People have been known to suggest that turning the CJ-3A into the CJ-3B by enlarging the hood in order to fit the F-head Hurricane engine inside, resulted in a Jeep that was, shall we say, ugly. Apparently this opinion was not uncommon even among those who worked in the Jeep factory at the time.
But practicality was more important than looks to Jeep designers -- witness the Forward Control Jeep trucks. And perhaps the least attractive Jeeps of all were the ones which resulted when they beefed up the two-wheel drive DJ-3A Dispatcher with a Hurricane engine and some additional cargo space, to create the Fleetvan FJ-3 (right) and the slightly longer FJ-3A (below).
When you see a photo of a Fleetvan, you tend to think it looks something like the big FedEx delivery trucks of today. But it was really a mini-van, and the picture here is intended to show that little more than bodywork (and steering and seats moved up to clear the F-head engine) differentiated the FJ from the DJ Dispatcher. See a larger version of the drawing (20K GIF) by Hubert Cossard showing a Dispatcher and a Fleetvan side-by-side.
The Fleetvan mated the F-head 4-cylinder engine with either the T-90 or an optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission. The FJ-3A had a major rear overhang, with an overall length of 154 inches on an 81-inch wheelbase (and don't forget it was cab-over-engine). But in case you're still thinking of it as a big vehicle, see it in comparison with the Wagoneer in Willys brochure 6217 (90K GIF).
The FJ-3A is colorized here for The CJ3B Page, to represent Willys' Fountain Green Poly / Foam Green two-tone scheme. (For the full 1961-62 paint sheet listing two-tone paint combinations, see Paint Samples 1959-65. It's not entirely clear which paint schemes were used on the FJ's.) See a black & white factory photo (100K JPEG) of a two-tone version.
See also the brochure for the FJ-3A (60K JPEG), and specifications for the FJ-3A (15K GIF).
A set of photos in the Images in Time collection at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library captures details of an FJ-3A. There's no licence plate and the pictures are posed like factory photos, but the truck is clearly already well-used, with the paint damaged and the front badge missing (see a front left photo, 120K JPEG).
See also details of the front interior (50K JPEG) including the swing-forward driver's seat and a close look at the hubcaps, and rear interior (50K JPEG) including floor shift and wiper motor. The dashboard (60K JPEG) includes the standard Jeep instrument cluster and a hand brake not found on any other Jeep.
The Fleetvan was produced first as the FJ-3 right-hand-drive postal delivery vehicle. Somewhat shorter than the FJ-3A, the FJ-3 was only 135 inches long but was rated for the same 1000 pound payload. It's identifiable by its horizontal grille slots (left), as well as its overall length and RHD. Interestingly, another "action" photo shows a version of the U.S. Mail FJ-3 with different front bodywork (150K JPEG).
See a brochure for the Postal FJ-3 (60K JPEG). Also from the brochure, see the specifications for the FJ-3 (30K GIF).
The U.S. Postal Service was the Fleetvan's only real success, which apparently led to a couple of follow-ups. Jim Allen's Illustrated Jeep Buyer's Guide lists the FJ-6, built on a CJ-6 chassis starting in 1965, and the FJ-9 built by AM General starting in 1975, probably on a Cherokee chassis.
Reagan Woolf photographed this former postal truck nicely preverved (but with an unfortunate paint job) in Lancaster, California. Reagan also shot a side view (40K JPEG) and a rear view (40K JPEG). He reports that on the back door, a manufacturer's name is embossed on the sheet metal: "Highway Products Inc., Kent Ohio."
See also a photo comparing this FJ and Steve Mehls' DJ (30K JPEG).
This postal FJ-3 was sold again after being retired from its second career. The buyer was considering restoring it for yet another life, working alongside his 1967 Ford Good Humor Truck in Chicago. He sent detail photos of the VIN plate (50K JPEG) and the government dash plate (150K JPEG). The right-hand-drive dashboard mounts the instrument cluster on the far right side (50K JPEG's).
More junkyard FJ's: JC Jenkins photographed a former postal Fleetvan (20K JPEG) for sale in California in the 1990's, and Mike Winchester saw an FJ-3 at Hoctor's Hidden Valley wrecking yard in Arizona (50K JPEG).
Thanks to all the contributors. -- Derek Redmond.
See also The Dispatcher Jeeps for information on the other two-wheel drive postal Jeeps, and Jeep Designers at Work for a prototype of a larger Willys delivery van.
Return to Siblings of the CJ-3B on The CJ3B Page.
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