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6000 Miles: From Maine to Hawaii with Love (For Jeepsters)

• CATEGORIES: Features, Jeepster, Reader Stories

Glenn wrote this nice story which was published in the June 2010 issue of Jeepster News.


(ABOVE:) At The Pearl Harbor Memorial- ’50 Willys Jeepster, Left- Randy Spangler,  Middle- Glenn  Byron, Right- Maurice Goguen.

EAST MEETS WEST – 6000 MILE JEEPSTER EVENT By Glenn Byron

Sometimes we take for granted the many benefits our membership in WOJC [Willys Overland Jeepster Club] pro- vides. For example, that booklet you received titled “ WOJC 2010 ROSTER” is just something that arrives. Larry & Shirley Wozniak volunteered a bunch of time and effort to get this quality product to club members. Using it as a tool is a bonus for paying our meager dues. Let’s look at where this can take us. Recently, in planning for a cruise to visit our 50th state, Hawaii, I noticed a scheduled one day port call in Honolulu.

Just for kicks, I grabbed that Roster to see if we had members there. Garage tours and visits with other enthusiasts are always great sidelines to get away from usual tourist activities. Sure enough, all of Hawaii has one lonely WOJC member, Randy Spangler, right there in Honolulu. A quick email to Randy to intro- duce myself and inform him of my visit, yielded a friendly response with encourage- ment to see what we could put together. Nothing concrete, just loose parameters to keep both of us available as all the unknowns could allow. Our first port was Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii, with Honolulu, on Oahu, the following day. “Call me from Hilo and we’ll see what the cards hold” was Randy’s invitation. Here’s how it came down.


ABOVE: Randy Spangler’s Island Cruiser, a ’50 Willys Jeepster mounted on a Chevy Blazer chassis- A great performing unit for Boulevard or Beach. 

Three couples on a cruise ship make too large a load for a Willys Jeepster, so careful strategy had to happen to be sure no one felt compromised. The girls were anxious to see Waikiki Beach, and with great personal sacrifice, I crossed that off my list. The other two guys, though not car oriented, agreed to back seat status and a full load resulted. Contact with Randy was made from Hilo and plans laid down for Willys Jeepster to meet Golden Princess at the dock in Honolulu. How’s that for a welcoming committee? Heads turn when ever we put our Jeepsters on display, but this may be a first! Randy’s 1950 Jeepster is especially suited to the hustle and bustle of Oahu gridlock traffic.


ABOVE: Randy Spangler’s high school driver and the ’48 Willys Jeepster his father bought on the island in the early 50’s for family transportation while they waited for their Buick Wagon to arrive from the mainland.

The nice original Jeepster body sits perfectly on a 70’s Chevy Blazer chassis. Four wheel drive, great brakes, power steering, and a throaty 350 V-8 makes this thing right at home on boulevard or sand. Randy shamelessly showed us views of his back yard paradise like no other tourist has experienced. You see, Randy, when he is not tour guide for wayward WOJC members, is the set up, go to guy, for just about every movie made on the islands in the last 40 years. He knows every nook and cranny. Jungle scenes, native huts, cliffs, beautiful beaches, or roaring surf, he’s provided the backdrop you’ve seen on TV and movie screens without meeting him before, although I think he told me he actually had a scene in a Hawaii 5-O episode.

We cruised the island for 4-5 hours in awe of the scenery, swapping our stories, and even checking several filming locations he’s involved with now. A visit to his home, hidden high in the hill country away from Honolulu, yielded another Jeepster needing an engine transplant to return to service. This ‘48, Randy’s Dad bought used in 1955 when they moved to Hawaii from Ohio while waiting for their ‘52 Buick Woody Wagon to arrive.


ABOVE: Inside Randy’s Surfboard Museum where the Jeepster awaits an engine transplant. 

Randy’s driver from high school days now sits peacefully inside his surfboard museum. How many of those have you visited? The pictures included with this article not only show this WOJC member from Smithfield, Maine meeting one really great WOJC guy from Honolulu, Hawaii, 6000 miles apart, but thrown in for extra credit is a Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia, an additional 500 miles more.

Randy loves the magnificent surroundings he lives, works and plays in. His pride and enthusiasm radiate through as he freely shares a peek into our beautiful 50th state, a day to remember for sure. Use that Membership Roster when you’re in strange lands. Maybe you can enjoy perks like this. Book ‘em Danno!

 

One comment on “6000 Miles: From Maine to Hawaii with Love (For Jeepsters)

  1. Colin

    Great story after reading it again, Glenn! Dave, thanks for publishing it, and Randy, thanks for being a great host. If anyone gets to Oahu and wants to meet up with a great Jeep guy, Randy is the one!

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