To Top

The King of Jeeps: Berg’s Truck and Parts Co., Inc

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features

UPDATE: Brochure sold on eBay.

I spotted this 1960 Catalog from Berg’s Truck and Parts Company tonight.  Hyman Berg, a Ukrainian by emigre,  was possibly the first distributor of Willys Parts (though I have no information that definitively backs this claim).  Mr. Berg founded the international truck and jeep parts company in the 1940s. In the 1950s, he founded Amsco Parts Co. Both were at 1608 S. Wabash, Chicago, Illinois.  Apparently, JC Whitneys was right down the street from Bergs for some period of time.  According to Berg’s grandson, the family was immersed in Marketing for decades, hence the decision by Hy to be known as the “King of Jeeps”.

In addition, as suggested by this G503 thread, Hy sold Sears Jeep parts and also sold Jeep parts to the Phillipines.  He bought some early prototype jeeps and housed them at this same location, which is where this photograph was taken.  There is more information about Berg here, too, from G503.

Hyman Berg died in 1986 at the age of 75.

The CJ-3B Page has a cover of a 1958 Catalog.


26 Comments on “The King of Jeeps: Berg’s Truck and Parts Co., Inc

  1. deilers

    Interesting. I’m not so sure what’s going on. Though the indents and the side mirror are on the passenger side, the steering wheel is still on the driver side.

  2. frankthecrank58

    let’s see……….1960. no computers , no photoshop , crappy photocopiers. guy putting together the catalog prints off a bunch of copies and notices the pic of the jeep is backwards. rubs out the outline of the steering wheel and puts it on the other side. hopes no one notices. hyman says run it. 52 years later and dexter notices. just a theory.

  3. deilers

    🙂 … If anyone should notice, it is Dexter. He knows a thing or two about graphic design . . .

  4. mmdeilers Post author

    Bill, I never got around to producing this design. Let me see what I can do about creating some now that our trip is over.

    – Dave

  5. Jay Berman

    Dave, you have no permission to reproduce my grandfathers copyrighted logo. Furthermore shame on you for referring to Hy Berg in chapter five of the book you mention as there is no reference to him in it. Keep it up and I will see you court. Jay Berman

  6. mmdeilers Post author


    I appreciate your enthusiastic response and defense of your grandfather’s design. I also welcome anytime readers point out my errors, as they happen. That’s how we learn sometimes. I will happily entertain a letter from your lawyer clarifying the specifics of any legal overstepping I may have done. I have no intention on violating anyone’s copyright or trademark and, specifically regarding your inquiry, I printed no t-shirts.

    That aside, I did my research and found no current trademark or copyrights regarding “King of Jeeps” in either government database. Therefore, I, being a reasonable person most of the time, concluded that if I chose to reproduce the image, I could reproduce it without issue. As a reminder, in order for that copyright to still be valid, and being it was produced and published prior to 1978, it needed to be registered 28 years after it was first published. If it was appropriately re-registered, but wasn’t in the government’s database, I find it hard to understand how that is my fault.

    As for the reference to Hy Berg, if I made a mistake, I’m only to happy to admit it. I will revisit the reference and correct if need be. But, again, I feel no shame. My efforts are not self-aggrandizing, malicious, capricious, or any other flavor of -licious. I’m just a guy attempting to piece-together forgotten histories related to vintage jeeps. Some of the information I find is not always accurate and I do my best to wade through the murky waters of truth, but there’s no way I can get it all correct.

    Thanks for the comment,

    – Dave

  7. Alaska Paul

    The Goddess and I would like to order four of your famous King of Jeeps t shirts. We need two extra large and two large, please. We’re not picky about the color, let us know how much they cost and the cost of shipping to the Northland and we’ll get money headed your way. Thanks so much!

  8. Jay Berman

    If you took the time and the few dollars to read the book, as I did, about Pinchot, your “mistake” would of never happened. Just to post something for sake of it is borderline stupidity. The man, my grandfather, Hy Berg is dead. To reference him in Chapter 5, really, is the best you can do? Would want your family to think of you in the way you mention him? My mother, Hy’s daughter, is still alive. So is my father, the man in the catalog named Jordy Berman. You need to get a life. You want to play the trademark game, try it. If you want the history, as you say you do, I was there, I lived it. Go to the source. Jay

  9. frankthecrank58

    this is for jay. for your info, this is a public forum, where your comments are seen by many willys enthusiasts. dave has done, and continues to do, a great job at keeping this site informative and entertaining. although many of us have not met dave, we consider him a friend. having said that, I find your comments offensive, as I’m sure others do as well. if you have challenges in any way with what dave has said, then may I suggest a private e-mail addressed to him. if you’d taken the time to do some research, you would have seen his e-mail address. I’m just expressing an opinion. on a grammatical note…’s “would have”; not “would of”, as you incorrectly stated. I don’t capitalize my words on purpose. regards and have a pleasant day.

