“Born in 1924 in Germany, his father and stepmother sent him to the Chicago area in 1937 both to live with family and to escape the increasingly anti-Semitic mood in Germany. After Kristallnacht, his older brother Herman, his father Siegfried, and his stepmother joined him in Chicago. Walter flew 30 missions for the U.S. Army Air Corps as a bombardier during the war, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star and rising at least to the rank of Sergeant. After the war, he served as a member of the chief justice’s staff during the war crimes trials in Nuremberg, then returned to the United States and founded W&W Foreign Auto Parts in Blue Island, Illinois.”
While doing research yesterday, I ran across the images shown below and others. I didn’t think much of them until I looked more closely. It appears the builder, who I assume is Wally Cohn, has merged a 1936-1940 Opel Olympia with a MB to create, arguably, the first Jeepster-like vehicle, except it is four wheel drive. The ‘Wally’ appears to use the entire jeep drive train. If you look in back, you’ll even see this car can tow a trailer!
Who is Wally Cohn? I have no idea. I can’t seem to find anything about him, other than his name was Wally Cohn and he was nicknamed the Jeep King by photographer Walter Sanders.
Photographer Walter (Wally) Sanders worked for Life Magazine from 1944 to 1961. After growing up and leaving Germany for the US in 1937, he returned in early 1946 and lived the rest of his life in Europe, mostly in Munich. You can learn more about his biography here.
Because Walter was in Europe during December of 1946, and because these photos were snapped during that month, and because of Wally’s uniform (which Bob noted is an Army Airforce Uniform), I have concluded that Wally Cohn was a member of the armed services trying to merge cars and jeeps into a Wally vehicle of some kind (note the name Wally is displayed prominently on the dash in one of the pics).
This would be a great collector’s item — and a cool jeep too!