1948 Willys CJ-2A Jeep
The Jeep CJ models are both a series and a range of small, open-bodied off-road vehicles and compact pickup trucks, built and sold by several successive incarnations of the Jeep automobile marque from 1945 to 1986. The 1945 Willys Jeep was the world's first mass-produced civilian four-wheel drive car.
In 1944, Willys-Overland, one of the two main manufacturers of the World War II military Jeep, built the first prototypes for a commercial version – the CJ, short for "civilian Jeep". From then on, all CJ Jeeps consistently had a separate body and frame, rigid live axles with leaf springs both front and rear, a tapering nose design with flared fenders, and a fold-flat windshield, and could be driven without doors. Also, with few exceptions, they had part-time four-wheel drive systems, with the choice of high and low gearing, and open bodies with removable hard or soft tops.
After remaining in production through a range of model numbers, and several corporate parents, the Jeep CJ line was officially ended in 1986. More than 1.5 million CJ Jeeps were built, having continued the same basic body style for 45 years since the Jeep first appeared. Widely regarded as "America's workhorse", the CJs have been described as "probably the most successful utility vehicle ever made." American Motors VP Joseph Cappy said the end of "CJ production will signal an end of a very important era in Jeep history." The Jeep CJ-7 was replaced in 1987 by the similar-looking Jeep Wrangler.
The similar model, the DJ "Dispatcher" was introduced in 1956 as a two-wheel drive version with open, fabric, or a closed steel body in both left- and right-hand drives for hotel, resort, police, and later United States Postal Service markets.
On Wednesday April 13, 2022, the Connecticut Air & Space Center took ownership of a Willys 1948 CJ-2A Jeep from a fellow local non-profit organization. The Jeep had been restored by a gentlemen in Pennsylvania (who had restored multiple Jeeps in the past) and it found its way to Connecticut. Fixed with a hard shell winter top, and plow, this Jeep was ready for some harsh Connecticut winters. But the vehicle languished in place for many years. Upon acquiring the Jeep, it was sent to Bud's Trucking Service where it will receive some work to get it road worthy again. It is still uncertain what the Jeep will look like ultimately when finished. It may stay in it's current WWII military scheme, or be redone as an Bridgeport Flying Service "Follow Me" Jeep.
The Freedom Isn’t Free ride Foundation™:
The Freedom Isn’t Free ride Foundation™ is a non-profit organization which raises money to assist veterans who fall through the cracks and do not qualify for other assistance in getting housing. Married veterans without children are often not able to receive help in securing housing through programs currently in existence to service the veteran population. As a result of experiencing this first hand, Spc. Edgett founded the Freedom Isn’t Free Ride Foundation™ to "pay it forward" and help these veterans. Visit their site and help out if you can!
President Mark Corvino signs the deed of gift paperwork with archivist and fellow board member Dennis Soltis.