QUESTION: I have checked out the vin# and everything matches, how can I find out if my CJ-5 came with a tail gate ? It does not have one and have been told jeep has always had a tailgate.
ANSWER: CJ-5’s after 1976 did have factory tailgates unless it was ordered without one. So there you have it..seems it could be either. Jeep redesigned the floor plan of the CJ series to accommodate a wider rear frame section and began using an optional rear mounted spare tire which meant no tailgate. It seems that it was easier for Jeep to just make the rear of the body solid than design a swinging tire carrier and tailgate.
Just as a piece of CJ trivia a CJ-7 tailgate and tire carrier will not fit a CJ-5. The CJ-7 body is a few inches higher than a CJ-5.