Keeping it in the family: Restoring Grandpa's 54' CJ3B

gkwalker_54CJ3B

Knuckle Buster
May 25, 2022
4
North Carolina
First Name
Grayson
Willys Model
  1. CJ
Willys Year:
  1. 1954
Hello everyone,

I'm Grayson and hail from the small town of Collettsville, North Carolina. I'm currently completing vet school at NC State University in Raleigh. I was inspired by a retired faculty member to restore an old SUV after he let me take his old Toyota Land Cruiser for a spin. I daydreamed about driving away from my wedding with my new bride in a vehicle I had restored. After searching online for one I could buy, I realized everything I had been searching for was right under my nose...

My Grandpa purchased a Willys Jeep from in the late 80s. While I'm sure there were many needs that prompted his decision, I'm told the primary reason was a desire to take a few nips of bourbon on snowy days and venture into the forest to cut and haul wood for the wood-stove. He said it was geared so low he could put it in first and walk beside of it. Whatever his reason for buying it was, he had his fun and sold it to his daughter (my aunt) in the early 90s. It only needed brakes at the time. Grandpa passed in 2000 when I was 5 years old. Time marched on, and around 2010 my aunt was looking to sell the jeep as well. My mom couldn't bear to see something that belonged to her dad leave the family, so she purchased it. There it sat for 10 more years in the backyard and then in the garage until I had my epiphany in March of 2022. Do I actually have what it takes to restore his old jeep, knowing nothing about cars?

I slowly pulled the piles of other stored "junk" off the old Willys to see what I was working with. The smell of cat urine burned my eyes as I pulled back the dusty old tarp that covered it. Over the years this Willys had been a hotel for rats, a litter box for cats, and a storage container for soiled floor mats. I wiped the dust off the dash plate with my thumb to read "CJ-3B" on the rusted data plate. Under the hood I found a never-ending maze of unfamiliar wires, parts, and hoses leading to a famous F4-134 hurricane engine forgotten by time. With the help of YouTube and a Service Manual, I've spent the summer becoming absolutely obsessed with this machine. I'm pleased to introduce myself and become a part of this community. I'm looking forward to chatting with you all as I attempt to restore a family heirloom. With some help, my hope is that I can fulfill my dream of driving away from my wedding in it next year.

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Welcome aboard, Grayson. That's a great family history on the CJ3B. Sounds like you've already done a ton of research and plenty of elbow grease cleaning it up. Looking forward to following your build.

Also, that's a great goal of using the Willys in your wedding. Here's what we did with our '82 Scrambler:
305179_979563270197_3288789_n.jpg
 
Hello everyone,

I'm Grayson and hail from the small town of Collettsville, North Carolina. I'm currently completing vet school at NC State University in Raleigh. I was inspired by a retired faculty member to restore an old SUV after he let me take his old Toyota Land Cruiser for a spin. I daydreamed about driving away from my wedding with my new bride in a vehicle I had restored. After searching online for one I could buy, I realized everything I had been searching for was right under my nose...

My Grandpa purchased a Willys Jeep from in the late 80s. While I'm sure there were many needs that prompted his decision, I'm told the primary reason was a desire to take a few nips of bourbon on snowy days and venture into the forest to cut and haul wood for the wood-stove. He said it was geared so low he could put it in first and walk beside of it. Whatever his reason for buying it was, he had his fun and sold it to his daughter (my aunt) in the early 90s. It only needed brakes at the time. Grandpa passed in 2000 when I was 5 years old. Time marched on, and around 2010 my aunt was looking to sell the jeep as well. My mom couldn't bear to see something that belonged to her dad leave the family, so she purchased it. There it sat for 10 more years in the backyard and then in the garage until I had my epiphany in March of 2022. Do I actually have what it takes to restore his old jeep, knowing nothing about cars?

I slowly pulled the piles of other stored "junk" off the old Willys to see what I was working with. The smell of cat urine burned my eyes as I pulled back the dusty old tarp that covered it. Over the years this Willys had been a hotel for rats, a litter box for cats, and a storage container for soiled floor mats. I wiped the dust off the dash plate with my thumb to read "CJ-3B" on the rusted data plate. Under the hood I found a never-ending maze of unfamiliar wires, parts, and hoses leading to a famous F4-134 hurricane engine forgotten by time. With the help of YouTube and a Service Manual, I've spent the summer becoming absolutely obsessed with this machine. I'm pleased to introduce myself and become a part of this community. I'm looking forward to chatting with you all as I attempt to restore a family heirloom. With some help, my hope is that I can fulfill my dream of driving away from my wedding in it next year.

Welcome, that's a great story and a worthy project. Good luck and enjoy!
 
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