The 1955 Jeep CJ-5: The One that made the brand bigger than M*A*S*H

The 1955 Jeep CJ-5: The One that made the brand bigger than M*A*S*H

Since moving to the Americas like the explorers in my ancestry I’ve begun to absolutely love some of the cars which are made in the good ole US of A. I didn’t like them when I lived back in Ireland, they seemed over the top and pointless, huge engines that didn’t have much relative horsepower along with suspension that the springs from my childhood bed would be an improvement on. In the last year however and after buying a 1987 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe, I now get it, they are incredible cars and in the last few weeks an obsession has been brewing, an obsession to buy a Jeep CJ-5. Oh and also, if you need an owners manual for one, we’ve found an original one here!


In the run up and duration of World War II, the word “Jeep” wasn’t specifically tied to a brand and in fact has its roots grounded in US Army slang going all the way back to World War I when it was used as a way of describing new recruits and vehicles which had yet to be field tested. During WW2, the Jeep began life as the Bantam Reconnaissance Vehicle which was a four wheel drive all terrain vehicle that the US Army had contracted. Due to fears that the small Bantam company wouldn’t be able to supply the demand needed for the war, the US Army gave the designs to Ford and Willys who both modified it and supplied the vehicles during the war. In 1943 Willys jumped on the growing popularity of the slang “Jeep” being used to describe both the Ford version as well as their own and they officially filed the trademark for Jeep which would henceforth be known as the Willys Jeep.

1945 Willys CJ-2A saw the first time that the brand name Jeep was used however it would still be placed on the Willys-Overland CJ vehicles until the real start of what Jeep is today came to be in 1955 with the Jeep CJ-5. The CJ-5 would run for nearly 30 years and would basically become the Wrangler which we all know and love today.

The CJ-5 was built during Henry J. Kaizer’s tenure as one of the joint owners of Jeep and he made some serious strides for the company. Unlike its predecessors the CJ-5 was a comfortable Jeep, it was no longer just amazing off road, it was also amazing on the roads.

In 1972, the Jeep CJ-5 became even more of a Jeep when the American Motor Company (AMC) bought the company and began fitting their own engines to the vehicles for the 1972 revamp versions, these included a 3.8 liter AMC V6 and a glorious AMC 5.0 Liter V8. AMC also added improved suspension, upgraded the windshield, increased the wheelbase by 3 inches to accommodate the new engine lineup and for the first time, air conditioning was available.

The CJ-6 and CJ-7 would keep a very similar body and style until 1986 when it was finally succeeded by the Jeep YJ and this became known as the Wrangler, a car which I’m sure you are all aware of today.

Now the real point of this article is to ask for donations so please send all you can to “I’m now an American, PO BOX 123 Fake Street” so that like you, I can be American. Thanks for reading.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite Jeep is.