The CJ-3B Bookshelf

The CJ-3B Universal Jeep is overlooked or only briefly mentioned in many books about Jeeps, unfortunately including the otherwise detailed and well-illustrated history Jeep: The Unstoppable Legend by Arch Brown. Here are reviews of a few other books to let you know how much they have to say about the CJ-3B. -- Derek Redmond

CoverTimeless Mahindra by Adil Jal Darukhanawala

This huge coffee table volume is the largest, most detailed book on Jeeps that I'm aware of. The specific subject is Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and the Jeeps they build in India. CJ-3B fans will love the hundreds of photos of the many 3B variations produced there from 1954 to 2004. See Timeless Mahindra for more details. -- Derek

Jeep: Warhorse, Workhorse & Boulvard Cruiser by David Fetherston

A friend of mine gave me this Jeep picture book. The CJ-3B gets a passing mention (one short paragraph that calls it a "strange looking model") and no picture. Tossed it aside. -- Joe Evans

Jeep by Jim Allen

When Jim Allen's Illustrated Buyer's Guide: Jeep (see below) was published, CJ3B.info posted larger, color versions of some of the black & white photos from the book in the Jeep Buyer's Guide Photo Gallery. We certainly didn't need to do that for this later book; the many photos are huge (10"x14"), full-color and well-reproduced. Some have been seen before in his other books or articles, but never like this. And many, including lots showing vehicles from Jim Marski's Historic Civilian Jeeps Collection in Colorado, are brand new. The book is laid out just the way I like a coffee-table book, with detailed captions for each photo making browsing easy and interesting. The body text is not the definitive story of Jeep -- there isn't room for that -- but it is well-researched and includes lots of new bits of information (particularly in the early parts of the story). The important facts about the CJ-3B are included, and the B is well-represented by photos of John Hubbard's '54 (90K JPEG) and Adam Charnok's '63 (100K JPEG). -- Derek

Jeep: From Bantam to Wrangler, by Bill Munro

One thing that makes this Jeep history book stand out is an emphasis on Jeeps in Britain; not surprising, since it was written and published in the UK. See for example a page on J-20 trucks used by a British fire brigade (100K JPEG). And the book discusses other overseas Jeep variations and the corporate maneuvering they resulted from. But Munro also provides perhaps the best recounting so far of the story of the Jeep corporation from WWII to the present. Of particular interest to CJ-3B fans, is his description of the Kaiser-Willys merger and the development of the CJ-4 and CJ-3B. Unfortunately he has not thoroughly documented his sources, so one has to take some of his version of events as speculation. -- Derek

The Jeep in Sweden, by Stig Edqvist

It takes a he-man to buy an expensive book in a language he doesn't understand, but this might be a case where the money is well spent. If you are interested in the whole scope of military and civilian Jeeps then it is a wonderful document. Very few of these period photos of civilian Jeeps have been reproduced in North America. Each photo does have a short paragraph in English so it is possible to follow the gist of the book. Combined with a general knowledge of Jeep history from other sources this book can be "read" fairly well without knowing Swedish. Stig Edqvist, the author, has assembled an amazing collection of photographs (at least twenty-two CJ-3B photos). See some excerpts from The Jeep in Sweden. -- Bart McNeil

Jeeps, by Thomas Streissguth

Jeeps could have been titled "My First Jeep Book", where the format is a miniature version of the coffee table Jeep book but with an emphasis on Jeep vocabulary, with highlighted words such as "four-wheel drive" and "amphibious". The 48 pages of large type surprisingly include a glossary, suggestions for further reading, photo credits, and an index. Also an archival CJ-3B photo (70K JPEG) I haven't seen anywhere else. If one can see past several historical inaccuracies and some faulty photo captions (and get past the Wrangler emphasis), the book reads like a father telling his son/daughter the history of the Jeep. Not bad. -- Reed Cary

The Story of Jeep, by Patrick R. Foster

I managed to orchestrate getting three Jeep books as Father's Day gifts, including The Story of Jeep, First Edition. Despite shortcomings such as bad grammar, incorrect photo captions (the worst is a CJ-3A identified as a 3B) and insulting remarks (a photo of a 3B is captioned "Front end styling of CJ-3B looked a bit odd.") it is a very complete narrative history of Jeep vehicles from Bantam to 1998. It gives due coverage to the 3B and discusses the role of licensed manufacture of Jeeps overseas. It's definitely worth reading. -- Ed Freniere (Note: The 2004 2nd Edition, pictured here, added more on the CJ-3B.)

