The Jeep CJ, precursor to the more contemporary Jeep Wrangler, began its long automotive run as a military vehicle in the mid-1900s. A rugged, virtually bomb-proof SUV with an emphasis on utility, the CJ- standing for Civilian Jeep"- is a two-door, 4-wheel drive convertible with seating for four. Removable doors and a removable windshield allow four-wheelers to strip down the CJ to just the essentials when venturing into punishing off-road adventures.
The original Willys World War II military jeep, designed by Detroit engineer Karl Probst, was equipped with a "Go Devil" 63-horsepower engine. The CJ-2s built for public consumption through the end of the 1940s were powered by virtually identical Go Devils. Jeep CJ models spanning the period from 1954 through 1983 had Willys Hurricane F-head 14 engines, ranging in size from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder to a 5-liter V8, offering a choice of 3- or 4-speed manual transmissions. The majority of Jeep CJs came out of a Toledo, Ohio assembly plant.
The Jeep CJ was based on the Willys military vehicle commonly used during World War II. Willys-Overland manufactured the CJ for the public market from 1944 until 1953, at which time Kaiser-Jeep took over the vehicle's production. In 1970, the Jeep CJ underwent another change of manufacturer when American Motors Corporation acquired rights to produce the model. AMC fitted the CJ with its 100 horsepower, inline-6 engine as standard equipment and offered an upgrade to a 150 horsepower V8. Throughout its history, the CJ retained its signature body style, which may be the primary reason for its enduring popularity. The final CJ to roll off the AMC assembly line was the CJ-7, which the automaker discontinued in 1986 in favor of the Wrangler model.
During the post-World War II era, the CJ-2A was marketed as a farming and industrial vehicle, and Willys-Overland offered an extensive list of accessories toward these purposes. A belt pulley drive, a winch, a rear hydraulic lift, and a snowplow are just some of the snap-ons available for optimizing the CJ's workhorse personality. Notable trim lines include "Tuxedo Park;" a mid-60s offering that included a step-up to chrome accoutrements, leatherette bucket seats, and designer color combinations in an effort to class up the utilitarian aesthetic that describes the Jeep.
The CJ-5 had the longest span of any CJ model, and was in production from 1954 through 1983. Individual CJ-5 trims included Renegade I and II, Tuxedo Park Mark III, Super Jeep, Golden Eagle, and Golden Hawk. In 1979, AMC released a special Silver Anniversary Limited Edition of a scant 1,000 vehicles. A second limited edition, the Jamboree, came out in 1982 with a production total of 2,500 Jeeps.
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