Features Research Archives

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Robert Max and The Long March Home

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, videos

I don’t remember how I found this video (maybe from Facebook?), but it turned out to be a compelling one. Before his death in 2020, New Jersey resident Robert Max was the last known survivor of the Nazi WWII force laborers. A few years ago, he wrote a book about his experience, then narrated the following forty minute documentary video (playable for free on Vimeo). There’s a pretty interesting twist at the end, too.

Here is Robert Max in a jeep at Camp Atterberry in 1944:

Click on this image to go to the video page:

 

You can learn more here: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2021/11/26/nj-jewish-wwii-vet-subject-bob-max-long-march-home-documentary/8718280002/

 
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A Jeep in an English Hedgerow

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos

Bill shared this video about a jeep owner in England who discovered an MB in a hedgerow, only a short distance from his house. Going by the name “British Gollum”, he does a great job of breaking down some details of the tub and how he’s identifying it. It truly is jeep archaeology.

 
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Chuck Conners, Dodge Truck, and Desert Dogs

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

For you Desert Dog lovers out there, Gordon shared a 1977 magazine ad that showed Chuck Conners pitching Dodge Trucks. Interesting enough, the truck was equipped with Desert Dogs (unmentioned in the ad).Unfortunately, I downloaded the pic a week or so ago and can’t locate it at the moment.

However, I was able to locate a commercial, also featuring Chuck, that has a
shows off a 1977 Dodge Pick Up PowerWagon D-200 with Desert Dogs on it (possibly from the same photo shoot). The tires are given a closeup at the 19 second mark.

 
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Searching for an M-29 Weasel FC

• CATEGORIES: FC150-FC170-M677, Features, wanted

UPDATE: I mistakenly listed this as an M-59, but I must blame the chills, fever, and general immune-system mayhem caused by my booster shot. That booster kicked my butt! But, I am all better now.

Grace’s husband and brother-in-law are searching for this M-29 Weasel FC. If anyone can provide help, please contact jeepFCcollector @ gmail.com (remove the spaces around the @).

“They have been looking to locate this M29 Weasel based FC cab vehicle. They have traced it from CP Riders (letters on the doors), to an Illinois farmer, to a broker 20 years ago in Dakota Illinois. They have made contact with that broker who says he sold it to a company in Pennsylvania who intended to use it for rescue and recovery on a Pa. mountain pass.”

B1016272-4223-4380-B13A-DB286F45400C

 
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1946 Fortune Article on Willys-Overland

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine

UPDATE: This post was published on eWillys November 15, 2014. I don’t normally post whole articles, but there is a great deal of interesting information within it. I’m reposting this today because there is some additional information about Mr. Clement Miniger and his Auto-Lite company leading a syndicate to buyout John North Willys’ stock in 1929 (Learn more about Miniger And Willys Light here).

1946-08-fortune-mag-pg81-closeup-jeeps

A variety of pre August 1946 CJ-2As in different colors waiting to be shipped from Willys-Overland’s Toledo plant.

This fascinating article was published in the August 1946 issue of Fortune magazine. It’s a LONG article that covers the history of Willys Overland Corporation from it’s bankruptcy in the early 1930s to it’s post-war market positioning. There is not much information specifically about jeeps, nor many jeeps photos. But, if you want to understand how the corporate structure evolved, it’s a good article.

One particular chart published in the article was Willys’ research on paved roads. The company felt that jeeps would be very popular in outer countries, due both to the brand and the lack of paved roads. To meet that demand, Willys planned to export 25% of all jeeps.

1946-08-fortune-mag-pg80-building-lores 

WILLYS-OVERLAND

THIS JEEP-RIDING AUTO INDEPENDENT IS TAKING NEW LEASES ON LIFE AND ITS OWN REAL ESTATE • THE BOYS IN THE BACK ROOM ARE DOING FINE

ln the years between the depression and the second world war, the once great Willys-Overland Co. clung by its nails to a niche in the U.S. automobile market. Gamely, it tried to sell the public a mousy little car, with a tough, four-cylinder engine, which was the cheapest thing on the road to run. Itself battered into receivership and reorganization by the depression, Willys had the patently sensible idea that such a car, guaranteed to get people from here to there at a minimum expenditure for fuel and upkeep, would be a blessing to a hard-pressed public that had not been similarly served since the demise of the models T and A Ford. But the public was proud, if poor, and more conscious of the millinery than the engineering of a car. When it had to buy cheaply it found the used-car market much more tempting. During most of those years Willys’ production ranged below the break-even point. bln 1940, a mere 27,000 cars were built. Now Willys-Uverland is coming up for the postwar round with a product line still topped by a light passenger car-with a four or a six-cylinder engine, buyer’s choice. It will probably be as cheap to buy, give or take a few dollars, as any 1947 car on the market, and possibly less expensive to operate and support than any of its competitors. And though it will be considerably more stylish, inside and out, than the prewar Willys, it will have, at most, simple good looks rather than breath-taking beauty. If that were the whole story, one might wonder why some people think Willys-Overland is an exciting proposition among the auto independents today, and why some mighty big boys in the automobile industry appear to be sparring for position in the peculiar, complicated Willys-Overland hierarchy.

