1949 Willys CJ-3A

    Bill Douglas’s 1949 Flatfender

    Willys started building 'em in 1941 as relief to the war effort; Bill Douglas of Englewood, Colorado, started building his flatfender more than 50 years later as relief to his four-wheelin' efforts. Bill says the CJ-3A was well designed and over-engineered from the factory. For that reason, he kept to the basics and only changed from stock what he found limited the already-capable classic's abilities.

    Originally purchased from a Willys Overland dealer in Denver, Bill's '49 saw duty giving sightseeing tours in Central City. Central City Pioneer was painted across the hood and down the sides when he bought the Jeep in July 1994. Bill began the restoration immediately, focusing at first on mechanical aspects and towing it to the mountains for test runs every weekend.

    Eighteen months later, Bill unveiled his project at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, completing the final touches only two days before he left to attend the event. Since that time, Bill and his Willys have tackled all the 4-plus-rated Moab trails in addition to Holy Cross, Old Tincup, and many other Colorado trails.

    What's next on Bill's list? An '82 Scrambler with body mods and a turbo-charged Buick V-6.

    "I’ll put my Willys away so maybe it will last another 49 years," Bill says. Considering the time and care he’s put into it, we figure it’ll see 150 without a worry.