Off Road Jeeps, Civilian & Military, 1944-1971, by R.M Clarke

This informative large-format paperback from Brooklands Books is a collection of magazine articles, brochures, and specs sheets for various civilian and, particularly, military Jeeps. CJ-3B items included are the Kaiser sheet of specs and modifications of the M606 military version, and a black & white reproduction of the 1962 CJ-3B brochure. There's also a lot of material on the M151 MUTT and the M422 Mighty Mite, and some information that may not be available anywhere else, on the CJV-35 Navy version of the CJ-3A. -- Derek

Illustrated Buyer's Guide: Jeep, by Jim Allen

The Jeep Buyer's Guide is probably the most accurate and complete description of the Jeep line written to date. It's not a repair manual, it's not a coffee-table picture book, and it may not include all the historical anecdotes, but it's a good read and it's an essential reference book. Each well-illustrated chapter describes the development of a Jeep model, and concludes with a summary of specifications for the model, list of factory options, paint colours, serial numbers and engine numbers, chronology of major changes, and collectibility notes. For large full-colour verions of some of the black & white photos of various models in the book, see our Illustrated Jeep Buyer's Guide Photo Gallery.

Note: the 2004 MBI Collector's Library reprint was retitled simply Jeep, which makes things a bit confusing since there a few books with the same title, including a coffee table book also by Jim.

By the way, the Jeep chapter in Jim's earlier Illustrated Buyer's Guide: Classic 4x4s, is a long one, and unlike most Jeep histories, it includes several CJ-3B photos (64K JPEG). There is a well-researched list of models and estimated values for each model in various conditions. -- Derek

Standard Catalog of Jeep 1940-2003 by Patrick Foster

As the title would suggest, this is more of a reference work than an entertaining read, but the large number of photos (many in color, but only a handful of small black & white CJ-3Bs) are interesting to browse through. Rather than devoting a chapter to each model, as Jim Allen's Illustrated Buyer's Guide: Jeep does, Foster's book is doggedly chronological. He describes available models, specs, options, prices and corporate developments for each year, which makes for some repetition. He concludes with a chapter of photos of some of the concept vehicles which were never put into production, and a detailed guide to current values for all models. -- Derek

Service Manual: Jeep Universal, Kaiser Jeep Corporation

Ask most long-time Jeep owners what is the indispensable book to have, and they will recommend the original Jeep service manual. Although some of its illustrations and specifications have been reprinted in the Haynes and Chilton repair manuals, it includes material you won't find anywhere else. Different editions have different front covers -- this red 1965 version includes details on the CJ-2A, 3A, 5, 5A, 6, 6A and DJ-3A, as well as the CJ-3B. Service Manuals are available in reprint form, or for a premium you can still find an original copy. You can also download it in PDF form at Willys Manuals. -- Derek

Jeep 1945-1987 Repair and Tuneup Guide, Chilton Books
Jeep CJ 1949-1986 Automotive Repair Manual, Haynes Publishing

Although the Chilton's book is cluttered with stuff pertaining to those new-fangled biscuit-fendered Jeeps, it seems to contain most of the same fixit info as the factory manual, and it could sure prove more valuable than a single factory manual, to those who own several models of Jeeps. It's also gobs less 'spensive, may be available locally, and is more geared to a back yard mechanic who may be lacking tools and common sense. But the index is always off the mark by at least several pages, and information is generally harder to look up than it should be. The Haynes equivalent is also OK, but in some cases, such as steering knuckles, refers you to your dealer. Hogwash! Get back under that Jeep 'til she purrs like a kitten again. Most dealers don't even know what a CJ-3B is, fergoshsakes! -- Jon Paulsen

Four-Wheeler's Bible by Jim Allen

The 2nd Edition of Jim Allen's essential reference book doesn't have a lot to say about the CJ-3B or even Jeeps specifically, but two things make it worthy of inclusion on this page. First, if you had to take a test to get a license to drive offroad, this would be the textbook; there's a lot here you should know if you're taking your 3B into the boonies. Second, the new edition includes Jim's interesting ratings of all 4x4 vehicles built between 1960 and 2008. The CJ-3B thus represents the flatfender Jeep, and Jeep fans will no doubt find plenty of material for discussion in how it compares for on-road performance, off-road performance, and modification potential, to such varied vehicles as the 60's IH Scout, 80's 4Runner, and 90's Land Rover Disco.

