We met David at the 2021 Willys Rally in Ohio. David had hoped to be part of the show’s Farm Jeep demonstration, but the weather prevented that from taking place. When we learned that David entered local and national plowing competitions with his CJ5 and Monroe lift, we asked him for his Jeep story.
David’s Jeep Story
My family has been associated with Jeeps since my dad bought a 1948 CJ2A with a bent frame in the mid-1960s. After tying it between two big trees with a big come- along, the frame became straight. The next decade brought a lot of hunting and fishing trips, along with a first date with Mom.
After several years of modifications and hard use, Dad decided that it was too dangerous to drive. So, he parted it out. But the CJ2A still is around after its components became the basis for a 4 WD, 4 wheel steer loader for grandpa’s hog operation. Several buildings and lots of snow were moved with this loader, not to mention tons of manure.
In 1979, Mom and Dad bought a new Jeep Cherokee SJ and rekindled the love for the Jeep brand in my family. We’ve almost lost track of how many Jeeps my six siblings and I have owned over the years.
I bought my first Jeep truck in 2006, which was a 1984 J10 short bed. I’ve wanted a CJ5 since high school after seeing one with a Monroe 3 point hitch at my local tractor show. After meeting my future wife and going to her family’s Christmas party, I was introduced to her great uncles who farmed with Jeeps in the late 1940s and early 1950’s. They had a lot of memories of the two CJ2As they had. After listening to their stories, I was determined to acquire some of the farm Jeep equipment.
After a few years of marriage, my wife’s Great Uncle Dave told us about a Monroe 3 point hitch that had been stored above his garage for the last 40 years. He would sell it to me under one condition – – – I had to find a Jeep to put it in. It didn’t take much arm twisting to agree to those terms! A few months later I came across a CJ5 on Craigslist that was a basket case, but still had the original steel body on it. A deal was made and in August of 2015 I started on my first Jeep restoration project. After scrounging for parts and going through every part of the drive train, I assembled the Jeep and installed the hitch.
The CJ5 was multi-colored and rusty, but I plowed with it the first time after the wheat was taken off in the summer of 2016. After the local tractor show, where it got lots of looks and pictures taken, I entered it in the Ohio State Plowing Contest. I had competed in the state and national contests for several years with a 1938 Massey Harris Challenger. I finished last in the small plow class using a Cockshutt 1230 2-12 plow, but I had fun. The Jeep pulled the plow just fine, mainly because I put bar tires on the land wheel.
After Dad passed away that fall and we welcomed our new baby girl Annabelle into the family the next spring, the CJ5 project was put on hold.
In the spring of 2018, I tore down the Jeep to a bare frame. I built a rotisserie to mount the tub on, finished up the body work, and refreshed the driveline with a power lock front differential, and a machined crank in the engine due to low oil pressure from using used parts to save money.
The frame was straightened again, thanks to a huge rock (almost half the size of the Jeep) I hit on one of the plow adventures. In my defense, it was totally covered with dirt and only a small part of it was plow depth. Finally, I started sandblasting and painting the frame and associated parts and boxed the frame for strength. I painted and assembled the drivetrain and gave the body a coat of New Holland blue paint.
I managed to get it back running the day my local tractor show started, even though I had starter issues and had to push-start it every time. A week later, I participated in the Ohio plowing contest again with the Jeep and got second place. This allowed me to go to the national contest that was held in Baudette, Minnesota in conjunction with the world contest held the few days before. While on the way to Minnesota, we stopped at the Half Century of Progress Show in Rantoul, Illinois and got lots of looks and comments. My family and I have enjoyed tooling around in the Jeep, taking it to shows and plowing contests, and just having fun.