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DRT1 04-29-2021 09:40 PM

CJ5 Super Jeep - Prototype?? Automatic Trans
5 Attachment(s)
Mystery machine 1973-74?, one owner( Jeep Toledo factory engineer, Charles Houston was told by jeep exec's that an automatic could not be put in a CJ-5, he did it!!), Family story - Two were built, other one was blue, both were taken to Moab and the blue one was wrecked, first two CJ's to ever have auto trans installed in the Toledo factory at Mr. Charles direction. The TH-400 and console look to be sourced from maybe the commando parts that he would have had access to. It also has power brake and steering, no VIN/Build tag due to prototype status??, tachometer, 258 code 708A29 - August of 74' i think. There are a few things here that the Super Jeeps were not offered with, a white painted windshield, tail gate, orange and white striping on champagne white body but this jeep rolled out of the factory with these features. Maybe Mr. Charles wanted the automatics to be different?? Who knows?? My friend ( son-in-law of engineer that built it) and I got the engine running after 30yr sit, it has a little tap in it. Pressure washed and removed old interior, removed the wheels and drums and sandblast the wheels in prep for paint. We have ordered a new windshield frame and gas tank. I have been trying to get the word out and try to find anyone out there that can back up the family story behind this jeep or just shed more light on its existence. Family says they have pics of the two jeeps at Moab, trying to locate them. We are working to get this back on the road but don't know if a nut/bolt resto is needed or just kill the rust and patina. Anyway, this is a good Jeep story. Thought i would share what i am working on. I will try and attach some photos

keith460 04-30-2021 04:35 AM

Wow, that's a piece of history you got there. It's almost a shame you have to take it apart for repairs and refinishing. It would be cool just to sand and paint a clear coat on it to preserve its current patina. or Collins Brothers Jeep would pay a handsome price to get that CJ-5 in their shop since it is a one of a kind.

Can you post pics of the underside showing the automatic transmission?

DRT1 04-30-2021 04:50 AM

Not sure what we will do to it yet. Patina route is on the table though, never done that before so would be fun. Just trying to do as much research on it as i can right now, no documentation due to never having a VIN#. The story goes the thing should have been crushed! They don't know how Mr. Charles got them to let him keep it, or at least they haven't told me that yet....

DRT1 04-30-2021 05:29 AM

I don't have any yet and i will not be back around it until the middle of May. I may can get some taken and sent to me to share. One thing that bothers me is that the install is rough, i don't know if that was typical for an R&D project back then or what,?<. Shims for the crossmember are stacked flat iron and bolts used are the biggest thing. It is like they did not care what it looked like, just get it in there and we can refine everything later??? IDK. The rear drive shaft is probably only 12 long, if that.

BagusJeep 04-30-2021 06:14 AM

Could it be a ....... HOLY GRAIL JEEP?

Yep, Dennis Collins would pay for it.

JEEPFELLER 04-30-2021 08:24 AM

I've seen lots of stuff that Mr. Collins has presented.

My personal take on this is:

Maybe I just want a nice Jeep to drive around?

The Jeep shown here is a museum piece.......I would maybe daily drive it if it were fixed up.......It might mean more to me if it were WWII and jointly belonged to Patton and Audie Murphy

Then again I might wreck it and make it worthless!

Most of the guys on here would hunt me down and make me run the gauntlet.

Maybe the Collins feller might "square you away" with a nice, ready to go Jeep---with yours in exchange (Maybe a plaque giving you credit affixed to the Jeep)

Not many folks would go out of their way just to "SWING" by my house to see a one of a kind anything, not to mention my restoring would not compare to his restoring.

Your people would have to get with his people---don't forget about the people with the suggestion!


devildog80 04-30-2021 10:58 AM

1 Attachment(s) that an 8 track add on, or the hidden gun slot :)

DRT1 04-30-2021 06:53 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Transmission pic

keith460 05-01-2021 05:04 AM

One can only hope that this CJ-5 is an actual factory test vehicle because it would not be the first time that someone tried and either failed or was successful in getting an automatic trans to fit in the confines of a CJ-5.

You would need written or some type of proof that said person was an actual engineer for AMC/Jeep and had this done.

John Strenk 05-01-2021 06:49 AM

That roll bar speaker would make a good headrest for me...

