Answering an advertisement for a flat-fender Willys, I had no idea nor desire to become a curator of one of the rarest production Willy's in existence. Advertised as a CJ3A, I didn't recognize the standard Willys serial number codes. I had read of some production number anomalies, with engine numbers running behind chassis numbers. (how are there fewer engines than chassis'?) The CJV 10xxx serial & engine # pattern wasn't in any publication. The intrigue quickly built.
I located the seller & Jeep, 8 years under a ragged tarp, paid my $500 and loaded it onto the trailer. The trip from Table Rock Lake, AR to Fort Collins, CO was uneventful but wearing from battling heavy winds across the plains of Kansas. The day after, unloading the little vehicle yielded mixed emotions. Yes the serial numbers were odd. No they didn't match (no CJV35 serial numbers match). No it wouldn't run. Yes it was accompanied by a valid title. The body and frame were in advanced stages of rot, showing mostly rusty lace after being tarped storage in a humid clime for nearly a decade. I began to research the project and to tag and inventory every part that appeared to be of "Willys" persuasion. There were many that weren't.
Shortly thereafter E-bay teased another unit with the odd serial number pattern. This one in Helena, MT, I went to collect the pile of junk in the hopes I could massage a trail runner out of the pair. This one had little rust, but had obviously been rolled over. So the story went; after breaking free from its' tow vehicle, it rolled down an embankment carrying its' spray equipment. A Montana rancher let it go to a local collector, who later needed to raise cash. Many, if not all of the CJV/35's were dispersed through the Georgia Army equipment decommissioning depot, most going to Civil Defense (receiving the requisite Blue paint and CD stickers of the late 50's) or to agricultural landowners. By all appearances, this one had somehow bee lined straight from Georgia to Montana. No rust, but no straight sheet metal either. Still in OD faded nearly to yellow, it looked pretty sad. I talked the seller out of a winter top to go with it, and headed towards Yellowstone, proud of my find. The 17 gallon tank on the '79 Ford tow vehicle didn't provide much range in the windy sparsely populated northern Montana plain; running out of gas nearly became a survival challenge. After reaching Yellowstone, filling stations became more prevalent, and that trip too closed without event.
Bob Westerman, owner of www.CJ3a.info started to trickle information. I did have one (two!!) of the rarest Jeeps in the world. Would I mind a visit to see them for comparison? He now operates a site dedicated to the V35. It is access by links at his CJ3A site. Pictures of both units in as-found condition are there. The Montana frame and body are now mated with the Ark. engine and serial number. Few complete examples of these Korean, forward command radio Jeeps exist. Originally partially waterproofed; many parts appear to have been be simply in-development M-38 parts. The little community associated with the type yields few of the hardest to find parts. My final effort has been preserved in potentially realistic battleship gray (justified by one of the colors under the 7 layers of paint on the Arkansas Jeep. These included wheat primer, 2 layers of OD, battleship gray, Civil Defense Blue (complete w/ CD stickers), yellow and topped w/ bright red.). It has correct combat wheels, deep fording equipment, pressurized fuel tank, most of the original waterproof under-the-hood equipment, and all of its' unique dash plaques.