There are many contributing factors to building a successful off-road toy. For most, the budget it the biggest. Bill Kreisel of Folsom, California, was in the middle of building a trophy truck, but progress was slow and he got bored. When Bill got bored and the new race truck was draining his budget, he got creative.
It all started with a rusted out ’47 Willys CJ-2A tub. With no chassis under it, Bill had to figure out what he wanted to do. He quickly found a great deal on a DJ-5 mail Jeep and liberated the chassis and running gear from it. “The marriage of the two was surprisingly easy,” Bill explained. “The frame width and mounting positions are almost identical.” He even kept the right-hand-drive arrangement.
To make enough room for the postal Jeep’s 258ci six-cylinder, he mounted a GPW grille 4 inches farther out and stretched the hood to match. The body of the Jeep had lots of rust, but Bill was good with that. He welded in tube substructure places where the panels had turned into Swiss cheese. To get to the patina Bill wanted, all the paint and body filler was sanded off. He then washed it with acid and had a three-day-long salt water spray done. Once the finish was to his liking, he coated it with PPG-2042 clear coat.
Bill kept the stock AMC postal powerplant (4.2L I-6) under the hood, and it is backed up by a TorqueFlite 727 automatic transmission. The stock driveshaft runs to a Dana 44 rear axle loaded with a PowerLoc and 3.08 gear set. The front suspension was left mostly stock while the rear was dropped about 4 inches, and the factory mail Jeep drum brakes were retained at all four corners.
Why This JeepWe found this little two-wheel drive Willys at King of The Hammers, and it bombed around pretty well. The ’47 CJ-2A on a mid-’80s postal frame is light and nimble, fun to wheel, and cheap. Bill said he has less than $1,000 into it, not including the wheels and tires.
Vehicle: ’47 Willys CJ-2AChassis: ’80s DJ-5 Mail Jeep
Engine: 4.2L I-6
Transmission: TorqueFlite 727
Transfer Case: N/A
Suspension: Stock leafs (front), spring-under rear with custom leaf springs (rear), and Monroe shocks all around
Axles: Two-wheel drive beam with stock outers and drum brakes (front), Dana 44 with PowerLoc and 3.08 gears
Wheels: Pro Comp Steelies
Tires: General 31x1050R15