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Jim’s DJ-3A Restoration

• CATEGORIES: DJ-3A, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Colin shared these photos of Jim’s restoration. Looks great!

Colin writes, “Here are a few of photos of Jim Sullivan’s 1961 DJ3A Dispatcher.  The restoration on this little Jeep is fresh, like a month old now!   I will include a couple of photos of it when Jim bought it from Bob Tomson about 5 years ago and then a few that I took yesterday morning in front of an Ice Cream shoppe and antique store in Glendale AZ.

The engine and transmission were both rebuilt, all new wiring, upgraded upholstery, floor mats, carpet in the rear compartment, and a 1950s Willys Jeepster/station wagon steering wheel were added.  It has 15 inch powder coated wheels, but small VW size tires.  The paint is 1959 Ford truck blue, which is the same as Pepsi Cola blue.  It has the stock small hubcaps with the raised “W” in the middle.

It has what appears to all of us familiar with it, a reinforcing metal channel on top of the hood, right down over the center seam , which looks like it might have been a factory approved or even a factory installed item (See last photo).  It looks too good to be an aftermarket or homemade deal.  There weren’t any modifications showing to the underside of the hood and it appears to have been spot welded to the hood.  A professional looking addition, regardless of how it came to be there.”

Pics of Jim’s DJ-3A before the restoration:

IMGP1614 IMGP1615

After restoration (Note Colin’s Surrey in the background):Jim's-dj3a-3 Jim's-dj3a-2 Jim's-dj3a-1


16 Comments on “Jim’s DJ-3A Restoration

  1. DJ Bill

    Hmm… I wonder if perhaps it was part of a hood mounted spare kit? I don’t see any of the typical mounting locations being used on the body. I do have a NOS side spare extender here that allows the sliding door to be used with a side mounted spare but that tended to put the spare out in harms way….

    Beautiful job on a very seldom restored Willys…..You just might make them more collectible with that one. It seems most get used up as parts to rebuild other DJ models.

  2. Charles Tate

    Nice restoration!

    Guessing the stiffener might have been installed when the extra hood latches (now removed) were put on way back when.

  3. Mike Finegan

    Al right, here’s some “old school” knowledge about the trim strip down the middle of the hood. On these old 2 piece hoods, rain water would leak down on the flathead engine and pool around the spark plugs and short out the ignition which made it impossible to start. (my dad had this problem on his 3A) So a lot of guys just covered the seam and fixed the problem. We didn’t take it to the dealer, didn’t have to; a quick fix was always at hand.

  4. Colin Peabody

    OK, I’ll try to answer some of the questions. The item Marc is referring to is indeed a hood strengthening item. This DJ was originally painted Transport yellow and there were no signs of it being repainted or any touch ups on the original paint, so that leads us to believe that this part may have been installed from the factory or at least not long after. The center hood seam of these old Jeeps was a definite weak point and yes, water dripped down through them. This particular item would stop that from occurring, regardless of where it came from or who put it there. At some point in time a person began sanding on the body, but got discouraged and quit, making this Jeep look like a speckled pup.

    For DJBill, we didn’t find any indications that a spare tire carrier was ever mounted on the Jeep or on that hood strengthening item. If they used an extender it would put the spare way the heck out there…beware bicylcists!! It also did not have a spare tire mount on the tailgate area, as that would have hindered the operation of the upper portion of the rear door and tailgate. Jim fashioned a spare tire mount that puts the spare tire on the inside of the cabin, resting on top of the right rear wheel well, It doesn’t interfere with the operation of the door or tailgate and leaves the floor free of a large tire. The tire is covered with a vinyl cover. One thing this does have is a small factory installed holder on the inside of the body, attached to the right rear wheel housing, behind the passenger seat, at floor level that would hold a delivery folder, large notebook, whatever might have been necessary and useful. I had not seen one of these on a couple other DJ3As with the delivery body.

    For PapaC, the extra hood latches were removed, not sure if they were factory installed or done later, but most of the DJs only had the front latches on the sides of the hood or at least the ones I am familiar with. BTW, Charles, I haven’t forgotten the decals, just haven’t gotten over to talk to the guy about making some more. (Those are the vinyl decals that say Jeep Dispatcher on the side behind the fenders on each side.) What color , white or black?

    DJBill is right, too many of these have lost their cabs and the only thing remaining is the windshield frame work which simply screws to the body. This DJ has the door opening cut to the floor, while some of the early models still had the normal Jeep door opening behind the sliding door. By cutting the body at this angle, and extending the floor, it sure makes it easy to get in and out of for us old fogeys. Much easier than my Surrey or CJ3A.

    What Jim is looking for now is the rubber weatherstripping that attaches to the rear side of both doors. It is a “L” shape that the small leg of the “L” attaches to the inside panel of the door and the wider part then seals close to the body. If any of you might know where we can find this type, we would appreciate hearing from you. ( The weatherstrip on the DJ5 models is different.

  5. Mike Finegan

    A footnote to this on going discussion; Having owned a 1963 DJ3A in 1965, I know it didn’t have a spare tire mount. If I remember correctly, on this body style Dispatcher, it was not standard equipment. This style Dispatcher was popular in North Jersey for pizza and Chicken Delight deliveries with a Sterno oven placed neatly in the back cargo area. (no room for a spare anyway, so who needs it) So as the story goes, I bought the Dispatcher for $250.00 after the Sterno oven caught fire and melted both the plastic chicken and the fiberglass roof. At the time I broke my bank account and borrowed money from my little sister to buy a new roof panel for $120.00 including delivery. I was never able to find another plastic chicken. (Registered trademark of Chicken Delight) I love to tell this story; the older you get, the more you go down memory lane. Maybe one day after I’m long gone, this story will be part of Willys Jeep Folk Lore. Bare with me Folks, eventually you’ll learn to love these stories.

  6. Charles Tate

    I really like the way the color of the white sticker contrasts with the blue.

    I’m not sure what color blue mines going to be.

    I’m going to try to take a sample from the original blue paint underneath the bottom of the tub somewhere, polish or clear coat and then match my paint to that.

    Sooo, my vote is for white stickers just like on this one !!!

    Hope you find the weather strip!!!

  7. Greg

    Nice DJ. I was scanning these posts in hopes of finding reference to the Dispatcher decals found a few of these jeeps. So few in fact that I can’t seem to find a picture lately. I know I’ve seen them before, but lately I’m starting to wonder if it was an owner added accoutrement or factory correct. Colin Peabody referenced them in a post above. Does anyone know of a good photo of these decals or stencils? I’d like to add them to my jeep perhaps. Appreciate any thoughts or insights.
    thanks, Greg

  8. Mike Finegan

    OK, As usual, I’m going to put my two cents into the discussion. As I remember, the Dispatcher decal only appeared on the right side, (passenger side) of the DJ3A above the wire mesh air vent. It always seemed strange to me, but Willys always did strange things to attract attention. I remember back in 1965, (you can stop laughing now) when I was painting my DJ3A I tried to order another one from the dealer and HE told me they weren’t available because his parts book didn’t list a parts number.
    If you could scan the Dispatcher lettering image from a sales Brochure and save it in your computer as a JPEG image, it would be easy enough to have a local vinyl sign co. make you a decal.

  9. mmdeilers Post author

    Here’s a similar discussion with a few pics here:

    Here’s a brochure that has the Jeep Dispatcher logo on it, however it also has an arrow in it. But, a good scan and a run through photoshop should clean that up:

    It would’t take me long to do the scan and photoshop work, but I don’t have the brochure with me (have it at home) and don’t have the time at the moment.

    – Dave

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