In October of 2015, Ron Cooper, Jr. shared a picture of his 1957 Willys Jeep CJ-5 with GMC bed on our Facebook page. Naturally we were both surprised and curious about the unique Jeep, and piece of history for that matter, which he shared with us. Many of B&R's customers and fans are also loyal, and sometimes outspoken, members of the Jeep Family. That's why we decided to pursue Ron for more information about his Jeep. He was gracious enough to visit our Eugene store location to allow us to snap a few pics as well as answer a few questions we had about his Jeep's journey. Our conversation is recorded below.
B&R: Ron thanks so much for taking time to bring your Jeep in for a little show-and-tell. So tell us about your Jeep. What engine and transmission are you currently running in it?
Ron Cooper, Jr. (RC): It's a custom 1957 Willys Jeep CJ-5 with a bed from a 1957 GMC truck. Currently, it has the original flat-head, four cylinder engine and three-speed transmission. It runs well and is mechanically sound; just needs TLC.
B&R: What inspired you to do this customization in the first place?
RC: Actually, the work was done before I bought it. I was told that, in early 1960's, the Grandfather of the person I got it from had needed a pickup and had the CJ just sitting there. He also had a GMC truck of which the bed was the only part left in good shape. So he extended the frame of the CJ5, 20 inches and shortened the GMC bed eight inches to fit the extended Jeep frame. He then shaved four inches off fenders of the GMC bed to fit body line of CJ5. And that is how it came to be.
B&R: Do you have any plans for more work or to sell this vehicle in the future?
RC: I plan to keep as is for now. I have had it for just over a year. I drive it daily so each month I pick something that needs TLC and fix it. It was bought as a project that we can play with and tinker with. We have not decided where this Jeep project will take us. But I'm sure it will get us there.
B&R: Did you name this vehicle, if so what?
RC: No name yet. Still seeing if it speaks to us.
B&R: What is most exciting about this vehicle for you?
RC: I have the only one of its kind that I know of and it’s just fun to drive and show it off.
B&R: What are you currently working on fixing up on the Jeep right now?
RC: I'm getting ready to fix exhaust leaks and repair the 1-Wire GM alternator bearing.
B&R: Do you ever take your jeep offroad or mainly just stick to commuting around town?
RC: We take it off-road and it's a daily driver too. We have pictures and videos of off-road stuff too!
B&R: Of course; it is a Jeep after all!
In order to express our gratitude for Ron bringing his Jeep in for us to see, we offered him a B&R gift certificate to use however he pleased. Then he surprised us by using his gift certificate to purchase a spare from us for his son's 2002 TJ! It probably shouldn't be surprising given the powerful culture and enthusiasm surrounding the Jeep brand.
In fact, Ron took it a step further by sending in a picture of his father's 1953 CJ 3A 2wd! Wow, Ron you truly have a Jeep Family!
So, if you live in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon area, keep an eye out for Ron and his custom 1957 CJ-5 to see what improvements or further mods he's made. Thanks for reading!
At B&R Auto Wrecking, we are experts in used car & truck parts here to help you conquer any automotive, or Jeep, project. To find your auto parts solution, visit our website, call us at 1-855-339-1932, or connect with us today on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google, and eBay.