Whole Lada Love, III

  You may already have identified this as a Willys Jeep, the embossed name above the grille being what we car-watchers like to call a Clue. Should you be a student of Jeeps (a worthy academic pursuit), you will no doubt have further denoted it as a CJ3B, from the series produced by Willys-Overland and later the Willys Motor Co. (a subsidiary of Kaiser) between 1953 and 1968.
   This being Cuba, you know it is far more likely to be a pre-1960 CJ3B than a newer model.
    But wait! You've spotted what looks like an independent front suspension under those flat fenders. A Willys with double A-arms? Never happened.
   The underpinnings, in fact, come from a Lada (with some Toyota parts thrown in). The powertrain? Lada again.
   While thousands of intact Ladas remain on Cuban roads, many other have given up their sturdy innards so that the island's still older vehicles can live on.
   This Willys was for sale, asking price 9,000 CUC ($9,183 Cdn. at this writing). The owner told me he and his wife had a child and needed a more family-suitable car.
    The recent law change allowing private ownership of post-1960 vehicles gave him more options. What was he looking to buy? A Lada, he reported. "They're old but they're good."

For more on this topic:

The history of the CJ3B and other Willys

Jeeps in Cuba


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