Setting the stage for the
Farm Jeep and Jeep Tractor Willys involvement with
farming and tractors started long before
After WWI tractors started to replace the horse on the farm. At this
time John N. Willys, with several partners, purchased the Moline Plow
Co. and Willys-Overland produced the Universal Tractor.
In the 1920's
Mr. Willys sold out to his partners. For more information about the
Moline Plow Company see the
web-site. A great source for more information about farming in the
Living History Farm web-site.
World War II provided the impetus to develop and produce the famous
jeep. As early as 1942 military jeeps were tested for farm use. On
April 13-15, 1942 the US Department of Agriculture tested two military
jeeps as light tractors performing several farm tasks. It was
the jeep would be
highly useful on the farm but was not suitable for cultivation. The
jeep was not tall enough to pass over the growing crops and the track
width did not properly align with the rows. The Willys test vehicle has
survived after all these years and is now owned by Todd Paisley. The
Jeep" can be seen on Todd's Willys-Overland
information about the USDA
testing can be found in
the 1943 report "The
Jeep - Its Development and Procurement Under the Quartermaster Corps,
1940 - 1942" written
R. Rifkind. Several other agricultural
tests of military jeeps were performed in 1943 and 1944 at the State
College of Washington, according to Frederic L. Coldwell's book Preproduction
War II Willys worked diligently to secure the market for
after war sales. Ads
appeared in magazines touting the jeeps
dependability, ruggedness, and versatility.
In 1944 Willys ads started to
include references about using jeeps on farms, they were billed as a
as utility vehicle. The
illustration to the left is from an ad that appeared in the Saturday
Evening Post, June 24, 1944.
Looking into the crystal
ball we see the many uses for the jeep including pulling a tandem disc
harrow on a farm. This and other vintage ads can be found in the book Selling
Wonder by Frederic L. Coldwell.
Willys didn't want military jeeps to be dumped on the automotive market
war. This would reduce the amount of new vehicles that could be sold.
Some companies suffered after WWI when surplus military stock was
released to the public. Willys quickly designed a civilian replacement
for the military jeep that included improvements found necessary from
testing. The first civilian Jeep, the CJ-1 was built in 1944. This
AgriJeep had a larger clutch, lower gear ratios and a lower hitch for
plowing. The design
and testing continued with the CJ-2. They were sent to Cornell
University, and other agricultural experiment stations, for evaluation.
Visit the Willys-Overland
web-site to view photos of
surviving CJ-2s. In 1945 the CJ-2A
available to the public. The story of the design of the Civilian Jeep
can be found in Frederic L. Coldwell's must have book Preproduction
Jeeps. Read a review
of the book here on The
Many farming attachments and accessories became available for the
civilian Jeep as its popularity increased. They were offered by both
Willys and by aftermarket vendors. Some of these accessories operated
well with the Jeep but others did not perform satisfactorily. Willys
believed that the unsatisfactory equipment reflected poorly on the Jeep
in the minds of the users. After the 1st quarter of 1946 sales to the
farm market started to decline.
An interesting light duty tractor was sold in 1947 and 1948 that used
the L-134 Jeep engine and also shared many of the same driveline
components. This short lived company produced the Empire Tractor. For
more information visit the Empire
Tractor Owners Club web-site.
1949 saw the introduction of the new CJ-3A. It boasted more space for
the driver than the previous model the CJ-2A. The seat was further away
from the steering wheel and there was more headroom due to a taller
frame. A CJ-3A was sent to the Nebraska
Test Lab for testing from
October 25 to November 2, 1949. See
Tractor Test of the CJ-3A
for more information.
a Farm Jeep and Jeep
1951 Willys formed a special
to combat the slumping farm market sales. The newly formed Farm Sales
Department had complete control of distribution and implement
for the farm market. They were to field test implements to ensure
compatibility with the Jeep before being authorized for sale by Willys.
This was done so unsuitable equipment wouldn't tarnish the Jeeps
reputation. Two new versions of the
existing CJ-3A were also introduced, the Farm Jeep and the Jeep
Tractor. The Farm Jeep was a regular Jeep with
factory installed hydraulic lift, drawbar, propeller shaft guards,
heavy duty springs and variable speed belt driven governor. The Jeep
Tractor had factory installed hydraulic lift, power take off, governor,
drawbar, heavy-duty springs, front bumper weight, propeller shaft
guards and radiator chaff screen. The Jeep
Tractor did not have front shocks and
assembly, spare tire, spare wheel and brackets, windshield and
fuel pump vacuum booster, tailgate, lighting system, door curtain
retaining channels, oil filter, speedometer assembly or horn.
Equipment needed primarily for road service was not built into the Jeep
Tractor so this was designed for field use only.
Any Universal Jeep could have been outfitted to be a farm
type Jeep simply
by adding the appropriate options. Real Farm Jeeps had special
serial number prefix. For example the first Farm Jeep VIN number is
451-GC1 10001. The first digit (4) indicates number of cylinders. The
next two numbers
(51) indicate the model year 1951. The next letter (G)
basic chassis model. The following letter (C) indicates body type, A is
a stripped chassis, B is the regular Universal Jeep, C is
the Farm Jeep and D is the Jeep Tractor. After the body type is the
identifying number (1) with 1 for CJ-3A and 2 for CJ-3B. The remaining
digits are the actual serial number of the vehicle, starting with
10001 at the beginning of each model year. Although many CJ-2As and
early CJ-3As were set up
to be farming Jeeps, only
a 1951 or later CJ-3A or
CJ-3B could be a real Farm Jeep or Jeep Tractor.
