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The DJ-3A vs the DJ-3A Gala vs the DJ-3A Surrey

• CATEGORIES: DJ-3A, Features, videos, Women & Jeeps • TAGS: , .

UPDATE:  Bruce let me know that there were three different windshields sported by the DJ-3A:

1. The typical 3A type with the vent that opens up;

2. It also came with what is referred to as the 3B WS frame. That green jeep (see below) probably has it’s original WS frame;

3. The 3rd style is the ventilating WS frame that is similar to the 2a frame in
that the glass tilts outward. This 3rd type is very rare and I have only
seen one DJ with the 3rd style


I’ve been meaning to write this history of sorts about the DJ-3A ever since I received this information from Bruce last October.  Many thanks to Bruce for his tireless effort to understand the DJ-3A and his desire to share this information with the world-at-large.

I would still not consider this post finished, as I’m sure a few of you have some interesting details to add or correct.


My goal here is to take Bruce’s information and organize it in a way to make sense of this strange thing called the DJ-3A Dispatcher Gala Surrey Not-quite-a-CJ-3A colorful Jeep.   I want to differentiate between these three models — DJ-3A/DJ-3A dispatcher, DJ-3A Gala, and the DJ-3A Surrey — so that I can better evaluate these vehicles when I run across them for sale.

So, let’s begin:

One of the more confusing series of jeeps I’ve encountered are the DJ-3A, the DJ-3A Gala and the DJ-3A Surrey. However, thanks to both information from Bruce (who also supplied Derek Redmond with much of the DJ-3A Gala Surrey information and pics on the CJ-3B Page) and an article in the December 2009 issue of Vintage Truck Magazine, I *think* I have a much better feel for this topic.

Importantly, and for clarification, based on all the research I have reviewed, there appears to be no such thing as a DJ-3A Gala Surrey (and I’m as responsible as anyone for describing them that way).  The literature I have received from Bruce refers to either a DJ-3A Gala or a DJ-3A Surrey.  The Gala’s were promoted as Gala’s at the international resorts and Hawaii (which became a state in 1959, which might explain why this was being handled like an international sale).

The DJ-3A was introduced in 1955. It used the body style of the older CJ-3A, along with the L-134 engine. Unlike the CJ-3A, it came with either a column shift or top loader three-speed T-96 manual transmission. It was offered with many different body options including a soft top, hard top, or even a full van body.  Some of these body options made changes to the body necessary, including some that had no tailgates so the spare tire could mount in the rear.

Others, like the DJ-3A Dispatchers, had differently shaped passenger and driver sides to allow easy entry & exit of the vehicle (I assume those were the reasons).  With all these different body options, it is no wonder many of us, and yours truly as well, were confused about what constitutes a DJ-3A.

Thus far, everything I’ve learned suggests that there were no 4wd DJ-3A’s produced.  So, if you encounter a 4wd DJ-3A, it’s been modified.

Probably, the most distinctive, unique, and consistent body attribute of a DJ-3A is the large speedometer, similar to the CJ-5 and the post-1955 CJ-3B speedometers.  It was the only ‘low hood’ flat fender produced with the large speedometer.


Below is a Convertible DJ-3A.  You can see the lack of 4wd in the front.  Click on the picture to see more pictures.  Though I thought the below windshield was from a CJ-3B, Bruce provided a correction to that statement.  He says some DJ-3As came with a 3B SW Frame, and he believes that’s what we are looking at in this pic.

Here’s an example from Chris of a DJ-3A without a tailgate.

Here’s a DJ-3A Dispatcher example (note cutout sides) with a tail gate:

And here’s another nice dispatcher with a top:


In early 1959, the DJ-3A Gala was introduced and marketed to vacation locations in an attempt to offer rentable transportation solutions for vacationers visiting resorts.  According to the article below, the idea was the brain child of the Las Brisas Resort in Acapulco, Mexico, which painted a few jeeps pink and offered them to consumers.  Louis Yocich, a Willys dealer, spotted them and brought the idea back to the factory.  To this day, the Las Brisas resort and hotel still refers to itself as a ‘Pink and White Paradise” (see quality control comment).

