The 1957 Jeep CJ5 was a four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle modeled after the U.S. Army's World War II-era military Jeep. “CJ” stands for Civilian Jeep. The CJ5 series was the longest-running model with production beginning in 1954 and ending in 1984. The Jeep CJ5 and its offspring went through numerous owners: Willys-Overland, Kaiser and American Motors Corporation. Chrysler purchased Jeep in 1987 and abandoned the CJ series for the Jeep Wrangler.
There were two types of engines available on the four-wheel drive 1957 Jeep CJ5. The standard engine was a “Hurricane” F-Head 134-cubic-inch in-line four-cylinder model that originated in the CJ-3B models. The engine, which also powered Willys wagons and pickup trucks, featured a 3.125-inch bore x 4.375-inch stroke and 6.9:1 compression ratio. It generated 72 horsepower and 114 ft.-lbs. of torque. Its torque comes from the twisting force inside the engine to give the Jeep its pulling power and acceleration on steep inclines and over rocky terrain. A single-barrel Carter carburetor delivered the fuel. Buyers could order the 1957 CJ5 with a “High Altitude” Hurricane F-Head that featured a higher compression ratio at 7.4:1. All other specifications remained the same as the standard Hurricane. A three-speed manual was the only transmission available on the 1957 models
The 1957 CJ5 was slightly larger than its predecessor, the CJ-3B. The CJ5’s wheelbase was just over a half-inch longer than the CJ-3B, at 80.7 inches. The CJ5’s length measured 137.9 inches long, about 7 inches longer than the CJ-3B. The CJ5 was 60.7 inches wide and stood 68.1 inches tall. Its curbside weight was 2.259 lbs. and the frame cleared the ground by eight inches. In contrast, the 2,336-lb. CJ6 model, which debuted in 1956 and is a larger version of the C5, featured a 101-inch wheelbase and measured 155 inches long.
The CJ5 models featured a full-boxed rigid cross-member frame and overlapped and flanged sheet metal to strengthen the body. The front suspension was a torsion bar system with sway bar, while the rear featured leaf springs. The 1957 CJ5 featured all-wheel Bendix hydraulic drum brakes.
Features and Production
To describe the 1957 Jeep CJ5 as spartan is an understatement, but it was downright luxurious when sitting next to the 1953 CJ-3B that was virtually unchanged since the Jeep’s inception at the dawn of World War II. Willys beefed up the CJ5’s suspension and enlarged its drum brakes. The windshield now boasted a single piece of glass and was larger than the CJ-3B’s windshield. The automaker redesigned the instrument panel to include an oversized speedometer, but the dashboard and inside door panels were all sheet metal. The CJ5’s added amenities and improvements over the CJ-3B were rounded fenders and door openings, a glove box with a door and a hand brake. Buyers in 1957 could order an optional all-weather soft top. Total CJ5 production between 1954 and 1984 numbered more than 603,000 units.
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