The importation of vehicles into Brasil was prohibited in 1954, not long after 3B's had begun arriving from Willys in the United States. Beginning in 1957 "Jipes" (as they are referred to in Portuguese) were again imported from the U.S., this time CKD (complete, knocked down) vehicles which were assembled in Brasil, primarily CJ-5 models.
Business Week magazine reported that Willys Overland do Brasil raised some of the capital to build their manufacturing plant by using a fifteen-Jeep caravan complete with music and movies, travelling through the countryside to attract small investors. ("Jeeps on parade help Willys finance its plant in Brazil", 27 Oct.1956, p.158.)
This hand-tinted photo showing a CJ-5 on the Ceará Dunes in northeastern Brasil, is taken from the annual shareholders report of 1957-58.
By 1960 CJ-5's were being built from scratch in Brasil. They were equipped with an inline 2600cc six-cylinder engine providing 90 HP and a three-speed transmission, and the rear fender openings were squared off.
The reason for Willys do Brasil's concentration on the CJ-5 is a bit unclear, since most Willys-licenced overseas manufacturers in the 1950's were primarily making the CJ-3B.
Another unique aspect of the story is the "Rural", a re-styled version of the Willys station wagon which debuted in 1960 and was produced until 1977. The new front-end styling (50K JPEG) was by Brooks Stevens. He later did a prototype for a Brazilian Jeepster with a similar nose, which didn't go into production.
The new bodywork was also used on the pickup truck. See a 1967 advertisement (90K JPEG) for both of the utility vehicles. Production of the pickup continued through the Ford era (see below), during which it was called the "F-75". Photo courtesy of Rural Willys Brasil.
The Aero Willys car, built in the U.S. until 1954, was produced in Brasil into the 1970's. It too received a Stevens re-styling as the Aero 2600 (30K JPEG) in 1963.
The need for a longer-wheelbase Jeep was met in 1962 with a Brazilian equivalent of the CJ-6, built on the Rural chassis. Called the "101" and also known as the "Bernardao," it had the squared-off rear wheel openings.
Advertising continued to emphasize primarily the industrial and agricultural uses of the Jeep. An early ad for the CJ-3B (60K GIF) had a drawing of a farmer pointing to a Jeep with a plow, saying "Devo minha prosperidade a éste companheiro" (I owe my prosperity to this friend.) The CJ3B Page colorized the drawing (80K JPEG) for a 2003 cover page.
Another ad had a drawing of a CJ-3B on a mountain road (40K GIF) and is headed "Para terrenos acidentados..." (for rough terrain...) and calls the Willys Jeep "robusto, ágil et potente."
Aftermarket items aimed at Willys owners included the Capota de Aço hardtops (120K JPEG) made in Brasil. Its Carraço hardtops designed for the 101 came in both two and four-door models. This beautiful 1963 Jeep with Carraço top belongs to Carlos Pilz.
Ford do Brasil bought Willys on 9 October 1967, and continued to produce the Rural and the CJ-5. They replaced only the name "Willys" with "Ford" on the side and rear of the body. The Jeep in this photo is a Ford CJ-5 belonging to Haroldo Prado.
In the mid-1970's, the Ford CJ-5 received a new 2300cc four-cylinder engine, and a four-speed sychronized gearbox. In 1980 some units began to be set up to use ethyl alcohol fuel. However, in 1983 Ford do Brasil ceased production of the "Jipe".
The CJ-5, known as the "Universal", is still the most common model in Brasil. This classic 1963 Willys CJ-5 is owned by Antonio Peres. See also a detail photo of the tailgate (30K JPEG).
There are also older Jeeps on the roads, including CJ-3B's and 3A's. After World War II, the U.S. sent a number of surplus MB's and GPW's to Brasil under a military agreement, followed later by M38's. Many of these are now in civilian hands. Newton Cesar calls his CJ-3A in this photo "Pomarola", after a brand of tomato sauce. See also Newton's 1967 CJ-5 "Maionese" (30K JPEG).
There are also lots of Jeep clubs and activities across the country. This photo shows Luiz Henrique's modified 1953 CJ-3B which took first place in a recent competition. See some action photos in More Unusual Photos: Rain and Sleet and Snow and...
Elsewhere on the web, Luiz Otávio's Home Page da Willys Overland do Brasil and the website of Julio Florez include photos and brochures, and more information in Portuguese. Rural Willys Brasil has details in Portuguese on the Rural wagons and pickups. Kaiser Jim's Page also has more on Willys do Brasil.
The Troller T4 is a fiberglass Jeep knockoff built in Brazil.
Thanks to Denis Silva, Antonio Peres, Sergio Maida Makowsy, Newton Cesar, Julio Florez, Roberto Flores and Kaiser Jim for information for this page. -- Derek Redmond
And thanks to Antonio Kleber de Araújo for the CJ-3B ads, from a web page of Brazilian Jeep Downloads.
Return to Jeeps Around the World on The CJ3B Page.
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