Unquestionably Willys has fresh charms. To name four:
1) The tough, four-cylinder motor that was the bread-and-butter item in the prewar Willys is the same motor that powered the Army Jeep, which became an international byword during the war. As the largest producer, by far, of the Jeep, Willys-Overland became the beneficiary of this enormous, war-born prestige (and also added a tidy sum to its treasury). Ten days after V-J day, Willys was in production on its civilian or Universal Jeep, of which it had sold around 28,000 by June 1, despite plant shutdowns totaling eighty-three days owing to strikes in suppliers’ plants.

2) Under way at its giant Toledo plant is a Jeep-inspired line of Willys utility vehicles including (a) an all-steel, all-purpose station wagon, (b) a sedan delivery truck, and (c) a low-weight, medium-duty truck with a combination four and two-wheel drive. All are powered by an improved four-cylinder Jeep engine and feature the Jeep snub nose and square fenders. All will be produced in 1946, and can be run through the same assembly line if necessary.

3) Because the rugged, lightweight vehicles in the Willys line are peculiarly suited to the exigencies of foreign motoring, in which the paucity of paved roads and the steep price of gasoline are forbidding factors, the company has decided to throw 25 per cent of its production into export. The development of a foreign market of such proportions is steadying to the seasonal economy of an automobile company. And Willys’ new top management is richly experienced in the export field.

4) Finally, many an economist, foreseeing an era of inflation, high taxes, and high gasoline costs, will agree that the hour in the oiiing is ripe for an automobile that places operating economy above fashion appeal. Willys is confident that its traditional economy car is, at last, accurately attuned to the times, and that its 1947 passenger model can bite into a solid and sustained market, both here and abroad.

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Anti-Spam Changes Might Result in Spam or Other Issues

• CATEGORIES: Features, News

Recently, I learned that Akismet, the plugin I pay $100 year to manage my spam, announced that eWillys get too many spam requests (which isn’t my fault), so I must now upgrade to the $400 a year program.

Yeah, that’s not happening, especially given I’ve shifted into fewer updates and am no longer charging advertisers (thanks again for your past support guys). So, I’m testing out a highly rated, but free, version, called Antispam Bee. I may also need to add a captcha addition window to comments (where you are given 2 + 2 and you have to enter “4” …  I think you fine folks can handle that math).

So, I don’t know how well Antispam Bee will work or if it will interfere with non-spam comments. If you feel like your comments aren’t posting, please email me at d @ deilers.com, and I will see what needs to be adjusted.

For those interested, here are the spam comments from the last few months:

2021-11-21-spam-akismet

 
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Dad Rolls His Jeep Down a Hill at Icicle Creek, Wa

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: First posted in 2010, this is a follow up to the post below which shows my family’s first jeep, a somewhat modified CJ-5.

One fine, sunny, beautiful Saturday during the summer of 1975 (or thereabouts – no family member can quite remember the exact year) my father drove his CJ-5 up a chuck-hole filled hillside trail at Icicle Creek, near Leavenworth, Wa.  He didn’t make it to the top; instead, he rolled his CJ-5 down the hillside.  Herein is the story and images.

I suppose it is appropriate that the images of dad’s wreck in the WWJC Scrapbook aren’t as clear as I had hoped, because the memory of it is also fuzzy.  I’ve tried to color correct and sharpen the pictures as best as I could, but even the clearest of pictures can’t really tell the story of the impact of his tumble down that hill.

It was a club weekend on the ‘east side of the mountains’ in Leavenworth, Washington.  For Washington Jeepers, the east side of the mountains means anything on the east slope of the Cascade Mountain range, where the surroundings transform from western muddy trails, deep dark green of cedar trees, and gray, drizzly, cool weather into Ponderosa Pines, sunshine, sagebrush, and dust.  Within an hour of Seattle, you could (and still can) transform your jeeping experience entirely.

This particular weekend I remember, and  say this without certainty as these are more like flickers of a 10-year-old’s memory, that we were staying in some kind of community-center-like building where we all slept on the floor in sleeping bags in a large open community room (I later learned this was a University of Washington property).  For the club, it was one big campout.

