CJ2A with a Ford 302 V-8

by Art Northrup, Jr.
(Charlotte, NC)


Many years ago I lived in Indiana and my job had me traveling all over the state. One day I stopped at a service station in Lafayette, near Purdue Univ. and saw a 1947 CJ2A for sale. It belonged to the son of the man who owned the station. The son worked there but wanted to go to Purdue. The Jeep had been a project, but the son was trying to raise $$$ to pay for college, so he was selling off just about everything he had.


Father and son had taken a Ford 302 engine and radiator out of a 1972 Mustang and shoehorned them into into the CJ2A. The Jeep was driveable but not finished. It had a 12-volt battery to start the engine, but still had 6-volt generator and lights. They had made an adapter to mate the 302 engine to the original 3-speed transmission, but the crankshaft centerline and transmission input shaft didn't line up exactly right.

The price was so low I had to buy that old Jeep, even knowing how much work I'd have to do. I called Advance Adapters to see it they made a bell-housing for a Ford 302 that would match up with the original transmission and they did. Then I took the 6-volt generator to an automotive electric shop to see if there was a 12-volt version. Yes, they had a rebuilt one and took my 6-volt generator as a trade-in.

I knew the Ford 302 engine would easily overpower the original driveline, but I had a LOT of fun with that rascal! When a friend with an F-250 4x4 pickup jacked up with 37" tires and I went to play off-road I had to pull him out of a hole. Later I beat a Corvette in a stoplight-to-stoplight drag race, but broke the transfer case.

I've had other Jeeps since then, a 1973 pickup, a 1977 Cherokee Chief and a 1979 pickup. Loved all of 'em, but wish I'd kept the 1947 Willys CJ2A and upgraded the driveline to handle the V8 power.

Now I drive a Ram 2500HD 4x4 with the Cummins diesel engine, but it won't go places a V8 powered CJ2A will go!

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