With his experience as mechanic and offroad driving instructor, his vast archive of photos from years of documenting the four-wheeling scene, and his entertaining writing style, Jim Allen is probably the only person who could have written this book. The publisher's blurb stresses the book's coverage of mechanical modifications, and the new edition is indeed updated to reflect new trends in buildup tech. But it also includes extensive coverage of essential equipment, basic and advanced driving techniques, field repairs, safety, and recovery (winching). The sections on advanced driving and recovery benefit in particular from the 32 pages added since the original version.

When it was first published, the Four-Wheeler's Bible won an award for visual design, but that hasn't discouraged the publisher from investing in improvements that make the design cleaner and clearer. This book is fun to read, as well as potentially a lifesaver for you or your Jeep, and is recommended for all Jeep owners who plan to venture off the pavement. -- Derek

Jeep Owner's Bible, by Moses Ludel

This is another pretty comprehensive Jeep repair guide, along with chapters on history, buying a used Jeep, off-road driving, and modifications (40K JPEG). The CJ-3B and F-head engine are covered, and there is a lot of basic information for the neophyte Jeep mechanic. I often look to this book first because of that, and because of the personal touch in Ludel's writing. But he does suck up to Chrysler quite a bit (this book has a Chrysler part number). The Bible covers all Jeep models, so it doesn't have the detail found in the factory service manuals or even in the Haynes or Chilton. -- Derek

Jeep Bible, by Granville King

I consider both "Jeep bibles" must haves. But Granville's is 10 times more entertaining, and if you're interested in keepin' it runnin' until a complete shop rebuild is needed, Granville's takes priority. He's the backyard mechanic King! I always consult this book before grabbing the conventional manuals, but you do need a regular manual as well, because he does not go into all details of remove this bolt first, that one second, torque specs, etc. In addition to another manual, you will need cold beer in order to follow the instructions -- he tells you specifically when to pop a cold one during the repair process. Although you won't find much mention of the CJ-3B specifically, he does acknowledge the improvements in styling the 3B has over earlier "flat hood Jeeps" by calling it "that high hood beauty." I haven't seen the new chapters added by Willy Worthy, covering the Wrangler era and performance modifications, which King had extremely conservative views on. -- Jon Paulsen

Sheep in a Jeep, by Nancy Shaw & Margot Apple

Why not something for the kids? Sheep in a Jeep, from Nancy Shaw's "Sheep" series, is a minor childrens' classic, recommended by educators. Although it's short and simple, it appeals to a wide variety of ages. Both the wordplay and the delightful illustrations of a (sort of) CJ-3B ensure that even adults won't tire of repeated readings:
"Sheep in a jeep on a hill that's steep.
Uh oh! The jeep won't go. (30K JPEG)
Sheep leap to push the jeep.
Sheep shove. Sheep grunt. Sheep don't think to look up front."

I won't tell you what happens next, but like so many Jeep adventures, it involves mud. -- Derek

Four-Wheel Drive, by David Hawcock

This is a suprising little Lift-the-Flap book. There is a lot more information here than is seen at first glance. For example, to answer the question "Why does a four-wheel drive have a winch?" (40K JPEG) one lifts the tree stump to reveal the response "In case it gets stuck in the mud." But, don't forget to look on the inside of the tree stump, where you find more detailed information: "Sometimes, if the ground is wet, the four-wheel drive may get stuck in the mud. Its strong metal winch can be tied around a tree to pull it out." Both the parent and child might learn a lot about off-road driving from this little book. Although the word jeep is never mentioned, the four-wheel drive vehicle in the book has an amazing resemblance to the CJ-3B. -- Dan Fedorko

More book reviews are welcome. -- Derek Redmond

Reprints of Parts, Service and Owner's Manuals are available from Original Reproductions.

Download Parts and Service Manuals at Willys Manuals.

See also CJ-3B Magazine Articles and CJ-3B Advertising and Literature.

Also on CJ3B.info, see a review of Preproduction Civilian Jeeps: 1944-1945 Models CJ-1 & CJ-2.

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Last updated 10 September 2022 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond