Long before SUVs were in every driveway, in the early 1960s Kaiser-Willys came to the realization that they needed a way to present their Jeep CJ-5 as more than just a tough, faithful workhorse. They wanted it to appeal to the well-to-do and get them to see it as an upscale “fun” vehicle that was just as suited for going to the beach as it was going hunting or working on a farm. And that is how the CJ-5 “Tuxedo Park” package came to be, an upmarket appearance and trim package designed for the 1961-1964 Willys Jeep CJ-5. Later a Mk. IV variation was introduced, and the package was also available on the CJ-6.
But what exactly makes a CJ-5 a Tuxedo Park? A bunch of unique chrome bits, special upgraded seat upholstery, hubcaps, and other details that make them stand out from a regular CJ-5 destined for municipal or similar tough, thankless duties.
However, the Tuxedo Park Jeeps were not a huge success which makes them very rare today. And, like any vintage CJ-5, most fell victim to hard use and/or the elements, making a good original Willys CJ tough to find today- especially a Tuxedo Park.
Which is why when I found this spectacular example in Paradise Valley, Arizona last year I had to bring it home. It was in amazing condition, completely rust-free and still wearing its original Indian Ceramic paint, albeit faded. So once I had it home we did a sympathetic cosmetic freshening, painting the exterior surfaces and the cargo area in a precisely matched Indian Ceramic single-stage paint that would match the original sheen it would have had when new. The seats were recovered with custom made upholstery that matches the original pattern and grain precisely. And mechanically we went through the little CJ completely, restoring the entire braking system, cooling system, fuel system, and fully servicing the engine and drivetrain. The carburetor was rebuilt, as was the distributor to which we fitted a Pertronix electronic ignition. The valves were adjusted, all fluids changed, all 5 wheels powder coated and 5 new correct tires fitted. The original speedometer/ multi-gauge assembly was also restored, a new fuel tank sending unit installed when we had the fuel tank boiled and sealed, and every light on the truck was made to function. A correct new exhaust was also fitted. Of course we also put in a new battery and tuned the truck to perfection- making it an absolute blast to drive! The truck has great oil pressure, runs cool, and the 4wd works as it should.
Again, the body is completely rust free as you can see from the photos. There is no added undercoating or cover-ups underneath, just original and amazingly preserved factory finishes throughout.
No matter what your intended purpose is this eager little CJ-5 Tuxedo Park will certainly not disappoint. Why drive just another boring wannabe when you can show up in the real thing?
- Price: $ 20000
- Year: 1963
- Mileage: 50,000 mi
- VIN: 153839
- Condition: Impressive
- Exterior Color: Indian Ceramic
- Interior Color: Black
- Transmission: 3 Speed
- Final Drive:
- Engine: 134 CID Hurricane I4
- Drivetrain: 4WD