MUCH MUCH More information.  This post was simply too big to put on the front page:

Continue reading

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1960 DJ-3A Surrey St. Louis, MO **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $42,500

“This example in the rare colors of Cerulean Blue and Glacier White is probably the best completely restored example in the world. Everything has been done to the highest standards from the paint and chrome to the bright waterproof fabric upholstery and surrey top. The underhood presentation is exceptional and no detail has been ignored. Much more practical than a Moke or Jolly with legendary Jeep reliability this is a superb and entirely practical vehicle for bright summer days at the shore lake or ranch and will vie with Bentleys and Ferraris for pride of place in valet parking lots in Hollywood the Hamptons or South Beach. $42,500”

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1957 DJ-3A Lansdale, PA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $1850.

This is a non-running jeep and has been converted to 4wd.

“1957 WILLYS JEEP DJ-3A 4X4 – RARE AND NEAT OLD JEEP WITH CLEAN & CLEAR PA TITLE!!!   I purchased this Willys Jeep just as it is, never did anything with it, and have too many other projects going, so I’ve decided to part with it. It is a very nice project for someone with more time and less projects then me. I can tell you what I know about it. This is a model DJ-3A V.I.N. #5633711806 Willys Jeep Dispatcher which makes it very rare and the fact thats its 4X4 a nice restoration project compared to a 2wd Dispatcher. Originally this particular truck was equiped with a complete steel enclosed cab/panel body (no side windows) and steel sliding doors (notice the original small running board area and full to floor foot opening that was on DJ-3A models with full cabs). The DJ-3A was based on the earlier (1949-1953) model CJ-3A Willys Jeep bodies not the later CJ-3B bodies normally used on other models after 1953. The complete and correct for DJ-3A models fold down windshield frame with glass is in the back (which appears to have been brand new and still in black primer) and has not been mounted though I do have the side mounting hardware to do so. The previous owner last ran and drove it, and had it PA inspected through 2006 though it has been sitting ever since. I tried to get it running but the engine appears to be seized from sitting. I suspect most likely the valves are stuck from the time it spent sitting which is common with these flathead engines. The carburetor appears to be a rebuilt unit and there is also an original used carburetor with it. The body is in decent shape for its age appearing to having work done to it here and there over the years. Someone over the years has cut out the vertical bars of the original grille and welded in steel mesh, personally I would prefer the original grille bars. The frame appears to be in pretty good shape being much better then most other early model Willys Jeeps I’ve seen over the years. It has the original (DJ-3A) rear mounted fuel tank with filler neck exiting out the right rear next to the tailgate”

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1963 DJ-3A Bedford, MA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

Rare convertible DJ.

“Up for auction is one of the rarest of all Jeeps.  The DJ-3A Dispatcher was made from 1955 to 1964.    Willys marketed the Dispatcher as a “Sport” vehicle and an inexpensive commercial delivery car.  They used existing tooling and in-stock CJ parts to keep the cost low.  That meant that they were trying to market a car with technology fresh from 1940!  Keep in mind this car was built just months before Ford introduced the Mustang. No wonder this is a rare Jeep!

The example being auctioned is a 1963.  The paint is original and shows only a few scratches and a few discolored spots.  There are two small rust-through spots on the rear of the body at the rear body mounting brackets. The upholstery is original and is in excellent condition.  The odometer reads a very believable 27,990 miles.  DJ-3As are two-wheel-drive with three speed transmissions and column shift.  This car has a limited slip differential!   Comfortable cruising speed is around 40 mph….”

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1959? DJ-3A Fresno, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

The seller indicates this is a ’59, however a potential buyer (see Q/A at bottom of ebay page) felt that based on the speedometer design, this was more likely a ’56.  I’d agree with the potential buyer, because this document indicates that the serial number of this jeep, 56337 10425, makes this a 1956 DJ-3A, the 425th DJ-3A made.

