A Resto Down UnderMartin Coates of Newcastle, Australia, says he’s been reading Jp Magazine since the first issue. The story of his CJ-3B is one we’ll let you read in his own words.
“I’ve loved Jeeps for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I spent hours in Jeeps exploring the dunes and shoreline at the northern end of Stockton beach where my parents had a small holiday house. We used my older brother Trevor’s Jeeps to launch fishing boats or to travel down to our beach fishing spots. He owned several Willys MBs and a Kaiser-era CJ-6. He also restored a Willys CJ-3B, and is the person to blame (or thank) for my Jeep obsession. I’ve owned a CJ-5, ZJ, WJ, TJ, two JK Unlimited Rubicons, and a Cherokee KL Trailhawk. But, there was still one Jeep itch I needed to scratch—I wanted to own a Willys.
“In 2010, I began looking to find one that wasn’t too far from where I live in Newcastle. I didn’t have a large budget or much mechanical experience, but this restoration was going to be about the journey—not just the destination. In early 2011, I found a CJ-3B which had spent its last 20 years on a farm in the upper Hunter Valley, around 150 kilometers from my home. It was rough, but seemed reasonable and the price was right, so I brought it home. The speedo and data plates were missing, so I didn’t know its age or mileage and the previous owner didn’t know either. With information from the CJ-3B website cj3b.info, I started disassembling and buying parts—the learning had begun.
“I bought tools, a manual, and started with the chassis, axles, brakes, and suspension. My intention was just to make it driveable, but the ‘bug’ bit me hard and next thing I was removing the body and having it sandblasted. I bought a MIG welder and tried to patch up the old body for months, but the metal was so brittle, and my welding skills so poor, it would just burn away. Finally, after showing the tub to Neil at Marathon Spares in Tamworth and discussing the costs involved to restore it, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a replacement tub. I wanted a classic looking Willys with skinny tires and a side-mounted spare.
“As time and budget allowed, I worked on my 3B in the garage (thanks to my patient wife) and progressively built my knowledge, innovated fixes, and inched closer to my goal. I found a good local panel beater/spray painter who ‘got’ what I was trying to achieve and settled on a color. With the engine, driveline, and transmission checked, cleaned, and painted, the MD Juan tub was fitted to the chassis with only minor adjustments required.
“I bought and fitted a wiring harness and had the seats upholstered in red. I refurbished the original Ross cam and lever steering system, fitted a new alternator, radiator, carburetor, and starter motor. After nearly five years of work, my Willys was finally roadworthy, checked by an engineer and registered for road use under the new NSW historical vehicle scheme. Since then, I have made numerous adjustments and tweaks. With each one it just seems to be getting better. I don’t know if it will ever be truly finished. It still deserves a top, a winch, and at least one locker. Sadly, my brother passed away in 2000 at age 52 from cancer, so he never got to see my 3B. So, to keep his memory alive, I named my Jeep ‘Trevor’ in honor of him.”