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Knardly Rolls

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: .

Paul gives an update on his jeep build. (View past posts by Paul here)



“I’ve been making some progress on the Willys this winter but my wallet can’t keep up with my plans so I’ve had to scale my work back to consist of lower cost but necessary tasks which must be done but aren’t the flashy jobs that get noticed. One of these simple items was fabricating a license plate mount on the front bumper. I didn’t want to mount the plate on the grille where it would restrict the airflow heading toward the radiator and attaching the plate right above the bumper could restrict the visibility of the front turn signals. Hanging the plate below the front bumper would expose the plate to damage by snow piles and make it more difficult to see so I ended up mounting the plate on the center of the front bumper with some 1/8th inch thick angle stainless providing the needed support. These angle sections were cut so they were slightly wider and taller than the plate, the edges were filed and contoured to match the plate and riveted to a 16 gauge stainless sheet which fits just behind the license plate for added support.”


“With these parts together I riveted this assembly to the upper and lower surfaces of the front bumper. All rivets were flush head style which not only look smoother but prevent interference with the mounting of the license plate. The attach hardware for the license plate ended up being too close to the bumper structure so I had to hand file four openings in the bend radius of the reinforcing angles to allow clearance for the washers and nuts. The license plate mount is pretty sturdy and doesn’t restrict airflow or visibility so I like it. I’ve attached pictures of this mod so you can make sense of what I’m talking about.

By the way, the license Rolls is an old joke which began in either late 1972 or 1973. With the original four cylinder engine and the 5.38 axle ratios this poor Willys was slow. I drove many miles down the shoulder of the roads while faster vehicles (furniture vans, garbage trucks and kids on bicycles) zoomed past me. Naturally, my friends seemed to notice how slow my Jeep was and were often surprised to see a speedometer in the gauge cluster. They thought since the Willys was so slow I’d use a calender to measure my driving speed. Somehow the general opinion came to believe this Jeep was not built by WillysOverland but by a company called Rolls Knardly because the Jeep Rolls down one hill and Knardly make it up the next one. The name stuck and I paid extra to have Rolls as a personalized license plate much to the enjoyment of my friends. I still have the plate and someday I hope to have the all new and improved Rolls Knardly back on the Alaskan roads, I might even try to pass someone!”


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