To Top

The “New” CJ-5 at SEMA

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Features

UPDATE: It appears this endeavor didn’t work out.

Merlin reported on a NEW CJ-5 that will go into production (approx 5,000 jeeps per year) soon. One question that many folks have asked is how the new jeep can meet the current safety specs for new cars. According to Merlin, the short answer is it can’t, but it doesn’t have to meet them. In 2014 the feds passed regulations that allow low production auto manufacturers to only have to meet the specs for 1967.

“With Sema going on I am excited to finally announce the return of an old favorite, the Cj5. Universal Motors Corp (makers of the Allied Jeep L head blocks) has the new Mopar licensed Cj5 on display in booth 32326 at Sema. These sport the current Jeep engine, and there will be a diesel option as well. Bodies and parts will be manufactured by UMC, not bought from current parts and panel manufacturers other than Jeep. A kit version will be available as well. Assembly is done in Detroit. More info and pics will be posted as I receive more.

cj5-sema1 cj5-sema2 cj5-sema3 cj5-sema4



36 Comments on “The “New” CJ-5 at SEMA

  1. Windyhill

    This is really cool! It’s hard to tell in the photos but did they upgrade the brakes etc? Looks bone stock to me.

  2. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    Do you think this will make original CJ-5’s go down in value because people would rather buy new ones vs. the old ones? Or will the original ones increase in value because demand will go up when potential buyers see how more expensive the new ones are?

  3. Jerry Huber

    The 2014 Legislation permitting low volume production vehicles to skirt newer regulations appears to have caused a rebirth of interest in many early and vintage reincarnations. In addition to the UMC Jeep CJ-5 that Merlin is showcasing, the SEMA show also unveiled a 48 Tucker and several other interesting vehicles. “What’s old is new” and “What goes around – comes around” have become a REALITY on the 2017 enthusiast scene. Now if we can only afford these cool vehicles…..

  4. Barry West

    Back to the Future! Had to check my darn calendar and dang it to all it is November the 2nd. But not 1969 and I’m still old and fat. Sure it’s not April 1st, hmmm, let me run (walk) back and see if my better 3/4 hasn’t pulled one over my eyes. However, sign me up!

  5. Lew

    One wonders whether the new parts will fit original CJ5s and whether it will cause the price of current aftermarket parts to skyrocket as well. They’re certainly not going to give these away and the parts to repair them wont be cheap either. Now if we just get them to produce some more trucks and wagons.

  6. CraigInPA

    Frankly, I’d stick with an original CJ5. With a modern engine in the re-creation comes modern engine doodads like fuel injection and computers. I often wonder what will happen 30 years from now when there is no one to fix those new fangled parts, while I’m confident that no matter what happens, I can always fix a carburetor with my pocket knife, a pair of pliers, and a piece of gasket material.

  7. Gliii

    I don’t think these will affect the value of the old 5’s, I mean they are what they are. I do think that these will be VERY expensive, especially considering the basic content of the 5. I like not having, ps, pb, auto, a/c, etc. But today one of these plastic, Wranglers has got those options & pdl, pw, cruise, etc. Does any one think Bubba & the Mrs is going to give up all that & cup holders for a proper CJ 5 redux? That will limit UMCs’ production from 5,000 units to unfortunately a lot less. We will see that reflected in the price. I hope I’m wrong about the price, maybe they’ve figured in a low number break even point. It doesn’t mention an msrp, so I guess it’ll be a wait ‘ n see. I want one, but don’t want to take out a second mortgage to get it.

  8. Dave M

    Last Jeep I owned was a 1988 Cherokee. Last CJ was 1974 CJ-5. Wife just asked the other day when we look for a new car if I would look at a Jeep I said no they don’t make any thing that interest me this interest’s me.

  9. Mike

    Interesting story, Would like to know what big corporate money is behind this project. Not to say it’s a bad thing, but from life experience I have seen many replica car manufacturers come and go, With a limited production, high price points are required, which in turn limit sales. Many of these retro vehicles fade away as profits are hard to come by.

  10. Barry West

    Plenty of questions to come, HP, Torque, type axles, brakes, transmission (cast iron vs composite), type transfer case, gearing, suspension and so on. Also, I can see an aftermarket updated hardtop too. I too would like to see a truck or two door wagon with standard barn doors with a more rust resistance metal top and side panels.

  11. Terry

    This looks to good to be true , but it will be costly if it is . I own several cj5 s and I say the more they make the better .

  12. David Eilers Post author

    Merlin Hansen reported on Facebook that there are still some issues to finalize (pricing/parts). Emission issues are also something John Lampi is working to resolve (he also operate which manufactures and sells the new L-head blocks).

  13. Terry Chicago

    This is ridiculous, I bet the price is atleast doubled from a fully restored CJ5. They could have revibed a jeepster, or wagon or something else. The creativity and originality is thrown in the garbage. I’ll go on a limb and say ‘this will be a short-lived failure.’