DRT1 05-01-2021 07:10 AM

The proof of being an AMC Engineer should not be a problem but the Jeep is another story. May not ever be able to close the loop. That is why I am telling this story everywhere I can in hopes that some old timer will remember hearing about it. If the two Jeeps were taken to Moab, certainly if you were there you would remember two ugly (at the time) automatic super jeeps. Family thinks it was 1976 but could have been 1975. I say that because the engine code date is 8/74. Not having VIN#/Build plate is a pain in the butt. Because just being a super Jeep that left the factory in 74 would be special alone without automatic

JoonHoss 05-01-2021 08:15 AM


Originally Posted by keith460 (Post 41261539)
One can only hope that this CJ-5 is an actual factory test vehicle because it would not be the first time that someone tried and either failed or was successful in getting an automatic trans to fit in the confines of a CJ-5.

Yep, I had a SBC/TH350 automatic combo in my 1957 CJ5
(M38A1?)... and yes, that rear driveshaft WAS short (even with the lift)!

They did make 10 super jeeps in 1976, as part of the bicentennial, mostly for PR work and the show circuit, and we're all red/white/blue, with blue levis denim interior and no tailgate.

I know the decals were available from the dealership, perhaps the original owner simply applied the super jeep decals to his stock (modified) jeep (especially since they are the orange/white option,
which were only installed on the yellow jeeps). Are there any remnants of the rest of the super Jeep options? White interior, dash pad, visors, etc?


DRT1 05-01-2021 07:52 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The children of Mr. Charles have it, it has never left the family. This is a factory project jeep never VIN'ed, there is no correct or incorrect paint or striping. We can speculate that there was to be a 74 super jeep and there would be an options change, different striping, tail-gate etc.., but due to nobody wanted them, jeep gave him one of those to cut on instead of the Renegade that were in demand. Or,, Mr. Charles wanted the automatics to be different,,, who knows. No speculation, i am attempting to nail this down and need some help to get people talking about it. This forum is helping :smile2:. I like the conversation. Per the family that drove the jeep from new in the 70's up until it was stepped out of in the driveway in 92', both daughters and a son of Mr. Charles, the only thing that has been replaced since dad brought home is seats, tires and maybe radiator. It has a bondo repair on the driver side rear door opening and an Ah-ooo-Gah horn under the hood. I have got to ask about the glove box, if there was ever a door on it or not. Mr. Charles apparently was a Jeep R&D Engineer, he also built a long bed Crew Cab J20 in 1975-76. Used it for a family vacation, brought it back and had to crushed it, no VIN on it either. I started a thread about it in the Full Size Jeep Forum but i will post a pic of the truck here. Manufactures don't like non VIN vehicles to leave their eye. When i worked for a Tier 1 GM supplier we had fully functional vehicles on the plant floor, SUV's to Corvettes, when we were through building parts for that model, GM would send a rep down and watch that vehicle be completely destroyed with sledge hammers and cutting torches. They did not have VIN's so they could not be donated or used for any purpose. That also makes most all claims about non VIN vehicles hear-say, I have a tough task...but an open mind. Gonna be a fun build either way. Thanks for the comments and keep them coming!!

CSP 05-01-2021 11:53 PM

I don't know that I'd call either of them Super Jeeps, just because of the stripes which were likely found as leftovers in an AMC parts department. The SJ was a 73 only model and was more than just the decals. The seats were one off, the dash pad and visors were white and they didn't have tailgates just like the intermediate year Renegades.

DRT1 05-02-2021 12:59 AM

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They did have tailgates, black top and black dash pads!! I don't think this magazine would order a CJ5 and put a stripe kit on it just to call it a Super Jeep to do a test, in July of 1973. From all of my research, I did not think you could get a black top and dash pad or tailgate either. My eyes are telling me that yes you could... this cover could be misleading but this is very interesting. I think i will search for this issue of ORV&A.

EDIT;; This magazine cover is interesting but has no bearing on the project that I am working on because this jeep never was and never will be a recognized SJ. It has never had a VIN# or Build Tag. I do think it was meant to be a SJ just like the one on the mag cover, but without build tag, no go. The three things an SJ must have are the SSR&O of D5596, one of the correct Stripe and Paint Codes (6 avail), and one of the trim codes (2 avail). My project is a factory R&D prototype from, best guess 1974, which happens to have started its life out with plans to be a SJ,, plans change.

The time now is 01:51 PM.

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