A Look Into a Hidden Treasure Trove of Heritage Jeeps

From glorified dune buggies to a roaring 1950s pickup

By Shari Gab

 
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13 June 2017

When a hobby becomes a collection becomes a museum — when does that become a problem?

The answer is never … so long as we’re talking vintage Jeeps.

And that’s exactly what we’re talking.

Because tucked away in Georgia, Omix-ADA, aftermarket Jeep accessories supplier and parent company of Rugged Ridge, has an enviable fleet of heritage Jeeps.

Founder and President Al Azadi first came to the States at age 24 and started Omix-ADA right years later in ‘92. He started out buying some surplus parts and worked tirelessly day-to-night to convince his first customers to give him a chance. The work paid off. 

“But with all that said, what is better than waking up each day and going to work and being able to see Jeeps from 1941 through today in all shapes and form?” said Azadi. “I am a lucky man.”

Indeed you are, fine sir.

Realizing that he wanted to preserve the Jeep legend, Azadi embarked on collecting classic rides to preserve the brand’s history and facilitate access for his future product development.

Forget the corner office, we want a desk with a view of these 30-or-so off-road rogues, with these five selects front and center.

1966 Jeep Wagoneer
Before SUV was a household word, Willys-Overland Motors must’ve seen the future in a crystal ball. The Wagoneer was a cabin atop a truck with four-wheel drive and independent front suspension. Discontinued in ‘91, Jeep finally came to their senses and is bringing the steed back. This particular make has 17,830 original miles on it and passed hands twice before landing at Omix-ADA.   

1955 Willys Pickup
The Willys pickup came with some of the raddest engines you’ll ever come by beginning with the “Go-Devil” in ‘49, on to the “Hurricane” in the early ‘50s and finally integrating the “Super Hurricane” and later the “Tornado OHC” in its final years. Over 200,000 were produced, but we’ll never get enough.

1960 Willys DJ-3A Surrey
The Surrey was intended for hotels as a low-cost viable option for guest rentals. They came about when Henry Kaiser took over Willy-Overland only to retire in Hawaii and become a hotelier. Where there was a will, there was a Willy.

1971 Jeepster Commando
The Commando was a sportier Jeepster meant to attract a younger consumer crowd. And a successful “fun in the sun” marketing campaign sealed the deal with the beach-going younguns.

1964 Willys CJ3-B
At the close of WWII, Willys-Overland looked to market the CJs to civilians, primarily in the agricultural and industrial sects, pitched as an “all-purpose vehicle.” With around 160,000 produced, the CJ3-Bs remain among some of the rarest, thereby coveted, catches on the market today.

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