The Mitsubishi J20 (produced in the 1960's) is one of over 30 different Jeep models based on the CJ-3B body style, and built in Japan under licence from Willys from 1953 through 1998.
Mitsubishi Motors announced on 4 June 1998 that it would stop production of Jeep models, 45 years after their commercial debut in Japan. The Tokyo-based automaker would make its last Jeep in August, said a company spokesman, explaining the decision was made because the vehicles don't meet new environmental and safety standards. Mitsubishi sold about 200,000 Jeeps in Japan -- many to the government -- since it was first granted a licence to make them in 1953.
The Jeeps have been built with short, medium and long wheelbases, with various gasoline and diesel 4-cylinder engines, and even in versions similar to a Willys station wagon with a CJ-3B front end (see a brochure photo of the J11, 140K JPEG). Like Mahindra in India, on its later models Mitsubishi added a short diagonal skirt at the front edge of the front fenders. But unlike Mahindra, the Japanese firm never adopted the CJ-7 "round-fender" body style.
Seven passengers in a CJ-3B looks crowded, even in this J20, which is almost a foot longer than a standard CJ-3B. This illustration of its capacity was featured in a Mitsubishi brochure.
The original Mitsubishi CJ3B-J3 was built from 1953 into the 1970's. The illustration above will be familiar to long-time readers of The CJ3B Page, and is the cover of a J3 brochure scanned by Makoto Hirakawa, who also owns the J3 pictured below. Its engine number has a 4J prefix, suggesting that early Mitsubishi Jeeps used engines supplied by Willys. Later Mitsubishi Hurricane engines have numbers prefixed by JH4.
See also the cover of another J3 brochure (100K JPEG).
In the mid-1950's Mitsubishi began building the J10 and J11 with medium and long wheelbases, alongside the J3 and the military J4 version used by both the Japanese Army and the U.S. Army. In the late 1950's, diesel versions and right-hand drive versions were added to the line.
See a Mitsubishi J32 fire engine on the CJ-3B Fire Engines Around the World page.
Slightly larger engines were added in the 1970's -- the J54 and military J54A used a 2.7L diesel engine, the J56 had a 2.4L gasoline engine, and the J57 a 2.6L. There were also medium and long-wheelbase models available with all of these engines. From the mid-1980's until Jeep production was ended in 1998, only diesel engines were available in the J50 series.
Like the Mahindras which are still built in India, the Mitsubishi Jeeps had a lot of appeal to people wanting a new vehicle with the no-nonsense look of a flat-fender Jeep. The catalogue photo below shows some of the range available in the 1970's. See a large copy (1400x800) (330K JPEG) with details and model numbers visible.
James Danko has English versions of several Mitsubishi factory service manuals for sale on the web.
Jeep fans in Japan have produced an excellent reproduction of the J54-A and J54-P operators manual. Contact Morihisa Ochi ( firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
On the web in Japan, Makoto Hirakawa's Japanese Jeeper's Home Page includes large illustrations of several Mitsubishi CJ-3B brochures.
Thanks to Mori and to Makoto for providing information for this page. -- Derek Redmond
See more Mitsubishi Jeeps on The CJ3B Page.
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