  14. Will

    I’d say price will probably limit their sales, but if the parts interchange with originals, they will sell a lot more parts, and possibly upgrade kits for components, than whole vehicles. I asked Merlin about the availability of repro tubs, and he said that they were a possibilty. As I said on his Facebook post, MD Juan needs the competition.

    Many people complaining about the cost of this are the same ones that complain about the low quality of current made in China repro parts. I don’t get it. Sure it’s expensive, but so is a quality restoration.

  15. rdjeep

    About the only thing that hasn’t been said is…… “Holy Toledo!!!” (Sorry, couldn’t help my self)

    To look at it, is like stepping back in time to a day long ago in a dealer’s showroom. Purrrrrty, looking all shiny and new.

  16. Dan B.

    It’s interesting that emissions-compliance is the hold-up. Reading the 2015 law, it sounds like current year-of-manufacture engines with OBD must be built (or ones with the CARB/BAR sticker). So the finished CJ5 would be built with a 2017 Jeep V6 or diesel (and fuel system), and then smogged like any 2017 car. Not sure how that would work with a kit – include the 2017 engine?

    “Those turn-key cars would be required to meet current model-year emissions standards. In order to comply with this provision, the bill would allow low-volume manufacturers to install engines already certified for equivalent vehicle configurations by the large automakers, along with an onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. Although this is already permitted, current law requires the companies to then retest the engines and submit volumes of duplicate paperwork to the EPA.”

    Hope it works out. I’m with others above – it would be awesome to have a “new” 1957 Willys Wagon or Truck.

  17. Dave

    Reading the article again I cant wait for more information and pics. I take it since the manufacturer only has to meet 1967 specs these will a 60’s something jeep with the gas tank under the drivers seat

  18. SteveK

    It sure looks good, and unusual as a “New Vehicle”. I’m surprised “No safety additions” and I’d guess it means none sold in California as is, and lots will probably go overseas. I’d love to see the underside for the answers to brakes and catalytic and other questions posed. “Rolling Chassis” and replacement parts could be a bigger market, IMO. It is a start to go back to “simple”. I like it, but I prefer my Willys Flattie DJ project with “history”.

  19. Lew

    Given the cost of new vehicles, this could be the beginning of an affordable vehicle class for the masses. I like the idea of a work/utility vehicle at work/utility vehicle prices. Cant wait to see this in person.

  20. Barry West

    Lew it depends on your definition of the word masses. I believe it would be limited to a predetermined number of vehicles per year. Over that number then the company would have no choice but to meet current safety rules and regulations. Thereby, loosing the vehicle’s nostalgic value. I don’t if those restrictions apply to just one model or across the board. That’s above my knowledge level. But if the company was just restricted to a per model basis then it would benefit everyone and their plan of adding the CJ3 and CJ7 models and maybe a truck and wagon. IMO.

  21. Mike

    Aside from the gas tank under the seat, one of the controversial issues that contributed to the CJ5’s demise, was rollovers when steering into a curve. Will this new retro CJ5 have a wider trac to overcome this problem? How about a roll bar, standard equipment or not? Times have changed since 1967 and not only would government regulations require safety features, I think the buying public would demand it. Inquiring minds want to know.

  22. Keith

    If you look at the UMC website you will see that the MOPAR approval is PENDING.
    As far as I know, only OMIX is currently licensed for the bodies.

    I for one would like to see better quality Bodies and panels produced and imported.
    I just ended up with a 5 year old repro CJ3A body that is rusted thru in all the hat sections an supports. I was rhino lined inside and out but the metal rusted away inside the liner.

  23. Barry West

    Well crap, from what I’ve been able to find out on quantities of vehicles a company is allowed to manufacture is 325 per year. It started out on congress to allow 500 per year. I haven’t found any information on 5,000 per year as of this time. Another question that is confusing is whether they remanufacture older parts, to include axles, transmissions, transfer cases and other parts. That leads me to ask if the SEMA CJ5 is a completely manufactured new vehicle or a restored vehicle using rebuilt mechanical parts and reproduction sheet metal?

  24. Mike

    Their webpage leaves a lot of questions to be answered, if you click on a link, doesn’t give you any information, just brings you back to the same webpage. If you ask me, and what do I know, This seems like a lot of hype about a yet to be developed product.

    I for one am skeptical about the quality of parts, I assume most will be manufactured somewhere in Asia. As Keith mentioned above, this is important when making a high dollar purchase, no mention of what gauge metal is being used for the body. Once again, American dollars creating jobs outside of America.

  25. Ed

    The one in the picture uses the old style…and very expensive…front fenders with no clearance light indent. I think they mean they will build something “like” this.
    Sign me up for a 3A with disc brakes, dual master, roll bar with shoulder/lap belt…that’s all I need.
    Maybe the guy that makes the engine blocks will sell a few more with people removing the new engine and replacing it with his.

  26. KEITH

    Well since Mahindra is bidding on postal Jeep contracts and planning on selling a CJ5 version from a plant in Detroit I am suspicious.

  27. David Eilers Post author


    I cannot find any additional information since the SEMA show. I imagine the endeavor failed.

    – Dave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting