1 of 75 Jet-Starting Willys Jeep CJ3A by Valentine APU military MB GPW CJ2A M38
Price: - Item location: Shipshewana, Indiana, United States
- Make: Willys
- Trim: Jet-Starter Jeep
- Year: 1951
- Mileage: 12,557
- VIN: 13918
- Engine size: F-head
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Drive type: 4x4
- Options: 4-Wheel Drive
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1951 WillysWhere do I even begin? This is a very rare and authentic piece of military history; it may be your only chance to own a vehicle like this. If you search "APU Jeep" this very Jeep is all over the internet. It is a 1951 Willys Jeep CJ3A, but was specially contracted by the US Navy to be used as a mobile power unit. This is known as an APU (auxiliarypower unit). It's sole purpose was to start early jet-aircraftas they did not haveon-boardstarters. Itutilizeda PTO-driven generator off the transfercase and fed power through cables to the jet. Theequipmentwas so heavy duty, the Jeeps wereequippedwith larger engines that weren't even available to the public yet.Two different manufacturers built these Jeeps: A company named O.E. Szekely which ahandful of Jeepsare left, but none have any of the original jet equipment. They are only known by their data plates. The other company was Valentine Welder & Co.
This Jeep is a Valentine NA-4 and is the only one known to exist of 75 quoted.
Out of both brands, it is the only APU with any jet-starting equipment left.
Only one with original military paint.
Only one with full surplus documentation and traceable history.
Two versions of APU's were built The 3-wheeledvariantswere used for aircraft carriers. They featured rear wheel steering, no windshields, and small tires to fit under the aircraft wings. Traditional Jeeps with 4x4 were designed for ground bases and have the standard tires/windshield. This Jeep is a 4x4 but has no windshield and has the 3-wheeled size tires, which leads us to believe it was converted for aircraft carrier duty. From heavy research, the USS Wasp (CV-18) is a highpossibilityof the ship this Jeep served upon. The NA-4 Jeep was the state-of-the-art APU of its time and was the most advanced mobile power unit in the USN.
The Jeep itself is an important artifact, but the documentation I have for this Jeep is almost unreal. Most people wonder where their Jeeps served. This one has absolute proof. It hasprovenance. With the Jeep comes the original surplus release paperwork, and a copy of the quote Valentine sent to the US Gov. It includes a breakdown of costs, overhead, parts, etc from the National Archives. This is unheard of in the military vehicle world as records were typically thrown away or lost through time. I am the 3rd civilian owner. It served at the USN base in Norfolk,Virginia. It was sold to surplusbusinessmanHenry Reitsma in Lafayette,IN. I purchased the Jeep from the next owner's son who inherited it. His father purchased the Jeep and appeared to have plans to restore it. In the barn were patch panels andmiscellaneous axle parts. The project was never completed.
Because of this, it has remained completely original as it left surplus on March 26, 1962. The paint is original with hand brushed USN numbers. Hand writing remains on the hood from what I believe was used as an inventory mark while its stay in Lafayette. The PTO drive system remained intact and still works. With the help of a few other people across the globe, we located the correct model generator for the Jeep. It is in original paint as well and was completely refurbished to be in working condition. My goal was to make the Jeep mechanically sound and leave the body and history as is. As the only survivor of its kind, I wanted to preserve it. You can find the full build thread online by searching "Valentine APU Jeep." This is a list of everything I have done to the Jeep:
-installed correct F-head engine
-installed good tranny/tcase, all oil seals replaced. It stillinevitablyleaks
-new clutch system
-installed original refurbished Jack & Heintz G32 generator
-completely new brakes on 3 drums
-original gas tank cleaned & sealed
-new tires & tubes
-battery, wiring, switch
The Jeep is in running, driving, stopping condition. Work I was going to continue but still needs: new brake lines as most are clogged, and misc tasks such as convert to 6V as we previously thought it was to be 12, locate an original bottom seat cushion, find a governor, hook up the other gauges (speedo works), hook up parking brake, and find a control box for the generator. These are just the additional parts of the project I never got to. Included with this sale is:
-original air cleaner
-original surplus release documentation
-copy of Valentine to US Gov quote
-3 copies of The Dispatcher magazine. This Jeep was featured on the cover and has a 5 page center spread of the full history of the Jeep to 2016. I wrote the article/took the pictures so it is guaranteed to be historically accurate.
-model toy 3-wheeled version APU
-original generator manuals
-hard drive with all the documents/research/pictures/videos I have
-a list of APU owners/contacts including the previous owner
-a binder for the documents andsouvenirsfrom the Jeep shows it has attended
It is both a blessing and a curse this is the only known Valentine NA-4 to exist. I have spent many months of researching archives and documentation to bring the Jeep to where it is today. We located the generator. The last partintriguingme is to find a control box to complete the jet-starting equipment. You can see where it onceoperatedon the rear passenger fender. I've been in contact with an APU expert in Germany and we've been working towards finding the model numbers. I've emailed a few veteran sailors andreceivedpriceless information.
I'm selling this because another opportunity has come my way. At 19 years old, I'm working towards investing to ensure a good future after college. I own another Jeep I fully restored that has significant sentimental value. This Navy Jeep is my wildest dreams come true. I enjoy the "chase" of vintage vehicles. I'm the one who rescued the Jeep from the barn, the one who brought it back to life, found priceless documentation that never before surfaced, and added to the cult following for APU Jeeps. I brought the Jeep to a couple of the biggest Willys reunions in the country and nearly couldn't unload it because so many people were crowding to catch a glimpse. My story was published in the magazine. I live a very busy life with too many hobbies, and the Jeep has been sitting in the warehouse since the last show. This being said, displaying the magazine story on the wall is what I value most about the Jeep.
If you are very serious about purchasing this Jeep, please understand it is not ownership. Yes it has a title and could technically be driven on the road, but it is not worth the risk of a texting driver ruining it forever. You are a caretaker to preserve this for generations to come. This Jeep owns you in a way. It has lasted from 1951-2016 as an original piece of military history. You will have the support of not only the entire Jeep community, but the aircraft community as well. My wishes are to forever keep this in the United States and not be sent overseas. It belongs in the country it has served and retired in. Many people whom I've spoke with have specifically mentioned how glad they were to see it was still in the USA. Sending it overseas for a private collection would be heartbreaking. The body paint should be preserved and not repainted over, as the chances of another original one appearing is near impossible at only 75 units ever produced. Many Jeep/aircraft enthusiasts would enjoy to see it at shows across the country. She deserves to be shown off. It is mostdefinitelya trailer queen, but has deserved it. Donating to a museum is probably most appropriate, but she could easily end up in the wrong hands. If you would like to take on theresponsibilityfor caring andpreservingthis Valentine APU, I wish you luck on the auction. If you have any specific questions feel free to call me at 5seven4-3seven0-4505 from 8am-10 pm EST and I'd be happy to talk.