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Happy New Year 2024!!

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Welcome to 2024!

This upcoming year of the Dragon marks the seventeenth year of eWillys; it continues to be the longest ‘job’ I’ve ever had. The site seems to have its own inertia that pulls me along. Despite all the posts, approaching 65,000, interesting new stories still appear, which keeps me energized, as I think it does you all.

To that point, in 2023 I spent more money on old docs than ever before, mostly in the form of Willys and Jeep News issues. I’ll be publishing more issues throughout January, into February. Most of the issues are early to mid 1960s, so you’ll see more full-size jeeps, but most still contain information on the older jeep models as well.

My goal for 2024 will be to continue on the every-two-day or three-day-update schedule. Now that I have so many Willys Jeep News issues, my hope is to weave together interesting stories that span across the various issues. Two post that I know I will do are 1) a post on the range of custom campers built from FC-170s and 2) the wide range of ice cream jeeps. I also hope to create more of an index, so that jeep news, brochures and other documents can be arranged along a timeline. Again, we’ll see how things go.

With the chaos of family illnesses and death behind us for now (fingers crossed) over the last six years, I had more free time to read in 2023. At six hundred pages, “And The Band Played On” by Randy Shilts, a book about how HIV and AIDs unfolded in the 1980s, is one I just finished and proved the most interesting book of the year, even though it was written in 1987. Another fascinating book is a new one by Kashmir Hill called “Your Face Belongs to Us”, which highlights the scary way in a company called Clearview can locate your image in videos based on the company’s ENORMOUS database of video and still images (I can guarantee it is worse than you think it is). Big Kibble was another interesting book, this one covering the history of dog food (I like history-of-food books). Other books I read include Deluge, Zoobiquity, Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive and American Wildfire, Sedition Hunters, Angle of Repose, among others.

Speaking of books, it’s crazy that this year will mark thirteen years since I published my first book, Finding Virginia, and seven years since my last one, Slag. I have returned to researching my next book about Rossiter Raymond, once the pre-eminent mining engineer in the world. I’m still looking for the right narrative to tell his story (maybe I can sneak in a jeep?). We’ll see how things go.

On the jeep front, work has begun on the FC Tour Jeep. I’ve removed all the rear seating and carpet. Given I want to raise the rear bed to a point that more closely reflects the original tour bed, I must decide whether to build atop what’s there or remove all the rear bed and build a new rear floor altogether, then reimplement the existing sides and rollbars. Also, I was able to secure a set of original FC-170 seats (thanks to Craig) that can be reupholstered, so that’s one less thing to worry about!


Meanwhile, the race jeep gets started and run once a week. It still needs some graphics, but that’s pretty trivial. I hope this spring to take it somewhere local to give it a few workouts. When I was driving it around our pasture last fall, it seemed to be missing slightly in the high end, so I want to test it a little more to explore that more once the weather warms.

As for 2024 trips, Ann will likely be in DC at some point in January. She has spent the last two months working on a bill for the existing victims of state sponsored terrorism, which attempts to fix and tighten an original bill passed by Congress in 2015. Later in the year we may be in Sea Cliff, New York, so that I can give a presentation as part of a museum exhibit related to my family’s history in Sea Cliff. Of course, we also plan to attend a few weekend jeep races here in the Washington State this summer. Depending on what happens over the next couple of months, we are considering a trip to Europe, but we’ll see how that goes. If we don’t go to Europe, and if the FC Tour Jeep gets done in time, we may take it to one or more summer events. However, finding someone to stay and manage our property, and especially our dogs, is our biggest hurdle to travel.

That’s all for now. Stay safe and have a wonderful 2024.


7 Comments on “Happy New Year 2024!!

  1. Barry

    Happy New Year to you and Ann! As I’ve told you, eWillys has become my main research site for documents and pictures. Many of the libraries, historical societies and even corporate offices haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic shutdown. It makes your work – and that is the word for it – more important than ever.
    I am not sure most people appreciate the effort it takes to purchase, scan, and post even small documents. I know how much time, money and frustration you saved me last year. I see the Donate button is still here, way down at the bottom. So I’m going to hit it and hope that you and Ann will have a nice dinner on me.

  2. Al Kasishke

    David, Happy New Year and thank you for all you do. Always a lot of great information in this site. Know it is a labor of love and a lot of work too! We appreciate it! Al

  3. JohnB

    David, your reading list is eclectic.

    I try to avoid many current non-fiction titles, as a journalist, their (usual) one sided rants offend me.

    I’m expanding my usual history readings to explore my previously neglected areas, like naval history of the Pacific War.

    And what th the addition of my M38A1, I’m boning up on military vehicles. And a friend just bought a WWII PBY seaplane, so I have to learn about it.

    Happy New Year to all!

  4. David Eilers Post author

    Thanks guys!

    John: Good point on the non-fiction. In her book, Ms. Hill mentioned the sedition hunters were using Clearview tech to hunt Jan 6 folks.

    I read Sedition Hunters expecting to see how successful that tech was to hunting them, but Mr. Reilly never mentions that specific tech. Instead, he wrote how hunters had to weed through “dick pics”. Why? Because Clearview is capable of using a single image to find a person’s pic across social media, adult sites, behind paywalls, etc, whether you wear a mask, glasses, change up facial hair, etc. It can do this because it has scraped an enormous amount of data over the last decade from around the world.

    For example, when Venmo first began, it published names and photos of people who completed deals on their front page. Clearview sucked up all that data, creating high quality matches between names and faces.

    To demonstrate the tech’s capability, Ms. Hill was shocked when Clearview pulled up photos of her that she had not taken, nor had she posted, nor was she tagged, from a decade or more earlier. Imagine that tech in the hands of bad actors. It is “Enemy of the State” level stuff.

    As for WWII Pacific War, I found Pacific War by William Hopkins useful for understanding the history behind Plan Orange, the basic strategy framework developed prior to WWII for fighting a Pacific theatre war: I can also recommend several books that cover the experiences of American POWs in Japan, which also highlight additional pressures for quickly resolving the Pac war through atomic weaponry. There’s also a fascinating book about Japan’s use of heroin and other drugs to extract wealth out of the countries they were attacking.

    As an aside, in 1985 I heard about a small Australian movie that was shot by a small group of men who went to a remove island in the Pacific and found leftover, working WWII machinery. The film supposedly showed them firing tanks and other stuff. Some trusted friends who went to Australia saw it, but I was never able to find a copy of it.

  5. Claus Heydenrych

    dave happy new year to you and Ann. keep up the stellar work and perhaps you can pack in a Nam trip this year 😉

  6. David Eilers Post author


    Happy New Year! It’s not outside the realm of the plausible. Let’s see how life unfolds over the next few months. It probably would be a shorter stay than we planned in 2020, but that makes it more practical.

    Best wishes,

    – Dave

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