“This is a 1959 Willys Jeep 2 wheel drive Gala Surrey or Dispatcher project.  These are rare and valuable vehicles when they are restored, but this one isn’t.  It needs A LOT of restoration, but what’s here is in fairly good shape.  It would make a good starting point for a restoration.  Fortunately, these are not too hard to work on.  I bought this many years ago and have slowly been collecting a few parts, but I have too many projects and not enough time or money.  This project has to go.  This is a body & frame and axles and some parts.  There is no motor or transmission.  I have a correct type motor and correct column shift T 96 transmission with overdrive, but they are listed seperately on ebay and not included with this listing (see my other listings).  The guy I got it from had started to convert it to a 6 cylinder motor and was going to make a sand buggy out of it.  He removed the original motor mounts and put some other mounts in, but I don’t know what engine they are for.  He didn’t do any significant damage to the frame, and the correct motor mounts should go right back on the frame”

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1963 DJ-3A Surrey Scottsdale, AZ **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $77,000.

This was for sale as late as Sept 5, 2009 for $35,000.

“This is Red Skelton’s personal Surrey. With 14,000 original miles, it has just completed a body-off frame restoration. There is much memorabilia that goes with this Surrey and photo documentation of the restoration and Red’s journey.

This darling little Surrey was previously owned by the legendary comedian Red Skelton. Most of us can relate to one of his characters like Freddie the Freeloader or Clem Kadiddlehopper, for in each of his characters was a bit of each of us. Red Skelton’s Willys DJ-3A Surrey Gala has just completed a meticulous 10-year, body-off frame, complete nut and bolt restoration. The finished product is beyond stunning. Included with the sale of this Surrey are many pieces of Red Skelton memorabilia, like the Freddie the Freeloader vest used during the Red Skelton Hour on CBS TV during the 1960’s, with certificate of authenticity. Red was also quite an artist and included are three Red Skelton prints, the “Girl Clown”, “Floral Bouquet” and “Old Glory”. There is also a limited edition “Clown with Candy Cane” painting with certificate of authenticity. Also included is a 13-page binder of photographs documenting the entire Surrey restoration. The binder chronicles the life and times of Red Skelton’s comedy career. There are many fun stories and photos that invite you into the humorous life of Red Skelton. There are copies of Red Skelton’s California titles and a note from Red’s widow, Lothian Skelton, describing the Surrey and how much Red loved it. All of this goes with the sale of the Surrey.”


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1956 DJ-3A, 1950 Wagon, 1947 Truck Bethlehem, Ct **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: DJ-3A, Willys Trucks, Willys Wagons


This seller has several vehicles for sale.  No pics yet with the DJ-3A

1956 Willys Dispatcher DJ3A for sale. Has a 340 buick Engine and has a 400 T. H. Trans. Asking 5000.00 or best offer.”


1950 Willys Jeep Sedan Delivery. 4-Wheel Drie. Buick V-6 Engine. Asking 6000. 00″


1947 Willy’s Jeep Pick up for sale. Chevy Drive Train. Was Rebuilt around 1970. Asking 5000.00 or best offer. Any questions please call 203-266-5050.  Ask for Bernie.”

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Chris’ DJ-3A

• CATEGORIES: Builds, DJ-3A, Features

Searching for something else, I discovered Chris Kelley’s blog and his new Willys: a 1956 DJ-3A with 4wd.  I’ve seen enough DJ-3As with 4wd that I asked Bruce if he knew whether any DJ-3As came with a 4wd package, but to the best of his knowledge (which is the best I know of) he said there was no 4wd option of which he was aware.

Chris writes on his website about new purchase (sept 7 09) “Yep, you’re looking at a 1956 (sort of) CJ3a (sort of) Willy’s Overland Jeep (completely!).  Its sort of a 56 since that’s what the tub plate says.  Its also only sort of a CJ3A since the tub plate also says its a DJ3a, which was a 2 wheel drive version made for the postal service and other delivery trucks.  However, my best guess is that someone replaced the original tub with the one it has now, since this does have 4WD.”

