1953-1956 Jeep

By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

1953 Jeep CJ-3B

So, on January 28, 1953, the Jeep CJ-3B appeared. The hood line was raised in order to accommodate the taller engine. Proportions were thus altered, making the CJ-3B a rather odd-looking machine, wearing what might be termed a "perpetually startled expression" with its high-riding headlamps. The same was true of the corresponding military unit, the M606.

The difference in performance, however, was substantial. Horsepower -- listed in the CJ-3A as 60 at 4,000 rpm -- was raised at the same engine speed to 75, a 25-percent increase. Torque was boosted as well, from 106 to 114 pounds-feet. This increase was particularly useful at the lower engine speeds so critical in many applications.


Another improvement in the CJ-3B was a new transfer case, said to offer longer life and quieter operation. All in all, the CJ-3A was three pounds heavier than CJ-3B and was $25 more costly. Little enough to pay for 25 percent more horsepower and 9 percent more torque.

By 1955 there was another new civilian Jeep, the famous CJ-5. This model, based on the MD-MB38 A1 military jeep, was announced on October 11, 1954. However, there were some major changes made in converting the CJ-5 to civilian use.

Headlights received a chrome surround and extended slightly from the grille. The military-spec, black-out lights were replaced by conventional parking lights. Also, the military's 24-volt electrical system was replaced by a 6-volt system.

The most visible difference between the CJ-5 and the CJ-3B was the curve of the new front fenders. The frame was fully boxed and a cross member was added to increase the strength, rigidity, and carrying capacity of the CJ-5. Sheet metal was fully flanged and overlapped all around, also to increase strength. In addition, the ride was slightly altered by an increase of one inch in wheelbase (up to 81 inches) and softer front springs in conjunction with stiffer rear springs.

At 135.5 inches, overall length was up almost six inches from the CJ-3B. The new CJ-5, at 71.75 inches, was also three inches wider than the CJ-3B, although weight was up only modestly at 2274 pounds. The one-piece windshield of the CJ-5 was nearly 100 square inches larger than the CJ-3E, and the driver's-side mirror was mounted to the windshield support base. Continue to the next page to learn about Jeep's Station Wagon.

For more information on Jeeps, see:

  • History of Jeep
  • Consumer Guide New Jeep Prices and Reviews
  • Consumer Guide Used Jeep Prices and Reviews