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Stude-a-Willys

Wonder what would happen if you crossed a Jeep CJ-2A and a Studebaker? What would Grandpa Bob do?

Traci ClarkPhotographer, Writer

What would Grandpa Bob do if he found a little spare cash? Buy something to tinker with, of course. When Grandpa Bob passed away, he left his grandson Stephen Rudy from Conifer, Colorado, a bit of extra coin, which Stephen used to find the perfect little project to build in honor of his grandfather. When Stephen started this search, the main criteria were floorboards and a title. The finished project, a 1947 CJ-2A affectionately known as the Stude-a-Willys, would make Gramps proud.

The search didn’t take Stephen very far from home. The little gem was just a few miles up the road sitting abandoned in a mountain meadow. It barely ran, but most of the parts were there, and it met his two main requirements. Several months of sweat equity and a few modifications later he had a great trail rig in which he attends several of the flatfender events around Colorado.

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Its exterior is all Willys, however, when you hear it run there is a little different ring to it. Most common engine conversions for this era of Jeep lean toward the Chevy 4.3L V-6, but there is something more intriguing under this hood. In it beats the heart of a Champion: a Studebaker Model 6-170 Champion six-cylinder, to be exact. This engine has been beefed up a bit to perform at high altitude where the air is thin. At lower elevations, it might produce as much as 100 horsepower; at elevations above 8,000 feet, it is estimated more in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 hp. Even with horsepower that averages close to the age of most who may have driven a Champion, the CJ-2A gets up and goes. Read on for all the details.

Why This Jeep?
There are some very interesting features on this little Willys. The homemade PTO winch setup is extremely well thought out and functional. Today almost everything is a pre-fab bolt-on accessory that some variation of is readily available from any aftermarket supplier. The ingenuity behind the design and the pride of this rig that is evident in every weld speaks of true craftsmanship. It was made to withstand the test of time.

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Hard Facts
Vehicle: 1947 Willys CJ-2A
Engine: Studebaker Model 6-170 Champion six-cylinder (WWII Studebaker M29 Weasel)
Transmission: Spicer T90A
Transfer Case: Dana 18
Suspension: Stock leaf springs and KYB Excel G shocks
Axles: Dana 25, 5.38 gears, Power-Lok LSD, Dualmatic locking hubs (front); Dana 41, 5.38 gears, Lock-Right (rear)
Wheels: Kelsey-Hayes slotted civilian wheels
Tires: 6.50-16 STA Super Traxion tires