It’s a good looking jeep, though there’s a small ding in the passenger rear, and here some pics from his site:

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DJ-3A Body Parts, Pueblo, Co **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Body Parts, DJ-3A

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $500.

Here’s some body parts from a Convertible DJ-3A.  It appears in restorable, uncut shape.  Certainly not perfect though.

“All thats there is tub, hood, fenders, grill and frame. I’m asking $500 OBO. Please give me a call at (719)9480229”


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1943 GPW, DJ-3A, And Other Parts York, Pa


This seller has a variety of items for sale.

“I have for sale 195? Willys Dj3a two wheel drive column shift Mail jeep for sale only asking $400

Also i have for sale a 1943 Ford GPW for sale this is a WW2 Jeep it is taged a titled and ready for the road or play engine and transmission rebuilt most original parts asking $5000 call 717-817-7413

I also have mant parts for vintage jeeps Willys CJ2a and some M38 I would like to sell the parts as a lot or mini lots but will sell individual parts.”


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1948ish CJ-2A Belleville, IL **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $550.

There looks to be some value here.

“4×4 Willys 1950’s Jeep: Engine not started in 15 years. Tranny, Differential, and Axles still intact. Body Rough.
$550 Cash Only.  Call Andy for further details”


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1959 DJ-3A Redlands, Fl $1175


UPDATE:  Price dropped to $1175

(11/7/09) You can’t say this seller hasn’t tried to give you a complete overview of this jeep.  There is a total of 37 images.  It’s rough, but it is a column shift 2 wheel drive with a tailgate.  It’s supposed to run well.

“Willys Jeep dj3a Overland this is the 2 wheel drive model with L-134 engine with three speed on the column.  Not just a L-134 engine but a industrial L-134 engine.  This engine runs real good as you can see in the video plus the oil is super clean like someone went through this engine.  As you can see in the video I pulled the dipstick out and you can see how clean the oil is. And that was after a half an hour of running plus driving it in the yard….”


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1964 DJ-3A Ravensdale, WA **SOLD**


UPDATE:  **SOLD** Was $1500.  DJ-3A with 4WD upgrade.

(08/28/09) This looks like a great deal on a flattie.

“I have a 64 willys jeep with a buick v-6 in it runs great 4×4 it’s a lot of fun 1,500”


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1958? DJ-3A? Elsinore, Ca $2000


There’s been some changes to the dashboard.  This looks like it has a CJ-2A windshield.  I’m not sure what it is.

call 4 question 951-533-7845 ask 4 mike”


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1960 DJ-3A Lynnfield, Ma **SOLD**


UPDATE:  Colin reports that he purchased this Jeep and is enjoying it a lot!  Congrats! He also reports below that the original date listed by the seller as 1956 was incorrect and that it was actually a 1960 Surrey.

“Production of the 2-wheel drive Willys DJ3A model began in 1956 and continued until 1964.  The DJ3A utilized the 4 cylinder “Go Devil” engine, T90 side-shift transmission, and a Dana 23 rear end. The DJ3A surrey was marketed to resorts and as a fun beach buggy. This dj-3a gala surrey was Owned by 20th Century Fox where it was used in a few beach movies.  Annette Funicello, Frank Sanatra etc.. Sold to Pioneer Garage in 1982 where it was totally redone. down to the frame and sat on display in the pioneer jeep showroom on Washington St. in Peabody Ma. Until purchased in 5/09 to me when the dealership closed its doors forever. It runs and drives awesome, 3 speed on the column, a true collectible. I have pictures and documentation from 20th century fox showing the vehicles history there.  Also I have pictures of the jeep with Annette and Frank in the vehicle.  Mileage is around 2000 miles, although California determined it as a undetermined value amount because the gauge glass was sun faded and not readable. When you see this vehicle you will know the mileage to be true.”




View more pics

Continue reading

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1963 DJ-3A Hayward, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $2500

This might be a pretty good price.  It’s got a big speedometer, which suggests a DJ-3A to me, so the year noted by the seller may be correct.

