CJ-2A: Intro & General Specs - The JeepsterMan

CJ-2A: Intro & General Specs

Tech Specs CJ-2A: Introduction, Serial Numbers & General Specifications

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CJ-2A 1945-1949: Unveiling the Legacy

In the wake of World War II, the Willys-Overland CJ-2A emerged as a beacon of resilience, embodying a transformative shift in vehicular history. Debuting in 1945, the CJ-2A, or Civilian Jeep, was not merely an automotive release but a symbol of post-war rejuvenation. Crafted to meet the needs of returning veterans and farmers, this utilitarian masterpiece transcended its mechanical form to become an enduring icon of American ingenuity.

Spanning from its inception in 1945 to the culmination of production in 1949, the CJ-2A etched its mark on every passing year. Retaining the formidable lineage of its military predecessors, the Willys MB and Ford GPW Jeeps, the CJ-2A seamlessly amalgamated rugged functionality with civilian practicality.

Evolution Through the Years:

1945-Mid 1946: Dawn of a New Era

Introduced as the first mass-produced civilian off-road vehicle, the 1945 CJ-2A embodied a tangible shift from wartime functionality to post-war adaptability. While paying homage to its military lineage, it introduced distinctive features such as a tailgate, side-mounted spare tire, and a simplified civilian dashboard. Notably, military indentations for an axe and shovel, a power take-off (PTO), column shift, military-style windshield adjusting arms, a short back seat, front bumper gussets, and recessed parking lights were identifying features during this period.

Mid 1946-1947: Innovations Unveiled 

In a continuous quest for improvement, mid-1946 brought forth a wave of innovations. The CJ-2A now boasted a 3-point hydraulic system, a floor-type shifter, a longer back seat, "Lollipop" style windshield adjusting arms, and a pivot arm attached to the front crossmember – all distinctive features characterizing this pivotal period of production. Vibrant colors adorned its exterior, complementing a redesigned steering wheel and an upgraded transmission. 1947 witnessed the introduction of a synchronized second gear, enhancing the driving experience.

1949-Early 1950: Bridging to the Future

As the years progressed, the CJ-2A underwent a subtle yet significant transformation. Bodies of CJ-2A models were fitted with CJ-3A frames, signifying a crossover into CJ-3A production. This transition marked a seamless integration of features, showcasing the adaptability and continuous evolution of the CJ-2A.


Beyond its historical significance, the CJ-2A emerged as a multifaceted vehicle catering to both practical and recreational needs. From plowing fields and hauling equipment on farms to serving as an exploration companion for outdoor enthusiasts, its versatility knew no bounds. Ranchers, construction workers, and postal services alike recognized its reliability in traversing challenging terrains.


Photo provided by: Willys Jeep Rally Show & Swap Meet

Civilian and Military Use:

Designed primarily for civilian use, the CJ-2A's uncanny resemblance to its military predecessors led to some military applications. Though overshadowed by purpose-built military models, the CJ-2A found roles in non-combat functions, serving on military bases for transportation, maintenance tasks, and training.

In encapsulating the dynamic history of the CJ-2A, one witnesses not just an evolution of a vehicle but a transformation of purpose. The Willys-Overland CJ-2A stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of progress, embodying the essence of post-war America and the birth of a timeless automotive legacy.

General Specifications and Serial Numbers:

Dimensions and Weight:

  • Length: 130 1/8” (3.3 m)
  • Width: 59” (149.8 cm)
  • Height: 69” (175 cm)
  • Curb Weight: 2,315 lb. (1,049 kg)
  • Tire Size: 6.00 x 16 (6 ply) approximately 30 psi
  • Wheelbase: 80” (203 cm)

Powertrain and Performance:

  • Engine: 4-134 “Go Devil” L-Head
  • Horsepower: 60 hp
  • Transmission: 3-speed, T-90
  • Maximum Speed: 45 to 50 mph (72 to 80 km/h)
  • Ground Clearance: 8.75 inches (22.2 cm)
  • Operational Range: 200 to 250 miles (322 to 402 km)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.5 US gallons (37.9 L)
  • Payload Capacity (On Road): 800 lb. (363 kg.)
  • Payload Capacity (Cross Country): 600 lb. (272 kg.)

Serial and Engine Numbers:
  • Serial Number Location(s): Behind front bumper on frame rail horn; Engine block typically on the passenger side near the oil filter; Firewall tag (varies by model year)
Willys Jeep CJ2A Serial Number by Year Chart
  • Engine Number Location: Stamped directly onto engine block outcropping on passenger side of the engine block near the oil filter housing.

    L head engine cj2a willys jeep

    Photo provided by: Fall Willys Reunion

    Stay tuned for Part 2 where we delve into detailed specifications for the CJ2A's 4-134 "Go Devil" L-Head engine. As well as maintenance tips for your engine systems. Keep the vintage Jeep spirit alive with Jeepsterman - your trusted source for authentic Jeep parts and knowledge. Subscribe now for the latest updates!

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