The Jeep CJ6 came on the scene in the latter part of 1955, soon after its sibling the CJ5's introduction to the public in October of 1954.
The only difference in the two Universal Jeeps was the length of their respective wheelbases.
The CJ6 was a full 20 inches longer than the CJ5 with a wheelbase of 101 inches to the CJ5's 81 inches.
Compare the Jeep CJ6 with the CJ5
Now... one might think that the longer roomier CJ6 would be a great hit with the public after
enduring the stubby little CJ's over the previous 10 years.
Well that would probably be true today with the apparent success of the longer
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited,
but for some reason the CJ6 just couldn't keep market pace with the CJ5.
One possible reason might be that Kaiser-Willys (eventually called Kaiser-Jeep), and later the American Motors Corporation (AMC) focused much of their marketing of the CJ6 as a work vehicle.
By that time there was ample competition among other major "truck" and utility manufacturers
who were providing significantly more cargo and human space in their vehicles than the spartan CJ6...with near equal capabilities...at least in the work environment.
Adan's 1965 CJ6...click photo for more!
By 1972 Both the CJ6 and the CJ5 were lengthened another 3 inches each to accommodate American Motors
larger, more powerful engines.
The two Jeeps shared everything except length. Initially they were available with the Kaiser/Willys 4 cylinder (134 c.i.) F-head engine as standard with an optional V6 (Buick Dauntless 225 c.i.) or 4-cylinder (192 c.i.) diesel.
Later, new owners American Motors Corporation, installed a GM and soon after, an AMC 4-cylinder engine as base standard, while the AMC in-line sixes (232 c.i. or 258 c.i.) and V8 (304 c.i.) were options.
The CJ6 could carry up to 8 tightly packed passengers (workers) with its optional side mounted
rear seats, or haul over 1500 pounds of cargo.
The domestic elongated CJ6 was finally put to rest by the end of 1975, however they were evidently exported to other countries, and built under license by non-American distributors possibly as late as 1982.
Today the Jeep CJ6 is a good collectible with good value especially since its production
numbers were significantly less than the comparable CJ5.
I have always been partial to the longer (and slightly larger) Jeep Universals,
simply from a practical standpoint. A bit more cargo and passenger space makes sharing
the back country and deserts more enjoyable in my opinion.
The extra 20 inches of length with the CJ6 translated into more utility and function
in many environments other than those dominated by the shorter CJ5's, not to mention the
slight improvement in stability and safety.
So... to the question...Is longer less?
It all depends on your perspective...given a choice between the same year CJ5 and CJ6..I would
personally choose the Jeep CJ6...all things being equal.
Craig's Pristine 1956 Willys CJ6 Show Jeep...click photo for more!