For me this seemed perfectly normal as the club really was a big extended family — these were people I saw more than my own aunts and uncles, grandma and grandpas.

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Early 1970s Photo Includes My Father

• CATEGORIES: Features

Chris Holmes posted this photo to the PNW4WDA Facebook group the other day. The first thing I spotted was the brown jacket worn by the man to the right of the group; it’s the color of the Wandering Willys Jeep Club. Looking closer, I realized that guy was none-other than my father! Apparently, he had taken part in the shuttle of special needs kids into the Woodland Park Zoo in North Seattle.

Looking more closely, I realized that the front of our CJ-5 was pictured just to the right of Dad’s back. one tell-tale sign is the horseshoe welded to the front of the winch plate. Given the jeep pictured was before Dad’s topsy-turvey roll down the hill at Icicle Creek outside of Wenatchee (summer of 1974 or 1975), this photo was likely taken in the early 1970s.

1970s-dad-wwjc-woodland-park-zoo

 
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CJ-2A w/ Beautiful Hardtop From Argentina

• CATEGORIES: Features, Wood bodies • TAGS: .

Diego Collia posted photos of this CJ-2A with a beautiful hardtop from Argentina on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/837017479769475/permalink/2093832107421333

cj2a-jeep-wood-top-argentina-1 cj2a-jeep-wood-top-argentina-2 cj2a-jeep-wood-top-argentina-3 cj2a-jeep-wood-top-argentina-4

 
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Photo of GPW out of Nagasaki

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

Morihisa Ochi posted this photo on FB of a GPW in Nagasaki after the Atomic Bomb. The top is interesting. According to him, “GPW in Nagasaki, Occupied Japan 1945 After a big factory near Ground Zero was blown off by Atomic Bomb, USMC used this area as a rifle range.”

gpw-softop-japan-fb

 

 
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History of Bikini/Bimini Tops?

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE IV: Barney sent a photo of his rare Whitco Bikini Top attached to a 1971 CJ-5 (with his dog Manny smiling in the back). While not exactly like the bikini tops we saw in the later 1970s, it likely represents the first production example of what became the bikini top (if defined by attached to the windshield in the front and held in place by straps in the back)

bikini-top-barney

UPDATE III: It appears the definition of the Bimini top is that it is open in the front, which isn’t consistent with the tops we’re discussing below ….  I’m trying to determine when/where the top cover originated that, in the front, connects to the windshield, then goes over a mid-bar (usually a roll bar), and, in the back, is held in place by two straps from either side of the top.

Here’s a DIY Bikini top made from a 4-by-4-foot canvas tarp via Four Wheeler Mag: https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/diy-bikini-top-willys-jeep/

UPDATE II: This Whitco brochure shows that the company was advertising a “Bikini” top during the 1960s, though it isn’t the design of top (like the one below) I was hoping to document. This top is closer to a Surrey top design.

UPDATE: Vernon notes that these were also called Bimini tops, a term I think came from the boating world?

Maury asked me if I knew when bikini tops were first produced. I don’t have any information on this.  My guess is they arrived for jeeps in the mid-1970s as none of my earlier parts catalogs show the bikini top as an option. Anyone remember when they first started seeing them?

Pic for reference:

bikini-top

 
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1947 CJ-2A Franklinville, NY For Trade

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features • TAGS: , , , .

Lots of custom work on this flattie.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/543565476734429

1947-cj2a-franklinville-ny5 1947-cj2a-franklinville-ny6 1947-cj2a-franklinville-ny7 1947-cj2a-franklinville-ny8 1947-cj2a-franklinville-ny9

“Looking for trade offers only really, not even sure I want to let it go. Just bored and looking for the next thing to tinker on since I don’t have room to store them.

1947 steel tub Willys CJ2a stretched about a foot and sitting on a 1979 CJ5 chassis. YJ springs, fresh built 258 (built by Steve Damon) oil catch can, crane cam/lifters, heavy crankshaft (early model with 7 counterweights great for low rpm no-stall) Keith black pistons, head and block surfaced, T18 4 speed with 6.32:1 low gear, D20 transfer case, Ford 9″ rear end & D30 front (with lockers) 3:54 gears, 35×15 tires, custom oak dash/center console with all SpeedHut gauges (GPS speedo), hi-output single wire charging system, Kicker speaker pods, kicker amp/10” sub, integrated roll bar, Griffin radiator, MSD ign, “monstaliner” coating on body, no rust many more pics and parts but this is getting long.

