The recent SEMA show in Las Vegas had an amazing collection of Jeep Wranglers. Everything from the ridiculous to the sublime was in attendance. Yet, there was one Jeep Wrangler that stood out as the nicest to us. Amid the jacked up Jeep Wrangler with big tires, lifts and lifts was this pristine 1947 Jeep Wrangler Willys CJ2A Fire Patrol vehicle. It was meticulously cared for and its throwback styling and size was refreshing in the sea of monster Jeeps.
A note on the Jeep says it was: “Reconditioned in 2003 for the fire chief of a local fire department for use as a parade vehicle. The vehicle is still in service and driven regularly.” From the pristine red paint, color matched wheels and the fold-out glass, the 1947 Willys just sparkles. It features the iconic headlights of the time and maintains a lot of the original Willys styling.
The fire department styling touches are subtle, yet add a lot to the Jeep. From the rear chrome side rails reminiscent of fire engines and custom tail lamps, it is a well-thought out vehicle. The Jeep still has the era-specific fire extinguisher, side axe holder and ladder. On the inside, the dash and seats were restored to their original brilliance. The manual, 3-speed shifter and tilted steering wheel are a visual throwback to how Jeeps used to be. With the only modern add-on of the emergency radio, it is mostly stock.
CJ-2A Fire Truck History
The idea behind the Willys CJ-2As was to quickly fight small brush fires before the fires got too big. They were also dispatched to areas where larger fire trucks would not fit or couldn’t easily get too. The CJ-2A’s were essentially the rapid-response vehicle for fire departments.
It is a rare Jeep with a production run spanning from 1945-1961. Most of the Jeeps were sold as “factory” units with the third-party conversion companies Howe Fire Apparatus of Anderson, Indiana or Boyer Fire Apparatus of Logansport, Indiana doing the work.
There were a few CJ-2A fire trucks sold overseas. In fact, a special order of 20 such Jeeps was sold to the Brazilian military. The Jeeps were given an assortment of fire-fighting equipment like ax, ladder and a Power Take-Off (PTO) drive to help pump thousands of water a minute.
While it may not have the massive articulation nor the larger than life tires of the other SEMA Jeep builds, this Jeep stands out for being a pristine example of the range of things you can do with a Jeep.