by Gerald Oswald
I am in Butler, Pennsylvania, the home of the Bantam Jeep. My '63 CJ-3B has been my plow Jeep for around 15 years, and it is the family rig now. It appears to be a service station model, with fresh-air heater, 15" split rims, and plow; it served plow duties in western PA.
Here is a photo with the family prior to the rehab and repaint I did on the Jeep a couple of years ago. See also the rear view photo (150K JPEG) from the December 2008 cover page, and a plowing action shot (50K JPEG).
Rust, age, reliability and safety became problems, and I added a tractor with a plow to my stable, so it was time to implement a plan.
I took it down to the frame, cleaning or rebuilding just about everything. CJ3B.info kept me going though this stage.
I decided to use the original front end, and a repro tub. I'm sure I had 150 hours into working that tub... enough said. Originally Fountain Green, I painted it a commercial Forest Green (60K JPEG). The black parts are mil-spec powder coating.
Between my Dad, brother and me, we have had quite a spread of Jeeps:
I wanted this Jeep to have the best of all things JEEP -- it was not meant to be a restoration or a military knock-off. Just a solid performer, built on Willys tradition. So along with my brother I built a custom cage with mounts to the frame, M-151 gauge panel, an M38 top set-up and tail gate, MB grab handles, and early 5 seats.
P.S. The decal on the dash is from 60's military vehicles and has many words to live by (80K JPEG).
I fabricated a class 3 hitch for the rear, and electric winch up front. The suspension got good springs and shocks, dual master cylinder, big brakes, overdrive, and limited slip differentials. The motor has a Solex, electronic ignition and an alternator.
We have had a good time with it this year at shows and in the mud. Here is a summer shot of the Jeep balancing at an event.
I've got the 3B mudding again since then, so the new shine is no longer. I just finished my mini Goodyear Terra tire project (200K JPEG) with Appliance turbine wheels from 1976.
I'm sure it will give us many years of service. The plow will return, this time for fun, along with a full top, a Bantam trailer and an old time CB.
Thanks to Gerald for the story and photos. -- Derek Redmond
See photos of Gerald's Jeep on the Caravan to Cuyahoga at the 2013 Spring Willys Reunion.
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