I like all sorts of vehicles so shoot me a [worthy] trade offer and if I’m interested I’ll message you back to exchange more”

 
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1943 War Bond Poster on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

Micah shared this ebay auction of a War Bond Poster. The price has already hit $183.49 as of this post with just four hours to go.

View all the information on eBay

“Great original WW2 poster sent to schools for bond or stamp drives to buy jeeps. It measures approximately 35 by 45 inches. Some condition issues, but a great vintage poster. See other auctions for more WW2 posters.”

war-bond-poster

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‘Jeep’ Matchbook w/ Post Hole Digger on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

Here’s a neat matchbook featuring a jeep with a post hole digger. It still has matches.

View all the information on Ebay

“Post WWII vintage matchbook for Jeep – Fort Worth Willys Overland Co., Fort Worth, Texas. Willys Overland Motors, Inc. Toledo Ohio. Great image is very similar to the 1945 press release of the CJ-2A Post-hole digger demo.”

forth-worth-matchbook-jeep-post-hole-digger4 forth-worth-matchbook-jeep-post-hole-digger5 forth-worth-matchbook-jeep-post-hole-digger6 forth-worth-matchbook-jeep-post-hole-digger7 forth-worth-matchbook-jeep-post-hole-digger8

 
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Quackpot Poster on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Artists/Drawings, Features

Adam shared this ebay auction for another Quackpot poster. The image below is from a 2013 auction (it’s a better quality image than the one posted to eBay).

View all the information on ebay

1944-motor-pool-quackpot-poster1

“THIS AUCTION IS FOR ONE VINTAGE, ORIGINAL “QUACKPOT MAINTENANCE” U.S. ARMY CONSERVATION PROGRAM POSTER

DATED – 1944, 20X14 INCHES IN SIZE

VERY GOOD SHAPE OVERALL. SOME SMALL TEARS ON EDGES. THE POSTER WAS FOLDED IN THE MIDDLE SO IT HAS A CREASE.

PRINTED ON POSTER: U.S. GOVERMENT PRINTING OFFICE -1944- 0-612414
ARMY CONSERVATION PROJECT NO. 121-021

SHIPPED ROLLED
RARE,VINTAGE JEEP/WW11 POSTER”

 
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2022 Holy Toledo! Calendars are Now in Stock

• CATEGORIES: Features

The 2022 Holy Toledo! calendar is now in stock and ready for your holiday purchase!

2022 Holy Toledo COVER

 
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Finally, All Three Jeeps in the Shop!

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Cosmic-Crisp-Race-Jeep, Features • TAGS: .

Yesterday, with cold weather arriving soon, I took advantage of a warm, but very windy day, to pull Biscuit off the trailer and put it on the hoist. Now, all three jeeps are in the shop.

But, before we gathered the jeeps, both Ann and her son Daniel, who has been helping us around the property, each took the race jeep for a run in the pasture.

Here I am giving Daniel a ride. Unfortunately, my long legs preclude me from shifting into second gear (that’s how tight it is). Once I fix that, I can go much faster.


Here are some still shots. First up is Ann in the cockpit:
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Here’s Daniel just finished with a run around the pasture:2021-11-15-daniel-race-jeep

Ann’s stomach surgery this summer, which as helped her in numerous ways, including solving her several adverse reactions to gluten (unsure why?), has also helped her lose quite a bit of weight. This has helped reduce her over all pain and also allows her to easily fit into the race jeep. Though she didn’t drive too fast, she did have fun racing around our back pasture. Once she gets used to it, I expect she will enjoy racing at a PNW event.

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David Tracy Finds a Stolen(?) FC-150

• CATEGORIES: Features

Jalopnik’s David Tracy recounts his adventure with a “barn-find” FC-150 that seemed too good to be true. As the story unfolds, you’ll see that you just never know about these jeeps.

https://jalopnik.com/im-not-saying-i-bought-a-stolen-car-but-im-also-not-sa-1848029778

jalopnik-fc-story

 
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Race Jeep’s Spacers Removed

• CATEGORIES: Cosmic-Crisp-Race-Jeep, Features
2021-11-14-cosmic-crisp-spacers5

Cosmic Crisp with the spacers removed and the five lug Hurricane rims attached.

On Sunday the southern winds blew threw Prosser, pulling leaves from the poplar trees and swirling them throughout the property. The winds also brought some warm temps, which made it a perfect time to be inside the shop getting some work done. It was finally time to tackle the spacers.

If you recall, right before I went into the hospital in June, I had started to remove the rear spacers, only to find out that they weren’t all that willing to budge. In addition, several Allen bolts were already stripped. Ugh…

So, yesterday, I got out several drills with differing sizes of bits to work through them. On the driver’s rear, all six bolts had to be drilled out. Though the bolts weren’t hardened steel, it still took a while to drill each of them.

