1973 Jeep CJ 5 / Photos, Specifications, Model Details

This article is about the very popular 1973 Jeep CJ 5. The Jeep CJ 5 had a very good production run from 1955 to 1883 and was the prelude to today’s popular array of Jeep models. There are few vehicles as universally iconic as the Jeep.

jeep cj 5
1973 Jeep CJ-5

The Jeep Evolves from a Military Vehicle to a Popular CJ Models

Willys-Overland’s produced the first Civilian Jeep (CJ) in 1945. During the last months of World War Two, the company began putting together plans for a civilian model of their military style Jeep. Willys-Overland understood that there was excellent sales potential for a “Civilian Jeep” which is what the “CJ” letters stood for.

Because the Army needed as many Jeeps as possible during the war, American Bantam, Willys and Ford were given contracts for building the vehicles. American Bantam could not meet the Army’s daily production quota therefore they gave their blueprints to Ford and Willys. Ford was also authorized to use the Willys design and as a whole the two companies built about 700,000 Jeeps for the war effort.

To be sure, the first civilian Jeep models were relatively sparse. The CJ-2A base model came with only a driver’s seat, a vacuum operated windshield wiper on the driver’s side and a hand operated wiper on the passenger side. As sparse as the base model was, there were several options that could be added. One of these options was a passenger seat as well as a rear seat, a canvas top, drivers side rear view mirror and a center mounted rear view mirror.

In 1949 Jeep unveiled their CJ 3A model. This model was an upgraded version of the CJ-2A and came with the same engine and gearbox offerings. Upgraded items included the suspension as well as a one piece windshield. The Jeep CJ-3A was produced until 1953 which was also the year that Kaiser Motors took over Willys. In 1953 the Jeep CJ-3B was introduced by Kaiser and lasted in production until 1968. This represented a very impressive fifteen year run.

As a side note, a CJ4 model was produced as a one-off in 1951. This one-off was a cross between the CJ-3A and the CJ5. Of significance is that this prototype showed that Willys was looking to further modernize the Jeep’s styling.

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 The New Jeep CJ 5

The Jeep CJ 5 was actually introduced for the 1955 model year however these first CJ5’s were built for the military and it would be 1964 before civilian models would be offered.

This new Jeep model featured softer styling lines and rounded body contours. The Cj5 was based on the 1952 Korean War M-38A1. The Jeep CJ-5 however was a much better vehicle being more versatile, more comfortable and with very good off road capability.

The new Jeep CJ-5 had an increased wheelbase and overall outside length compared to the CJ-3B. The CJ 5 with it’s 83.5 inch wheelbase along with a better performing engine made the model perfect for off road driving which itself was increasing in popularity.

Eventually, we see the Jeep evolve through the 1970s with more colors and body styles than ever before, courtesy of American Motors, which bought Willys-Overland in 1970. The first Jeep Wrangler, the YJ, was introduced in 1986 and built with some components from the first generation Jeep Cherokee.

The 1973 Jeep CJ5

American Motors Corporation took over Kaiser Jeep in 1970 and this would bring some changes to the Jeep models.

Beginning in 1973, all Jeep CJ models were offered an AMC-built 304 cubic inch V8 engine delivering 150 horsepower.

The Jeep CJ-5 had a very successful thirty year production run. This represented the longest production run of any Jeep model and with production plants in several foreign countries.

Chrysler bought American Motors in 1987 and turned the Jeep brand into the big success that it is today.

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1973 Jeep CJ 5 Specifications

Three engines were offered with the 1973 CJ 5. These were a 232 cubic inch straight six, a 258 cubic inch straight six and an AMC 304 cubic inch V-8. The AMC 304 V-8’s began to be phased into Jeep models starting in 1971. Horsepower respectively was 100, 110, 150.

Transmissions offered with the 1973 Jeep CJ5 were a three speed manual and four speed manual.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions for the 1973 Jeep CJ5 include a 83.5 inch wheelbase, overall length of 138.2 inches, width 68.5 inches and height 67.7 inches. Curb weight 2,465 lbs.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are on the links below..

The Willys MB

1968 Jeepster 

1950 Willys Station Wagon

Reference material for this article includes..Jeep : Eight Decades From Willys to Wrangler by Patrick R. Foster…The Jeep : History of a World War II Legend by David Dalet..Jeep : The History of America’s Greatest Vehicle by Patrick R. Foster.

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The 1973 Jeep CJ 5 Collector Vehicle

The Jeep CJ-5’s still had the classic styling of earlier Jeeps with some upgrades. While the first CJ-5’s were produced for the military, the civilian built CJ5’s starting in 1972 were built ,after making some changes, for mass production and then marketing to the public as a civilian vehicle for the average person.

In contrast to the early Ford Bronco’s which currently are selling at very high prices (six figures), the Jeep CJ5’s are found today with more modest price tags.

Current asking prices for 1973 Jeep CJ 5 in excellent condition and highly original might be in a range from about $28,000 to $40,000. Models in relatively good condition are listed in a range from about $15,000 to $28,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)