"My CJ-3B story started when a friend of mine showed me his rebuilt M38 in the summer of '98. I decided to go to the Internet and see if there was any possibility of finding a flat-fender Jeep myself. Lo and behold I made the mistake of finding The CJ3B Page, and the projects of Dan Bever. Since Dan was from Indiana I felt like old neighbors and decided to e-mail him to ask for advice on how to find one of these high hood beauties. He wrote back and said his plate was full and that I could buy three CJ-3B's from him.
"The first Jeep I decided to restore was Dan's blue '53, because it had already been dismantled."
"Being a first time flat-fender Jeep mechanic wannabe, I decided to go all out. After reading about 11-inch brakes, Saginaw steering, and overdrives, I decided to make this CJ-3B better than new. Luckily I have a welding buddy and a hot rod buddy, who felt sorry for me and said they would keep me under their wing during this project. I can definitely say these two guys are the reason the project has gone so fast and so smooth.
"Although the frame was in fair shape there were a few problems. The rear cross-member was shot. I could not find a good repro cross-member so I had the local sheet metal shop fabricate one. I took in the inner and outer member from the frame and they reproduced it for me. I also had them reproduce the front bumper since I have been told the repro bumpers are thinner than stock. The frame was then powder painted -- powder painting was about $350.00.
"The engine was rebuilt and the drive train was given a thorough overhaul. Luckily I know a fellow that rebuilds Dana axles for a hobby (they build Dana axles here in Ft. Wayne).
"I then went in search of a repro body. After researching various vendors for a CJ-3B body I went with Karl Walck. He had a repro body that had the Willys script and a tool box already installed. (See also the Reproduction Jeep Bodies Tech Tips page for more details on repro bodies.)
"The tub had a few detail problems with the originality. First, it had the tool indents on the passenger side, and the other problem was the dashboard -- it was flat without any hand brake indents. Finally there were no drainage holes on the side panels. All these problems were quickly solved by the expertise of my welding friend.
"While the project was ongoing I was spending time on the Internet contacting the CJ-3B experts for information, advice, and acquiring parts to finish the project. This proved to be the most entertaining part of the project. I got hold of a pair of side steps and a hand brake, got advice for the Saginaw steering and met some new friends.
"The next major hurdle was to choose the color for the Jeep. Since there were no paint codes on the tub and the beast had been painted many a time, I felt I had carte blanche to choose a color. I decided to go with Willow Green Poly. I got hold of a paint sheet and took it to the body shop to match.
"The painting of the Jeep was way above the original process -- I had the shop paint the underside and foot wells with a undercoating additive to the willow green paint. They also stenciled and detailed the Willys logo before clear coating the entire body. (See the stencils on the tailgate, 50K JPEG.) This was the only way to go with a powder painted frame and side steps.
"I am finally at the stage to put the body back on the frame and take the Jeep back to my house for the electrical wiring and top fitting."
Thanks to Buck for the information and photos. -- Derek Redmond
See Rescuing a Jeep, Part 1: A Junkyard Find
Return to 1953 CJ-3B Owners and Photos.
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