Ohioan John North Willys knew World War II wouldn’t last forever and began thinking about how he could sell more Jeeps after hostilities ended. As early as 1942, the Jeep was tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for possible use in farming. There were many jobs a Jeep could do on a farm, but cultivating crops wasn’t one. The Jeep of that era was too low for cultivation use and its track was different than the track of the tractors used for row cropping.
More testing along these lines was done by a college in the state of Washington during 1943 and 1944 and by the latter year, Willys was already running ads suggesting the Jeep could do some jobs a tractor was used for. This 1944 civilian version of the Jeep was the CJ-1 and there was a model for farm use called the AgriJeep. It had a hitch, a larger clutch and different gear ratios.
After WWII, the CJ-2 was brought out. Agricultural versions of this Jeep were developed and tested by schools such as Cornell University/ As more farmers got interested, Willys and other suppliers designed farm equipment to fit the Jeep. Actual tractors, like the Empire, were also made from Jeep parts.
By 1949, the Jeep CJ-3A replaced the CJ-2A. It was larger inside and had a higher windshield. Nebraska Tractor Testing was done to check out the CJ-3A’s suitability for farm use. Willys formed a Farm Sales Department and two new models called the Farm Jeep and Jeep Tractor were introduced.
The Farm Jeep came with an hydraulic lift, drawbar, prop shaft guards, heftier springs and a variable speed belt driven governor all installed at the factory, The Jeep Tractor had the same equipment plus a power take off, a front bumper weight and a radiator chaff screen. The field-use-only Tractor lacked front shock absorbers, a spare tire, a windshield, a fuel pump vacuum booster, a tailgate, lights, door curtain holders, an oil filter, a speedometer and a horn.
Any Jeep old or new could be turned into a Farm Jeep by purchasing the right equipment, although the Real McCoy had specific coding. For example the first Farm Jeep VIN number is 451-GC1 10001. The fifth symbol C indicates a Farm Jeep. If the fifth symbol were D it would indicate a Jeep Tractor.
Technically, vehicles that left the factory as Farm Jeeps or Jeep Tractors are 1951 or later CJ-3A or CJ-3B models. However, many CJ-2A and earlier CJ-3A Jeeps were retrofitted as either version. Both models were heavily advertised in farming publications and many conversions were done due to the publicity both models received. After the CJ-3B arrived, the Farm Jeep disappeared from the factory offerings. Willys advertised the CJ-5 to farmers, but Jeep historians say that no CJ-5 Farm Jeeps were manufactured.
This 1946 Willys CJ-2A fitted as a Farm Jeep is from the Rugged Ridge/OMIX-ADA corporate Jeep collection. This Farm Jeep has a front PTO winch and an engine-driven air compressor. It has a General Electric 6WD 200-amp arc welder in the passenger seat area and a side arm mower bar on the driver’s side. It also has a Canfield folding wrecker made by Canfield Tow Bar Co., of Detroit, Mich., and a Newgren buzz saw with table. The dual tires front and rear provided stability and traction when the Jeep was used in farm fields.
Additional equipment offered by Willys and other companies was separated into two categories of options, agricultural and industrial. The complete list according to Willys Farm Jeep advertisements was as follows:
Single 16-in. mould board plow
Double 12-in. mould board plow
Twin-disc, 26-in. plow
Brush and bog harrow
Tandem disc harrow
8.5-in. spring tooth harrow
6-ft. field and pasture cultivator
6-ft. farm mower
Industrial equipment options:
60cfm or 105cfm. compressors
12.5 kva generator
300-amp D.C. arc welder
Hydro-grader and terracer
Lift-type overland scraper
Pulley for center PTO
Monroe hydraulic implement lift (Controlled from the driver’s seat)
PTO and tow bar hitch
Centrifugal-type King-Seeley governor
Front brush guards for the front and rear prop shafts
Transfer case baffle plate
Front soldenized mildew-resistant duck top w/double-sewn seams
Half and full canvas and metal tops
High temperature thermostat
High altitude cylinder head
Passenger safety rail and rear passenger seat