The first link that appears in our Welcome page takes the reader to Bob’s article on the Willys Farm Jeep and the Jeep Tractor. We have referenced this article multiple times, online and in our published articles. In fact, we have used the articles at Bob’s CJ-3A Information Page as a primary resource in our research and in our Jeep projects.
Bob’s book The Civilian Jeep Model CJ-3A A guide to its features and evolution, 1949-1953 is the result of twelve years of research. His online work is filled with the same attention to detail and fact finding. Most importantly to all the Willys Jeep community is that he has chosen to freely share his knowledge and expertise. We jokingly refer to Bob’s work as Cliff’s Notes for farm jeep students.
An interview with Bob Westerman
FJ – Bob, thanks for taking a few minutes to tell us about you Jeep life. How did you come to be involved in the Willys world?
BW – My first car was a 1973 Chevrolet Suburban with 4 wheel drive. The four wheeling bug bit and I got that beast stuck everywhere. The logical upgrade was to a Jeep so I purchased a 1977 CJ-5. Since then I’ve always owned one or more Jeeps. It wasn’t until I purchased a 1952 CJ-3A that originality and history began to be important to me. Since then I’ve spent countless hours researching these old Jeeps.
FJ – So why a CJ3A and why the interest in its history?
BW – The 1952 was actually the third CJ-3A that I owned. The first I purchased as a failed V6 conversion. I completed it with a V8 engine. The second I build from the ground up using a reproduction frame and body. These made me partial to 3As so later on I picked up the mostly original 1952 CJ-3A. When someone asked me if it had the original engine that set the hook and got me on the path to originality and history.
FJ – When you say the question “set the hook” did you have any background in doing research in the automotive industry? If no, how did you know where to start or maybe just how did
BW – I did not have any research background. There are two parts to my research. There is surviving period paperwork in many different forms. I started finding this information by visiting libraries that had listings for anything Willys related. The second part is documenting all the details of surviving Jeeps. Visiting shows and asking questions.
FJ – Which came first, the Web site (cj3a.info) or your book (http://www.cj3a.info/book/index.html)?
BW – The website came way before the book. The driving force behind the book was because I couldn’t even remember everything I already knew about the CJ-3A, so I put it all down in a book.
FJ – During your research, were there questions you had that you weren’t able to answer? If so, are there any that you still ponder?
BW – The more research I do, the more unanswered questions I have.
FJ – Did you ever see yourself writing a book about a Jeep?
BW – Nope.
FJ – If you had been granted a wish and could have two of your questions answered, what questions would you put on the list?
1. Was there ever a pre-production/pilot model CJ-3 or did they jump right from the CJ-2A to the CJ-3A?
2. What is the serial number of the Jeep in this photo…
FJ – I know you have done a lot of research of early Jeeps. Do you have plans for more books or just more articles on some of those unanswered questions?
BW – The lack of time is holding me back. Currently I just don’t have time for anything but perhaps an occasional article.
FJ – There is a recent post on the CJ2a forum (https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/x98-and-bam-bam-have-a-bad-idea_topic45979_post461872.html#461872) that shows you having fun wheeling. When you are not doing research or writing, how do spend your Jeep time? What Jeeps are in your current stable?
BW – I still enjoy going out four-wheeling with friends so my “Jeep” time is divided between many things. They don’t repair themselves so I spend time maintaining them too. Currently I have a 2003 TJ, 1964 CJ-5, 1953 CJ-3B, 1952 M-38, 1952 CJ-3A, and a 1950 CJ-V35.
FJ – Thanks Bob. We appreciate all your good work and look forward to hearing more from you.