How did the Jeep CJ3B have such a long run in the Civilian Jeep marketplace from 1953 through 1968?
Well, the simple answer would be because Willys-Overland, and then Kaiser-Willys (the new owner in April 1953) sold a lot of them.
The odd thing is that Kaiser-Willys introduced the extremely popular Jeep CJ5 only 2 years after developing the CJ3B and both vehicles were built and sold side-by-side from 1955 until the CJ3B was retired in 1968.
However, the CJ3B held on to most of the basic Military "Universal" design with the exception of a "bloated" hood so that a taller F-Head engine would fit. It retained the traditional flat front fenders, and although more "civilized" still looked much like the original Army Jeeps.
As a matter of fact the civilian CJ3B production run ended in 1964, but was continued as a military Jeep called the M-606 from 1965 through 1968.
(To see more on the early Willys, Bantam and Ford Military Jeeps...Click Here!)
Again, just 2 years into the production of the CJ3B Kaiser Willys introduced the CJ5 in 1955 with "rounded" front fenders, which gave the new Jeep much the look it would carry with it through today.
So, again why did the CJ3B survive so long (16 model years) even up against its formidable sibling...the CJ5?
Well...it would seem that even though the popularity of the CJ5 cut drastically into the CJ3B's sales,
the CJ3B had become very popular in the export market to other countries.
Variations of the Jeep CJ3B were even produced in Japan (Mitsubishi), India (Mahindra and Mahindra), Spain (VIASA), and Columbia S.A. (Willco) as well as being exported throughout other world markets.
The CJ3B did not change much throughout its long tenure, however it came into the world in 1953 with the notable tall hood and the new more powerful F-head engine. In 1957 the electrical system was upgraded from 6-Volts to 12-volts.
A Farm Jeep version of the CJ3B was reportedly built in 1953 ending in 1954 apparently with only a total of less than 80 produced.
The Jeep CJ3B is evidently still in demand for collectors and re-builders, as parts and aftermarket accessories remain available.
I know that I would be happy to own one of these old flat fendered, tall nosed CJ's...anyday!
Partially Restored 1954 Willys CJ3B
Sandeep's 1955 Willys CJ3B..(Click Photo for More Detail)