“My dad and I are selling a Willy’s Jeep. It registers as a 1963 but it is honestly a mutt. It runs strong and the 4 wheeldrive works great. The starter was rebuilt about a year ago. The tires have probably about 90% of their tread left. The parking brake is broken (the guy we bought it from snapped the cable while we were test driving it). It is an easy fix we just never got around to it. I would really rather not sell it but it is under my dad’s name and he wants to make room in the garage and I have my own motorcycle project as it is so it must go.”



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1964 DJ-3A Cheyenne, WY **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $600.

“1964 Willy’s jeep for sale that has a Toyota 20R and five speed. It needs a steering box otherwise is complete and original except motor and tranny. It needs a battery and the motor does run.”


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1957 DJ-3A Lancaster, Pa $2500


I’m not sure if this runs or not, but the body looks in reasonable shape.  This is a DJ with a Tailgate.

“1957 willys jeep, Need complete restoration. The body is not too bad, very little rust. The motor needs rebuilt too. call Ryan to see 717-393-7717.”


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1947 CJ-2A Fresno, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $1500

This doesn’t have a motor.  It has a Muller Top.

antique yes custom yes running not yt but ready for a 350 chevy to drop in.”


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1959 DJ-3A Miami, Fl $950


UPDATE:  Price dropped to $950.

(10/10/09) Here’s a DJ-3A stick shift with a tailgate that doesn’t have 4 wheel drive.  Frankly, I’m not sure what’s stock and what’s not here.  If it is all stock, it’s an interesting find.

“1959 Jeep Willys Overland DJ3A, 4X2, stickshift in the column, new carburetor, needs a gas tank, has some rust but can be fixed. Was running recently with a plastic tank. 786-556-3668.”


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1957 DJ-3A Statesville, NC $2000


Not a bad price for a running DJ-3A.

“1957 willys jeep runs good needs work on brakes an steering an lights to be road worthy 4×4 works good also 704 450 1693”


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1960 DJ-3A Tulsa, Ok **SOLD**


UPDATE: Price dropped to $350. I doubt this was ever a Gala, but it does seem to be a DJ-3A.  **SOLD**

The price is right!  This seems like a deal to me.

We our selling a 1960 Willys DJ-3A Surrey Gala. We bought it mainly for the body to build a rock crawler out of it. The origional color was pink. It has a CJ-2A windshield on it with an old Aluminum Hardtop (rare). This is a normal left hand drive 2wd Willys Jeep. The front axle is a straight axle and rides on leaf springs just like the 4wd Jeeps. It has a motor, but is missing many of the parts like the oil pan, head, etc. It is the Go devil Flathead 4 backed by a 3spd manual column shift trans with OverDrive. Since this is a DJ3A the rear of the Jeep is solid with no tail gate, this is factory. It does have all of the steering pieces and as a whole is pretty darn complete. Feel free to come check it out and make us an offer. The frame is in very good shape and the tub would easily be restorable. The floors are even in pretty good shape. The hood is probably the worst part (dented). These are very rare and it has all of its factory serial data plates. Comes with only a bill of sale.”


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1960 DJ-3A Surrey Boothwyn, Pa **SOLD**


UPDATE:  A reader noted that this has already sold

It is very rare to see one of these in such poor condition.

“Elvis owned one. 1960 Pink surrey gala jeep. Condition restorable original parts. Bought in May 1978. odometer reading 20,000. Engines apart but complete. $3,ooo or best offer.”


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1956 DJ-3A Patterson, Ca $4500


1956_dj3a_pattersonI’d like some better pics of this.  I don’t think the pics do this justice.


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1961 DJ-3A? Tyler, TX **SOLD**


1961_dj3a_tylerUPDATE: **SOLD** Was $1000

At least it runs.  It might be a mish-mash of parts or simply the wrong title, which explains the ’61 date also.

“1961 Willys Jeep. Jeep runs but has slight knocking. Bought as a rebuild project six months ago but never got the time.. Stout machine.”