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Thread: My newly bought 1961 Willy Jeep Truck J 300 Body Style

  1. #1

    My newly bought 1961 Willy Jeep Truck J 300 Body Style

    I go by the name K-9 Handler USAF. My name is Jerry. Today 05/18/2020 I bought what I think is a 1961 Jeep Truck J-300 body style. The door plate says it was made by Willys Motors in Toledo, Ohio and the serial Number is 3306E 10253. Can someone out there tell me what year and what the serial number means? Thanks in-advance, Jerry

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Welcome K-9 Handler USAF, and thank you for your service!

    A quick look through the serial number guide doesn't show a match for the model number or the serial. The J-300 didn't come on the scene until '63 or' 64. As with most everything Willys, you can never say they never did something, because their records were horrendous. Usually you find a previous body styles titled as up to '65, because the body manufacturers overbuilt, and Willys didn't throw anything out except records.

    Please post pictures of your ride so we can narrow down the possibilities.

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    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    After doing some digging, I came across this breakdown for the Willys, (later Kaiser) Gladiator pickups;

    http://www.offroaders.com/tech/jeep/vin_61-65.htm

    I stand corrected on the first year that the Gladiator was available. You do have a '61, and yours was the 253 truck made in 1961.

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    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Awesome find! 1961 has to be a first year. There can't be a lot of those around.

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    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Over the last couple of years, as GMWillys has stated, we have learned to caution folks to never say “Willys/Kaiser, etc. would never have _________________.” (Fill in the blank with whatever strange thing you may have found.) And he is right in that all they threw away were records. Imagine a manufacturer today reissuing titles to change a vehicle model year from 1952 to 1953 for unsold dealer inventory. Can you say "lawsuits"?

    Your J-300 Gladiator from 1961 falls into one of the most uncertain times at Willys-Overland-Kaiser-Fraiser-Jeep. In trying to figure out serial numbers, one researcher writes:

    “ These production totals and serial number series for all Willys-Overland models, are taken from compilations handwritten by Norton Young, 1959-61. Mr. Young was an employee in the Willys-Overland Engineering Department. The figures are currently being transcribed by Charlie Weaver, Winston-Salem, NC, who says:

    "In a talk with Norton Young a week or 2 ago, he told me that by 1961, the folks in the corner offices at K-F (Kaiser-Fraiser) had no more interest in these statistics so he quit keeping them. He also said that he had difficulty getting "timely" reports from the production people, and often had to go thru the unit sheets himself and try to piece the info together. He admitted that there may be some errors." “.

    http://www.public.asu.edu/~grover/willys/serial.html

    Your serial number, 3306E 10253 does not follow the 14-character VIN standard adopted about 1962, so it hints that your truck in indeed an earlier vehicle. (But, it could have been built out of pieces and parts into well into 1962 – standard VIN notwithstanding). A guess says that the first 5 characters represent some reference to body and engine type – but I’ve not found that as yet. The last five give a bit more information. Willys and Kaiser commonly started serial numbers at 10000, so the last five digits hint that this was the 253rd unit of whatever “3306E” designated.

    Regardless, you do have a neat early Jeep Gladiator truck. You won’t see anything like it just going down the road. Send us pictures and let us know what you’re doing with it!

  6. #6
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    The break down for the 3306E is as follows;

    33: J300 2WD Gladiator

    06: Cab and chassis

    E: 5,000 GVW

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    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Magic Decoder Ring

    Quote Originally Posted by gmwillys View Post
    The break down for the 3306E is as follows;

    33: J300 2WD Gladiator 06: Cab and chassis E: 5,000 GVW
    OK, now I see how the Captain America Magic Decoder Ring works. Good work!

    And he does have the 253rd one ...

    What are the chances that it really is a '61? Just about all the stuff I find is "... introduced 1962 for model year 1963..". If so, it won't be the first time year designations were off. My '48 is serial numbered as a '49.

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    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    All the information that I came across had introduced in'62 for the '63 model year as the first year, but then scrolling down to the actual decoder, it has '61 through '65. The mysteries of Willys, the left hand didn't know what the right hand was up to, as in your article.

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    Lets see some pictures.

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    Senior Member 5JeepsAz's Avatar
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    That's the same coding tag as on my 64 J300. That's the long bed. The short bed being J200. I spent five years over a couple of months last year finding out everything I could on this. How I found this forum actually. What you have there is a very early model. Like, the very beginning. If you are interested I have a ton of links that will get you there. Think twice before you step, you might have the earliest survivor available on the market. Yours is rare! Congratulations!! Pictures!!!

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