The lessons learned with the CJ-2 led to the development of the first full-production CJ, the 1945-1949 Willys-Overland CJ-2A. The CJ-2A looked very much like a civilianized MB with a tailgate and side-mounted spare tire. A distinct difference between the MB and the CJ-2A lay in the grilles of the two vehicles. Where the MB had recessed headlights and nine-slot grilles, the CJ-2A had larger, slightly bulging headlights, flush-mounted in a seven-slot grille.
Production of the CJ-2A started on 17 July 1945, sharing production time with the MB – roughly 9000 more MBs were produced through September 1945.
Since the CJ-2A was primarily intended for farming, ranching, and industrial applications, stock CJ-2As only came with a driver seat and driver side mirror, and a wide variety of options was available, such as: front passenger seat, rear seat, center rear-view mirror, canvas top etc.
Since the CJ-2A was primarily intended for farming, ranching, and industrial applications, stock CJ-2As only came with a driver seat and driver side mirror, and a wide variety of options was available, such as: front passenger seat, rear seat, center rear-view mirror, canvas top, front power take-off (PTO), rear PTO, belt pulley drive, capstan winch, governor, rear hydraulic lift, snow plow, welder, generator, mower, disc, front bumper weight, heavy-duty springs, dual vacuum windshield wipers (stock CJ-2As were equipped with a manual wiper on the passenger side and a vacuum wiper on the driver side), dual taillights (stock CJ-2As had a taillight on the driver side and a reflector on the passenger side), hot-climate radiator, driveshaft guards, heater, side steps, and radiator brush guard.
CJ-2As were produced with unique, lively color combinations that in some ways symbolized the hope and promise of postwar America. From 1945 to mid-1946, CJ-2As were only available in two color combinations: Pasture Green with Autumn Yellow wheels and Harvest Tan with Sunset Red wheels. Additional color combinations added in mid-1946 were: Princeton Black with Harvard Red or Sunset Red wheels, Michigan Yellow with Pasture Green, Sunset Red or Americar Black wheels, Normandy Blue with Autumn Yellow or Sunset Red wheels, and Harvard Red with Autumn Yellow or Americar Black wheels. The Pasture Green and Harvest Tan combinations were dropped later in 1946. The Harvard Red combinations were dropped in 1947 and replaced with Picket Gray with Harvard Red wheels, and Luzon Red with Universal Beige wheels. In 1948, these color combinations were also added: Emerald Green with Universal Beige wheels, Potomac Gray with Harvard Red or American Black wheels. For 1949, the Picket Gray, Michigan Yellow, and Normandy Blue combinations were dropped. Olive drab was also available for export models.
A total of 214,760 CJ-2As were produced. Because of the use of military production parts on the earliest CJ-2As, and the many changes made during its early production, restorers and collectors refer to CJ-2As up to around serial no. 34,530 as "Very Early Civilian" and from mid-1946 to about mid-1947 as "Early Civilian". Only minor changes were made after the mid-1947 models.
*Legendary 1941 does not own any of the pictures captured in this article. All rights to original owners.