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Kurland Hubs and Kurland Histories

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

One of the rarest type of jeeps hubs are the Kurland hubs. I’ve only had one pic of these hubs (thanks to Ted Jordan) until yesterday when Richard Darr forwarded me a photo of a set of hubs he acquired. This led me to a quick dive into the internet, which yielded the following.

A variety of searches related to “Kurland” and “Kurland Motors” yielded results in both Los Angeles (a city whose name appears on the hub) and Denver. In fact, there were Kurland Motor companies in Los Angeles, Denver, and Grand Junction, Colorado (also known as Kurland Junction Motors).

The Denver location was opened as early as August 1946, as an ad in the Windsor Beacon out of Windsor, Colorado, mentioned the new Universal Jeep arriving for delivery (soon).

1946-08-29-windsor-beacon-kurland-motors-ad

I couldn’t location much information about this Denver Willys distributor, other than Kurland Motors was instrumental in the launch of the Mile High Jeep Club in 1956 and that Kurland Motors, at least for a short time, marketed Kurland-branded bumpers about that same time.

Regarding Kurland Junction Motors, I was able to locate this ad from February 22, 1948, (The Daily Sentinel, GC, CO):

1948-02-22-daily-sentinel-gc-colo-kurland-junction-motors

Now, were the Denver/Grand Junction Kurland dealers connected to the Kurland Motors of Los Angeles that also sold Willys-Overland vehicles? If they were related, I have yet to find a connection. But, at least I was able to unearth more information about the LA Kurland.

1948-12-05-los-angeles-times-kurland-opens

CREDIT: December 05, 1948, issue of the Los Angeles Times

As the article suggests, the Transport Motor Company lost some key personnel. Perhaps Transport Motors had decided to exit its Willys-Overland relationship?

At some juncture, it appears Kurland launched a line of free-wheeling hubs. These hubs were stamped with 1) KURLAND, 2) Los Angeles and 3) Patent Pending. Unfortunately, I could find no patents related to the hubs. In fact, the only information I could find related to the hubs was a reference to a CJ-2A being sold with a set of the hubs.

1955-11-10-independent-long-beach-cal-kurland-hubs-ad

November 10, 1955, Independent News, Long Beach, CA.

Here are the only pics I have of the hubs:

KURLAND-HUBS-RICHARD

CREDIT: Richard Darr

ted-jordan-kurland-hubs-backs-lores1

CREDIT: Ted Jordan

ted-jordan-kurland-hubs-backs-lores2

CREDIT: Ted Jordan

In 1952, Hy Kurland joined other California Willys dealers to form the California Willys Dealers Association. In the pic below, Hy is pictured in the center. Kurland was named the association’s first secretary. Several months later, Willys-Overland announced its sale of assets to Henry Kaiser.

1952-05-30-daily-news-losangeles-ca-hy-kurland

May 30, 1952, Daily News, Los Angeles, CA

Evidence indicates that Kurland Motors shifted from selling jeeps to selling Ramblers in the mid to late 1950s. So, the search for more information on these hubs continues…

1958-05-11-Los-angeles-times-hy-kurland-rambler

 

3 Comments on “Kurland Hubs and Kurland Histories

  1. Dave from Mn

    Basically like warn summer hubs as they are sometimes referred to. Was wondering the other day how soon did they show up after the release of the civilian jeep? Then how soon was an locking hub available, that I would think kill the sales of the hub that had to be switched out.

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Dave,

    I don’t have any production dates for the Kurland hubs, but given they are rare, I suspect they didn’t sell too many of them for very long.

    According to an article on this post http://www.ewillys.com/2018/12/04/more-unique-warn-brochures/, Warn developed and began selling hubs in 1947.

    The earliest ad I have for the Warn locking hub is September of 1953 (pop mechanics ad).

    This undated Warn ad from roughly 1955 (http://www.ewillys.com/2018/12/04/more-unique-warn-brochures/ ) promoted the Automatic, the Locking, and the Standard (aka Summer) hub (and also shows the pop mechanics ad). For some buyers, the summer hubs were the most cost efficient, so Warn likely sold them into the mid-1950s.

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