The Very First Test Drive Of My 1948 Jeep Project Was A Giant Mudfest

You’ve seen the first road test of my 1948 Willys CJ-2A already, but that wasn’t truly the very first time this Willys drove under its own power post-rebuild, because before that, I romped through the mudpit in my backyard. Talk about an engine break-in procedure.

Hammering on a rebuilt engine isn’t exactly the smartest of moves, but when your backyard has a big mudpit in it, you just finished buttoning up a Willys CJ-2A, and you’ve got a prominent strand of redneck in your blood, some things just happen.

Illustration for article titled The Very First Test Drive Of My 1948 Jeep Project Was A Giant Mudfest
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Alright, I’ll admit that the mud was a bit thicker than I expected, and I ended up getting stuck immediately as I hadn’t thought to put the thing into four-wheel drive, and the transfer case was being fussy. But eventually, my friend Brandon (who is really the brains behind a lot of this project), got the Jeep out by powering it through the mud and back onto some dry grass.

Obviously, I couldn’t let Brandon have all the fun, so I had a turn, and that Willys spun those tires with vigor, slinging up heaps of mud all over me and the Jeep. It was fantastic.

Illustration for article titled The Very First Test Drive Of My 1948 Jeep Project Was A Giant Mudfest

That first drive was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a vehicle, in part because of just how rewarding it was to think that that engine’s crankshaft sat on my drier just two weeks prior. And now it sings a beautiful tune as it powers the Jeep through the thick slosh.

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Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps. Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

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I am living in a state of anticipated schadenfreud when your differential and head gasket let go simultaneously somewhere in west texas on the way to moab....