The Jeep CJ was known for its unparalleled durability, especially during World War II and the Korean War. The CJ model was originally marketed towards the farming and construction industries as a lightweight, working vehicle. However, its impressive performance soon lifted it into the general buyer's market, and it quickly gained popularity with those in suburban areas despite its military appearance. The CJ series remained a popular vehicle up until production ceased in 1986.
During World War II, the Army was searching for a light reconnaissance vehicle to assist them in their war efforts. Ford, American Bantam Car Manufacturing Co. and Willys-Overland fought for the contract, with Willys-Overland eventually winning with the Willys Quad. The success of the Willys Quad led to its eventual expansion into the civilian market, once victory was in sight. The original CJ-2A was advertised towards farmers and construction workers, but it was not contained to these demographics for long. Overland sold the company to Henry J. Kaiser in 1953, who then sold it to American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1970. AMC continued domestic production of the CJ model until 1986. Chrysler eventually bought the Jeep franchise in 1987, and remains the sole manufacturer of the model today.
The Jeep CJ (previously known as the Willys CJ) is a civilian version of the Willys Military Jeep that was used in World War II. The first CJ model was released in 1944, and the body style remained in production under several different names, manufacturers, and variations up until 1986. The last CJ models in production, the CJ-7 and CJ-8, were eventually replaced by the popular Jeep Wrangler in 1987.
The CJ-7 resembled the Jeep Wrangler we see today. It offered more off-road features such as improved handling, an optional automatic all-wheel-drive system, steel doors, and upgraded Dana axles. There were also more options for the engine type, offering the choice between a 2.5-liter, 4.2-liter, or 5.0-liter. Depending on the option selected, the engine could be paired with a three-speed automatic, three-speed manual, four-speed manual, or five-speed manual transmission.
The Jeep CJ-2A was the first full-scale production of the CJ model that would be available to the general public. The engine was a 134CID L134 engine that produced approximately 60 horsepower and used a three-speed Borg-Warner T-90 manual transmission. The model was intended for farming, ranching, and industrial applications.
The CJ-3A used the Willys four-cylinder L-134 engine, which produced 60 horsepower and used a Dana 18 transfer case, a Dana 25 front axle, and a Dana 41 or 44 rear axle. It also featured a new one-piece windshield with wipers at the bottom. The suspension was upgraded to a stronger 10 leaf system to accommodate added agriculture features and off-road conditions.
Willys Overland produced only one CJ-4 as a concept Jeep in 1951. It used the new Willys Hurricane engine, which was a four-cylinder engine that produced 72 horsepower and 112 lb-ft torque with its flathead design. The body design was a blend between the raised hood from the CJ-3B and the new curved body style that would be introduced on the CJ-3B.
The CJ-3B replaced the CJ-3A in 1953 and featured a higher grille and a bigger hood to clear the new Willys Hurricane engine. This engine increased horsepower and torque for a more industrious Jeep. This was also the first model to offer a four-speed manual transmission, available in 1963. The design was licensed to Mitsubishi, 1953-1998, and Mahindra, 1953-2010, for foreign production.
The CJ-3B was the Jeep used during the Korean war, and its fame and success allowed it to continue on the longest production run of any Jeep model. The new CJ-5 used the Willys Hurricane engine until 1965, when the 3.7-liter, V-6 Dauntless engine was used, producing 155 horsepower. In 1972, the CJ-5 began offering a 5.0-liter V-8 and, to accommodate this muscle-car engine, the CJ-5's fenders and hood were stretched five inches and the wheelbase an extra three inches. In 1973 a new dash was used with a single gauge in the center to house the speedometer, fuel, and temperature gauges.
The CJ-6 was essentially a CJ-5 except that it had a massive wheelbase of 100 inches on 1955 to 1971 models, and 104 inches on 1972 to 1981 models. This model was never popular in the United States, and was mainly used in Sweden, South America, and by the U.S. Forest Service. American sales ended in 1975 but continued overseas.
The CJ-5A and CJ-6A were in production from 1964-1986; these models were strictly trim upgrades for the CJ-5 series and CJ-6 series.
The CJ-7 was a major update of the CJ series, more closely resembling today's Jeep Wrangler. It featured various engine sizes such as the 2.5-liter AMC 14, the 4.2-liter AMC I6, and the 5.0-liter AMC V-8. There were also many transmission choices that were dependent upon the engine type, such as a three-speed manual or automatic, or a five or four-speed manual. The wheelbase was longer than the CJ-5's, at 93.3 inches. Manufactured from 1976 to 1986, the CJ-7 featured an optional automatic all-wheel-drive system, steel doors, improved handling, an optional hardtop, and various options for upgraded Dana axles and transfer cases.
The CJ-8 was a long-wheelbase version of the CJ-7, and was on the market from 1981 to 1984. It featured a 103-inch wheelbase to create a small pickup-type frame, rather than adding a separate truck bed.
The CJ-10 was a CJ body-based pickup truck that did have a separate truck bed. It was sold primarily as an export vehicle from 1981 to 1985. It used a 3.3L diesel or 258 AMC engine, a Tremec T177 four-speed manual or a 727 automatic transmission, a New Process 208 Transfer case, a Dana 44 front differential, and a Dana 60 rear differential.
The CJ-10A was an aircraft tug used by the US Air Force and produced in Mexico from 1984 to 1986.