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Headlight Bezels Over the Years

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The other day someone asked me about headlight bezels (or if you prefer, headlight ‘heads’) and how they changed through the years. I did not have a good answer to that reader’s question, so this working thread about bezels is the result. Along the way, I learned that some folks call these parts “heads”, but perhaps that is more military related?

1. 1945-1946 Early Painted Bezels on CJ-2As
Early CJ-2A bezels were painted, not chromed, until approximately #38687, according to the CJ-2A page. As far as my research indicates, only Walcks carries new, unpainted bezels. This is the flatter style of bezel without the tab.



2. 1946-1953 Later CJ-2As, CJ-3As and 1956-1959 DJ-3As
After roughly CJ-2A #38687 the bezels were chromed, but their shape was the same. They lasted through the end of the CJ-3A production run and into the early DJ-3A production run (1956-1959). These example images are from Kaiser Willys.

bezel-1946-1953-cj2a-cj3a-2 bezel-1946-1953-cj2a-cj3a-1

3. 1950-1952 M-38s, 1953-1971 M-38A1s, and M-170s:
I didn’t realize that M-38 and M-38A1 bezels were the same. It’s on the M-38a1 site that I encountered the alternative term “head” for the bezel. Peter Debella has NOS rings.


4. 1950 USMC CJ-V35 Blackout Lights ‘bezels’
Thanks to Mike Wixom for helping me out with these rare blackout lights.

This type of headlight bezel, or more correctly blackout ring (although not that effective), was used only on Marine Corps Radio Jeeps as far as I know. Specifically on the CJV35/U and possibly on the MZ-2 and MZ-3 Radio Jeeps from Late WW2. They were installed at the factory on all 1000 CJV35/U Jeeps built in May of 1950. These were eventually replaced by the actual blackout lights found on the M-38.

Because these aren’t readily available, someone posted this writeup on how to inexpensively recreate them:


Here is a different, larger version of a CJ-V35 bezel. Mike believes the ones shown below may have been fabricated and not original, but perhaps the owner can offer input on this.


5. 1952 Belgian Military CJ-3A:
Charles shared photos of his Belgian military CJ-3A that includes some unique bezels:



6. 1953-1969 CJ-3Bs, 1955-1971 CJ-5s, 1959-1965 DJ-3As, Trucks, Wagons, Jeepsters, FCs. This section in particular was a bit confusing for me, as I was running across conflicting info and pics. Sometimes I ran into two screw holes, sometimes one. Some had cutouts for headlight adjustments and some didn’t. So, please add a comment if I’m incorrect about any of this:

I *think* this is an original, standard bezel, a used CJ-5 bezel on eBay. Note that it has the wire tab, has some cutouts for adjusting the headlights, and has two screw holes, not one.

cj5-headlight-bezel1 cj5-headlight-bezel2

Midwest Willys Jeep offers a similar replacement bezel, but it only has one screw hole.


A more common aftermarket replacement bezel option has a solid tab and no cutouts, like the one pictured below. It has no indent cutouts and only one screw hole. There may be variants of these with indent holes for adjusting the headlight, but, frankly, determining I could not figure out why some of these were different from others.

replacement-later-model-bezel-bottom2 replacement-later-model-bezel-bottom1

Omix Ada offers this solid tabbed version with a more angular edge, indicating these are designed for early CJs, but when compared to these post 1976 CJ-5 bezels, I’d say they are more likely the latter, than the former. (I’ve never bought/installed these).



1. These trim pieces fit over 7″ headlights. They are aftermarket parts available via eBay (and possibly elsewhere).

headlight-bezel-trim-installed headlight-bezel-trim

2. These set of vintage headlight shields fit 7″ lights as well, but are older. They do fit some standard jeeps. This set was recently sold on eBay:


3. You may have seen these headlight shields on jeeps from the Philippines or Colombia. I haven’t seen as many in the US. These are a custom chrome headlight shield. A seller on Amazon has something similar:


If you don’t like that style, Amazon offers a few other styles:

Here’s a jeep with a similar set installed:



1. As you can see from this 1954 Aero Willys Ad, some of the Aero models included a fancier bezel. I expect that these bezels will also fit jeeps (or just use the buckets off an aero), which should fit the jeep. Hopefully, someone who knows the Aero better can provide a comment. I have seen these installed on a could flat fenders.



Example of Aero headlight buckets:


2. If you want to use a smaller 5 1/2″ headlight setup like I did, locate a headlight bucket/trim package off a Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 and 98, 1959 or 1960.



On a related subject, if you missed it, you might check out the post on civilian 1/4 ton low hood grille differences:


4 Comments on “Headlight Bezels Over the Years

  1. John

    I believe I was the one mentioning about the different bezels in another post. I assumed, after small amount of research, that I had Jeepster Commando bezels. Looks like it’s also for early CJ5s too which makes sense. They’re identical to the “solid tab” aftermarket ones. Kind of cone shaped and add a very different look when you see them on a 2a/3a grill vs. a CJ-5/ Commando

    This is great info, I dont think anyone’s bothered to ever make this kind of list before

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Thanks John,

    I couldn’t find a list like this either. The most difficult part about doing it is that I don’t have the different types in front of me.

    – Dave

  3. Terry

    Heads ??? I have worked on old jeeps for over 50 years and have worked on jeeps and trucks in the US Army and I have never heard any one refer to head light bezels as “heads’ . The army does call them doors or rings in their parts books . That ring pictured with the spring clip and cut-outs is from no jeep I’ve ever seen . Many parts sold on Ebay are wrongly labeled as Willys .

  4. Blaine

    I’m gonna go with Terry in saying I’ve never heard of them being called “heads” in the 50 plus years I’ve been into cars.

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