CJ2A Colors and Parts Finish

Ruminations on what was painted which color or other finish

(regarding footman loops mainly, for now)

These pages are preliminary and unfinished, and will continue to evolve.

Since there is an active discussion about some of these issues, I've posted what I have as-is.

Comments, suggestions, questions or corrections are welcome.

Last updated on: 10-23-2005

"What color should such-and-such a part be on a 194x CJ2A?"
This question always seems to comes up from time to time, and there are always multiple answers!

The best answer would come from genuine period color photos of actual CJs. Unfortunately, I've never seen one. Have you? There are a few good black & white photos, but then they can't be definitive about color.

Next best would be from Willys manuals. While there's some of these around, they are inconsistent, contradictory, lacking detail, and sometimes just plain wrong.

So we're left on our own to figure it out. With the help of people on the various Willys forums, and some deep digging into various manuals and photos, I've come to my own opinions. They can't be considered conclusive, but it's the best I've got to go by until more documentary evidence can be found.

Most images here are scanned from the 1945 Willys CJ2A Maintenance Manual. One comes from the '65 Service Manual. These are real photographs of actual CJ2As.

If you doubt that assertion, see THIS EXPLANATION

(all photos link to higer resolution images)

On with the show!

This is the best full-body photo from the '45 manual. It has been retouched to remove the background, but is otherwise complete (reflections in the glass, and shadows on the tires haven't even been removed).

Note that there is only one footman loop in this photo, on the grille. There are NONE on the body tub! Yet I say this is unretouched. Why? Because :

footman loops on the tub were OPTIONAL!

Yep, I think they were optional. More about this later on

Here's a side body shot.

Note the footman loops are black, not body color.

Hold on! If there were no footman loops in the photo above, how did they get here?

Because Willys used at least 2 different vehicles for the photographs in this manual.

More about that later on too.

And here's the rear view.

Canvas soft top installed.

Footman loops are black

Now here's the front view.

Note the footman loop is black.

Now wait a minute! That's an MB! Well, yes and no. It's an MB grille, but it's not an MB. Its' a CJ2 (NOT a 2A!)

The MB did not have a footman loop for the windshield tie-down, and didn't have full-lens marker lights.

This is the 2nd vehicle Willys used for the photos in the manual. The CJ2 was a prototype, never a production vehicle. Some had MB, some had CJ grilles. Some had floor, some had column shifts. Some had tailgates, some not. Check them out here.

This photo is interesting. It shows the CJ2 interior, not the 2A, and is noteworthy for what's missing.

Compared to the next photo, note the short MB style windshield, how the bow clamps reach the windshield tube, lack of a center latch, inner windshield bump-stops and Willys logo (see photo above for outer skin).

This is a detailed photo. Note the gloss black seat frames, other misc. black bits and pieces, body-color gas tank, and what appears to be bright plated seat cover screws (perhaps chrome or cad or zinc, but not black)

In particular, notice that there are NO lower door hinge sockets for the soft top. (continued in next photo ....)

In contrast to above, here's a later floor shift CJ2A. It's more familiar, with the taller windshield, Willys logo, the other usual bits & pieces, and a body-color gas tank.

But note here that the lower door hinge sockets ARE installed,....and they are BLACK!

They're black because they are OPTIONAL! They're optional because they were ONLY supplied with the soft top kit, which was .... OPTIONAL! (this data from the '49 parts list).

It stands to reason, that if the soft top was optional, the footman loops would also be optional, since they serve no other purpose (except the one on the grille).

Now for some real photos

Actual period photographs with more supporting evidence.
This is the finest example of a CJ2a I've seen. It's an early '45 (I think s/n 10043?). It's not a very hi-res photo, but some things are clear.
  • The footman loop on the grille is black (can't see the tub loops good enough to say).
  • The mirror bracket is black. It's mounting bolts are black, while it's pivot bolts are bright plated.
  • The windshield pivot bracket is body color. The bolts are hard to tell, but look like body color.
  • The windshield thumbscrew is also difficult to tell, could be plated or could be body color.
This one's a later CJ2A. At least after early '46, going by the. windshield adjuster. It's titled "47-G" so it's probably a '47.
  • While it's a dark body color, the footman loops are darker still, so likely black. Certainly not body color.
  • Again, the windshield pivot is body color, and the mirror bracket is black.
  • Windshield adjusters & latches, and step fasteners are plated.
  • Seat cover fasteners are unusual. Clearly not black, but just as clearly not bright plated like the windshield parts.
  • Parking brake handle is NOT black like some I've seen.
I believe these next photos are true-color (not colorized B&W) for a couple of reasons:
  1. They are relatively poor resolution. Color photos typically don't have the resolution or contrast range of black & white film. That may not be true anymore, but it certainly was back then.
  2. The water in the "Fishing" photo looks too natural. It would have been difficult and time consuming to "colorize" it so well.

Even if they are colorized, why bother to darken such minute details as footman loops, unless the model used for colorizing had black loops in the first place?

This is another CJ2 prototype, not CJ2A. Notice the short, non-logo windshield, and the bow brackets.

Footman loops are black. Both those across the tailgate, and those on the left tub lip.

Tailgate hinges are body color.

This might even be the SAME CJ2 used to illustrate the '45 manual.

This is the same CJ2 as above. Note the license plate number.

Footman loops on the tailgate are black.

These last 2 photos were likely meant for Willys promotional advertising.


If you've followed it all so far, even if you don't agree, consider this:

Willys didn't make the bodies & sheet metal, ACM did. They were likely delivered to Willys pre-painted, in a crate or otherwise bundled up.

So any part needed to assemble the body pieces together would all have come from ACM, and been pre-painted with the rest of the sheet metal. eg, windshield pivot brackets, hood hinge, tailgate hinges, windshield latches etc.

Parts NOT supplied by ACM, but bolted on afterwards by Willys, would have been .... BLACK! Items such as: outside mirror & mounting bracket, hood latches, door hinge sockets, hood blocks, marker lights, head lights, seat pivots, etc. ... and FOOTMAN LOOPS! There is some photographic evidence of this.