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Canadian Made CJ-5s

• CATEGORIES: Features

Barney Goodwin of Barney’s Jeep Parts brought up an interesting bit of history regarding Canadian made Kaiser Jeep CJ-5s for the US (and Canadian?) market.

He wrote, “Your Canadian made Commando brochure post got me thinking. A customer of mine in my hometown of Houston has his dad’s ’69 CJ5 bought brand new at Woodie’s Jeep in Houston .

And, it was made in Canada!

Dave, the only reason I can think this happened is that Toledo had a military contract(s) they were running at the late 1960s and required the Toledo capacity. Around that same time, Kaiser Jeep had a short contract for M-151A1 MUTTs, contracts for M-274 Mules, and contracts for the Kaiser Jeep M-35 Deuces. Keep in mind it was also the first year for the Postal D100 Dispatcher DJ-5A. All of this was before AMC bought Jeep and moved government products production to Indiana as AMGeneral.

Kaiser Jeep’s solution? Shift the production of CJ-5s (and other vehicles?) to Canada.

Below is a picture of the data plate for my friend’s 1969, the one bought in Houston. Note the location of it and size. It’s right below the regular VIN plate on the firewall.

Most CJ-5s of that era had the 4 holes already punched in that location and they exist on our Toledo made 13,000 mile 1971 CJ-5. 

If anyone else has insights into this, we’d welcome them!




5 Comments on “Canadian Made CJ-5s

  1. Barney Goodwin

    Dave, in addition to the aforementioned military vehicles, Kaiser Jeep was also producing the M715 Gladiator-based truck series. Apart from the Canada subject at hand, that’s a lot of different vehicles Jeep was making for the federal government around that time.

  2. Mike

    This was also true in NJ. Mide Motors, a authorized Jeep Dealership in Garfield NJ had CJ5’s in their inventory made in Canada during this time period. At the time, I was surprised to see MADE IN CANADA. What surprised me more was the fact, that they would leave the keys in the ignition. A half dozen brand new CJ5’s in a row, just waiting to “GO”. Different story in today’s world.

  3. David Eilers Post author

    Barney: what’s interesting to me is that, according to Edgar Kaiser in 1955 congressional testimony (which I’ll publish in a day or two), one big reason Kaiser bought W-O was because they thought the company was too focused on military sales and was missing what they saw as a much bigger consumer market for 4WD vehicles. Yet, sixteen years later, KJ was so busy making military vehicles, they had to ship the consumer production to Canada. I suppose in both cases the military margins were just too good to ignore.

    Mike: Such a different world.

  4. rdjeep

    Not that I’ll add much to this tale, but about 20 years ago, I salvaged axles from a CJ-5 (for spares) and was surprised to see the Canadian plate on the firewall. This was in southeastern Pennsylvania. My ’69 was built in Toledo, I’ll presume, as there is just the standard VIN plate. Doesn’t seem to make sense to relocate production part-way in a model year, unless there was some serious money to be had. They didn’t split production, did they?

  5. Barney Goodwin

    rddeep, I think your comment does contribute. I have seen 69s without the Canada “branding” and have always thought it was a partial year diversion, again perhaps due to a line needed for a govt. contract run. Also consider that model year transitions were often gray and noticeable changes occasionally took place mid-year without changing the year model: 69, 72 and 76 years CJ are good examples. Early 69s had reflectors; late ones had marker lamps. Early ones had the same rectangle glass as 68s; late ones had the arched-glass large frames that went through 75, but both had the external wiper motor under a cover. And more to your question, the ease of the build and the short distance Toledo / Windsor seems to make it easy to import and export as needed.

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