You can still buy a Jeep in a crate, sort of
When folks at Omix-ADA invited us to tour its Jeep collection and take a look at their facility in Suwanee, Georgia, we didn’t expect to be wowed by their warehouse. We anticipated pallet racks of Jeep accessories as far as we could see, and that’s what we got. Everything from fender flares and bumpers to winches and LED lighting could be found under the tall roof.
But what struck us most were the reproduction parts for long-gone Jeep models. Entire front axle assemblies, transfer cases, XJ Cherokee roof stampings, and cast-iron Go Devil cylinder heads were all in stock, but those crates—that’s what made us grin.
Crates fully enclosed in lauan plywood were stacked in several spots in Omix-ADA’s warehouse, with stenciled-on labels that offered a tantalizing hint at the possibilities enclosed within. We spotted labels for the 1945–49 Willys CJ2A, ’49–53 Willys CJ3A, ’72–75 Jeep CJ5, and ’81–86 CJ8, the long-wheelbase Scrambler.
We paused when we saw a crate labelled “YJ-7” because, well, there is no such thing. We asked Dave Logan, Omix-ADA’s resident Jeep historian and Sales Training Manager, what was up. He explained that while the CJ7 and YJ Wrangler bodies aren’t identical, they are interchangeable. MD Juan manufacturers the bodies from its own tooling in the Philippines, where Jeeps, especially the Jeepney, hold a special place in that culture.
These aren’t the fabled WWII surplus Jeeps that were a few turns of a wrench away from chugging off under their own power, but they are an alternative to costly and time-consuming rust repair. They run for about $3000 for the simple, military-style Ford GPW or Willys MB tub, to almost $7000 for the tub, windshield frame, hood, tailgate, and fenders for a CJ6 or CJ8.
With little more than a frame and a title to start with, even the rustiest and most banged up Jeep project can have a second chance. We want one.