  10. Dave Pearson

    Wow, this was a blast from the past! I wondered if this was the same Jeep parts business I remembered from the late 80’s. IT WAS! My boss asked me to look at a building for sale: 1606 S Wabash Ave. At the time, the area was a desolate wasteland. Berg’s was still in business, sort of. I went into the establishment and it was a far cry from the slick business projected by the catalogue. I was stuffed, dark, dank, dirty, oily and tumbledown. Manned by a single unkempt and unshaven old man, it had a post-apocalyptic feel to it. Like a parts store in a Mad Max movie. He proudly told me that he sold parts all over the world, “look, I’m shipping this to Germany!” he said. Long story short, I told my boss he should pass on the building for $250,000. BIG MISTAKE, now it’s a hot area…he shouldn’t have listened to me!

  11. Wingnut

    I also went to the establishment several times in the late 80s to buy parts for my Willys Jeep project. My impression was also the same as Dave Pearson’s above comment. I talked with Jordy and being a Jeep enthusiast asked about the business. He told me as I recall, that he had just taken over the business as his partner had recently died (I assume from this forum that that would have been Hy Berg). I think he had moved a lot of the inventory from one building to another. He told me that they used to have Jeeps stacked up out back. I had visions of the proverbial surplus Jeeps in crates. I don’t know what condition they would have been. He said they used to supply parts and engines to Sears. We went up to the second floor on the old rickety elevator to look at more inventory. He had a box full of musty 1967 catalogs. He gave me one and jokingly said “don’t tell anyone I gave it to you for free”. He wanted to sell the business and retire. He offered it to sell it to me. A Jeep lover’s dream but I’m no business man. J.C. Whitney (AKA Warshawsky) was near there on the corner of State and Archer which I also to went for Jeep parts but that’s another colorful story.

  12. Paul Barash

    Hello All,

    I was shopping with my wife yesterday. Sitting in my brand new all jacked up jeep when an elderly man came up to me asking about the jeep. 15 minutes later i was drawn into his amazing life story of how his family was one of the first jeep parts suppliers in the world. He was the the most lovable sweet man I have ever met, Next to my grandfather of course. They woud have got along like brothers. lol. I didnt want to leave, i wanted to hear all about the stories. He finally introduced himself as Jordy. We had such an great time discussing how the price of things has escalated to dispical heights. When I would tell Jordy what some of the aftermarket prices of things on my jeep he was in shock. The 3.5 inch lift the 35 inch tires and aftermarket wheels the new black with white piping stitched leather seats. We laughed and appreicated both views of old and new. I could have talked to him for days. Jordy then did the most amazing thing for me. He gave me a piece of jeep history that I will cherish forever. I gave this to me out of the kindness of his heart . He gave it to a perfect stranger. It sounds weird but I gace him a big hug. A grown ass man hugging a perfert stranger. Thank you Jody.

  13. Jim Young

    I moved to Illinois from NJ in January 1986. Joined the local Chicago area military vehicle club (MVCC/MVPA) and purchased a 1952 M38 Army Jeep shortly thereafter. It was missing a front grill and canvas top. Heard about Berg’s Jeep Parts on Wabash from a fellow collector. Made a trip to Berg’s and it was like discovering Jeep heaven! Berg’s had a whole rack of used (but nice!) M38 grills! It was hard to chose one since so many were in great shape! Selected one along with a used (but good!) tan / faded O.D. canvas top. What a special visit this was for me! I was allowed to walk around the building to look for other vehicle treasures. As I remember then the building was not in good shape and in a very bad part of Chicago. But it was worth the trip! Sold the M38 years later to a friend in Missouri and he restored it to like new condition! Thanks to the Berg family for helping a collector semi-complete an old warhorse (Jeep).


    Love the stories. My grandfather was the ” King of Jeeps” Hy Berg.
    That old building was on Wabash Ave. in Chicago,actually not a bad part of town just quite and more commercial with alot of winos.
    Good to hear the stories. Keep them coming.If any of those shirts are still around I would love to buy a few.
    Rob Berg
    My dad is Howard BTW

  15. David Eilers

    Rob, I never got around to making them. I may take another look at it as I have collected a variety of Berg brochures and catalogs with slightly different artworks. If I do a small run of them, I will let you know.


    – Dave

  16. Dwayne

    I would like to know if there was an employee that worked for Berg by the name of Robert. I remember going to the store when I was young and remember the catalogs and the area. Great place, great memories.

  17. Brandon

    I also visited Berg’s in the early 1980’s I had purchased an M-38 for parts, I remember Henry telling me to wait for the old man to leave and I’ll help you out. Mr. Berg was not easy to deal with and I’m quite happy Henry helped me out. He also took me for a tour, I remember a room probably 20′ x 20′ with a 15′ ceiling stacked with NOS seat cushions and canvas. I liked Henry a lot, not so much of Mr. Berg.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting