tub to clear the mechanical Rochester fuel injection. Like with the Ford small-block swap from last time, we see a Corvette radiator and purge tank. How about that big ol’ alternator? We are guessing the firewall had to be notched for the Chevy distributor cap. That would make any distributor-based timing work fun, fun, fun.

In this image by Rickman we can see a bit more of how the engine is tucked between the Jeep CJ-3A fenders. Also, check out the ribs on those 11.00x15 Armstrong farm implement tires that were very popular for sand use back in the day. Apparently most would groove these tires across the tread. Between that, the large size, and multi-ply construction, these were some of the first custom off-road tires according to our pal Earl Colton from Statewide 4-Wheel Drive Supply in Phoenix, AZ. Dig it!

In this image we can see that most of the steering and front suspension of the Jeep CJ-3A remains stock. Ross cam-and-lever steering? Check. Stock shocks and springs? Yep. Also, check out that chrome bumper. Sharp eyes will notice the backs of some big brakes filling the 15-inch wheels. Nice upgrade. How about that early steering stabilizer? It looks like the unboxed frame horns have something bolted into them – maybe some sort of winch mounting plate mounts?

Plush Interior
Here we can see a bit more of the interior of the Jeep CJ-3A. Check out the extra gauges added in a near factory manner. We’re betting the big one is a tach. Also, check out those buckets and steering column. Corvette flags on the horn button indicate that the wheel and column are also borrowed from a Vette. What about the seats? We’d bet they are Corvette also. Also see the lever for an Overdrive. Must have been an early one! Lastly, who needs floor mats when you have diamond-plate floor cladding?

That is one large battery from Delco. Aluminum diamond plate was used to make a battery box with a small toolbox beside it in the back of the flattie. We spy a fire extinguisher in there. Maybe having the extinguisher a bit closer to the driver would have been advisable with that monster engine.

Interior Part II
In this slightly different view of the Jeep CJ-3A interior we can see more of the chrome goodies, a clean toolbox, and a gas tank. Also, check out the interesting seat mount. Two lengths of tubing span the width of the tub supporting the seats and sliders. It looks like both tubes mount to the wall of the tub with added strength coming from a center support.

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