What? We’re starting another Cheap Jeep series?
It’s been a little while since we dug into a full-on Cheap Jeep project, so we were itching to take another crack at it. This time around, though, we’re going even more old-school classic Jeep with a half-century-old Willys CJ-5. This 1961 model comes courtesy of one of Toby, our go-to mechanic for any cheap vehicle series and owner of German Auto Services in Boulder, Colorado. It’s certainly a work in progress — just check out the state of the tires in our reveal video below — but Toby’s done plenty of work to this rig to make it a (hopefully) strong contender in the upcoming series (stay tuned for more on that soon).
In the earlier years of the CJ-5’s three-decade production run, this car came with a 75-horsepower, 2.2-liter Willys Hurricane inline-four, while Kaiser (then owner of the Jeep brand, before Kaiser Jeep sold to AMC in 1970) eventually fitted the far more potent 3.7-liter/225 cubic inch Dauntless V6 under license from General Motors. More engines were available throughout its lifespan, from a 3.1-liter (192 cubic inch) British-made Perkins diesel engine to AMC’s straight-six engines (3.8-liter and 4.2 liter) and even a 5.0-liter, 304 cubic inch V8.
As it sits, this example is a whopping 61 years old, and represents what is probably the most iconic Jeep generation to date. Even better, this is not the only Jeep we’ll have in the upcoming series!
Where this jeep fits into the next challenge
While Tommy will be driving the CJ-5 in this challenge, the goal here is for Andre and Nathan to join in on the fun as well. They’ll each bring their own inexpensive (under $10,000) Jeep to the party to pitch against this old warhorse in a host of challenges.
For the $6,000 we spent on this CJ-5, we wonder if it’d be worthwhile to find and install that big V8 to give this car the grunt it deserves…though that would probably take some more serious modification to make it work given the Jeep’s age and current state.
Check out the video below for more details on the work that’s been done so far. Comment what you think would be the best upgrades (new tires are a given, obviously) and check out what’s coming up in this year’s Cheap Jeep challenge.