Farm Jeep and Jeep Tractor
With the introduction of the new Farm Jeep and Jeep Tractor in 1951 ads
for them began to appear in magazines like the Country
Gentleman and Farm Journal. Willys had a habit
of recycling existing photos when advertising a new product.
Pictures were often touched up to represent something that wasn't
really there. At times the photos did not represent the actual
equipment being advertised. Examine the Farm Jeep in the ad to the
(click on the ad for a larger view) By 1951 the CJ-3A soft top doors
had changed to the later large window type. This ad shows early
small windowed doors. Click
here to see a March
1950 ad from Farm Journal magazine
which shows what appears to be
the same "Farm" Jeep, in the upper left, a year before it was
the left is a
photo of the "New Farm Jeep" pulling a corn picker near Bowling Green,
Ohio from the Willys March 1951 Salesbuilder publication. It is shown
with a half cab soft top with late large windows, correct for 1951 and
The end of the Farm Jeep era came with the CJ-3B. Some CJ-5 ads were
directed to the farm market but it doesn't appear that a real CJ-5
Farm Jeep was ever offered. To the right is a
page from the folder 'Jeep' Farm Power, publication KW-1706. This
folder advertises the CJ-3B, with the "Famous Willys F-Head Engine the
Hurricane" but is chock full of CJ-2As, CJ-3As and
colors Some actual hardware can be
seen on the few existing examples of
these vehicles. In 2001 Billy Steers
purchased what he thought was a
1947 CJ-2A. It turned out to be a CJ-3A Jeep Tractor that had already
many of its
characteristics. Fortunately the serial number plate was still
there. Number 451-GD1 10055 identifies it as the 55th Jeep Tractor
produced. A windshield, headlights and tailgate from a
CJ-2A had been installed and the hydraulic lift
had been discarded by the previous owner. The original color looked
like Universal Beige. It had no spare tire, oil filter or passenger
seats. The factory speedometer block off plate
remained as well as the heavy duty springs. In place of the oil filter
was a special factory bracket to hold the dipstick tube. Click here for a look at the
as it appeared in 2001.
Todd Paisley reports seeing a Jeep Tractor in central PA in the mid
90's. This vehicle was not equipped with a windshield or lighting
system from the factory.
The current owners of Farm Jeeps 453-GC1 10023 and 453-GC1 10024 both
were originally blue in color. 453-GC1 10023 has die cut holes for 3
hitch hydraulic hoses but
the lift is missing. 453-GC1 10023 was found in Arizona and 453-GC1
10024 came from a barn in northern Wisconsin. More recently 451-GD1
10036 appeared for sale in Wisconsin.
Sherwin-Williams and Dupont paint color chip catalogs from 1949 to 1951
available Civilian Jeep colors as Emerald Green, Luzon Red, and Potomac
Gray. Horizon Blue is also listed only for the 1951 Farm Jeep. A 1951
Ditzler Bulletin lists colors for Universal Jeep, Farm Jeep, and Jeep
Tractor as Luzon Red, Emerald Green, Potomac Gray, Horizon Blue and
Universal Beige. By removing the regular Civilian Jeep colors from the
list we are
with Horizon Blue for Farm Jeeps and Universal Beige for Jeep Tractors.
This fits perfectly with the colors of existing Jeeps documented to
date. Click on the following links to see the paint color
1951 Willys color chips
include Horizon Blue as well as the regular production CJ-3A colors. I
was able to find a paint chip of Universal Beige in the 1949 Sherwin-Williams catalog.
many were made? We may never know for sure
how many Farm Jeeps and Jeep Tractors
were actually made. There are several sources of data about
these vehicles but none of them are in agreement about the amount of
Actual remaining examples of these
vehicles also don't agree exactly with any of the data sources. Jim
Allen, in his book Jeep, has some production totals listed. Willys
service Bulletin 52-79, December 26, 1952,
Identification of W-O Vehicles, hints at the availability of Farm Jeeps
and Jeep Tractors for certain years but does not list production
amounts or serial numbers. The Norton
Young Production figures, as
seen on The
Page, are considered to be a
very accurate source of production
information. Norton Young even admitted that there may be some errors
in his production totals according to the article on the CJ-3B Page.
following chart compares the data.
Jeep and Jeep Tractor production
Vehicle Serial #'s
from service information
10024, 10032, 10035
1-Willys Bulletin 52-79 suggests that these models did exist however it
does not list any serial numbers.
2-Willys Bulletin 53-5 lists this serial number as the change point for
an improved generator.
3-Nebraska Tractor Test #502 lists this serial number as the vehicle
tested in 1953.
4-Willys Bulletin 51-28 lists these serial numbers as change points.
Farm Jeeps and Jeep Tractors are out there, just how many is very
hard to know due to
so much conflicting information.
The Jeep Tractor was advertised as a low cost farm tractor so it was
competing with other small tractors for the market. Unfortunately I can
not locate an original price listing for these Jeeps. A competitor, the
Ford 8N tractor, could be purchased for $1504.50 in 1952, as seen on an
Smiths' 8N Ford Tractor Page.
Judging by the amount of Jeep
Tractors produced I suspect that the pricing was not competitive with
The Farm Jeep was even more of a niche market, it was an SUV that
doubled as a light tractor. Although Joe
Caprios 1951 CJ-3A wasn't a
real Farm Jeep we can get an idea of cost from the original
posted on The
Page. By adding the prices of
the farm equipment options to the base price an approximate Farm Jeep
price can be estimated to have been about $1712.00. The price is higher
tractor but you couldn't take the family to church on Sunday with your
1950 Chrysler Corporation
had a Dodge Power Wagon T137 tested in Nebraska
Tractor Test No. 454. It doesn't appear that the Power Wagon ever
became significant competition to the Farm Jeep.