Some fo the equipment involved:

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The first drum successfully drilled:

2021-11-14-cosmic-crisp-spacers2

Once all six bolts were drilled (about 45 minutes or work), the spacers split, revealing five-lug brake drums:

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Thankfully,  on the passenger rear, only three of the six had to be drilled. Once that was removed, I turned to the front end, only to discover that different spacers were used. It turned out that disc brakes were six lug, so that spacers were thinner and the lug nuts holding the spacers were visible, so no drilling was necessary. So, now I have six lug rims on the front and five lug rims on the back. I suppose that doesn’t really matter.

Here are the spacers.

2021-11-14-cosmic-crisp-spacers4
With the spacers removed and the tires remounted, Ann and I took the “Crisper” for a spin in the pasture in the dark. It’s not much of a photo, but at least one photo sort of turned out okay.

2021-11-14-cosmic-crisp-driving

The spin through the pasture was the longest test drive I’ve had with the race jeep. I discovered that I am still too tall for the seat setup, so that still needs to be changed. I also learned that I can’t shift into second gear, as my knee is in the way. Yep, there will need to be changes to this setup. But, the engine sounds great and racing around the pasture was pretty fun (even in the dark in first gear).

 

 
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FC-Wrecker Photo on Facebook

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Mike shared this photo of an FC-150 wrecker in New Jersey that was posted to Facebook. Mike actually remembers seeing this same FC in New Jersey back in 1961.

fc-wrecker-nj

 
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Painting Push

• CATEGORIES: Features

Ann took the opportunity last week to fly to Ohio to visit some of her relatives in Greenville, Ohio. So, I took the opportunity to make a big push to get a bunch of interior painting completed, hence why there were limited updates last week.

The interior (and exterior) of the house was themed with white, a light gray and medium blue. For our tastes, it was a bit cool on the inside; so, we wanted to warm it up and dress it up some. Having done a bunch painting during my college years, I’m pretty efficient when I get going. Two weeks ago we repainted the living/dining part of the house, then hung curtains. So, last week my goal was to paint the dormers, the hall, the kitchen nook, the foyer, and the hall way. Mission accomplished. Here are some pics for your amusement.

Here’s one of the living room and dining room during the painting process:

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This is afterwards:

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Here are the dormers beforehand: (and, no, I didn’t climb onto the ladder while it was on the scaffolding; instead, I used the bottom two steps of the ladder to make it easier to climb down from the dormer floor … but, I posted this pic to FB without explaining it because, you know, it is social media and I know some people would flip out …)

2021-11-wilgus-painting-in-process1

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Ann’s Pics of Jarad’s Wagoneer

• CATEGORIES: Features

While visiting with relatives in Western Ohio, Ann didn’t neglect her ‘jeep’ duties. When she spotted this Jeep Grand Wagoneer in New Paris, she made her cousin pull over so she could take photos and meet the owner. She learned it is owned by Jarad Simpson and is his daily driver. He bought it out of Detroit. It was pretty rusted on the outside, but had a good interior, so he cleaned up the outside and runs it as is. He also owns a 1942 GPW. Great work Ann!

wagoneer-ohio2 wagoneer-ohio3 wagoneer-ohio4 wagoneer-ohio5

 
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Willys Light & Electric and Auto-Lite

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: There is more history about Miniger and his purchase of John North Willys Stock in 1929 in a 1946 Fortune article.

willys-electric-light-plant-card

This postcard is currently listed on eBay.

The other day Nate forwarded me the following images of a Willys home power plant, built by both “Willys Light” and the “Electric Auto-Lite Corporation”. Not knowing much about any of this (and not having the time to source original info from newspapers of the time), I took a break from house painting to venture down internet rabbit holes. What follows is more of a work-in-progress than a finished piece. Hopefully, folks can add or correct the following.

Let’s start with the pics that Nate sent:

willys-electric-light-plant-1-lores willys-electric-light-plant-2-lores willys-electric-light-plant-3-lores willys-electric-light-plant-4-lores

Now, stepping back a little in time … These days we in the US are generally pretty spoiled in terms of our access to 24/7 electricity. Of course, this wasn’t always the case. Because of my work on SLAG, I am aware that there was a revolution in mines and smelting with the introduction of power plants. My great great grandfather first introduced an electric plant into his smelter in Leadville in 1881 (followed shortly by electricity in the Salt Lake City’s Germania plant). By then, Broadway in NY was lit with a power plant, as were parts of major cities.

1881-01-04-leadville-daily-herald-electric-light

January 04, 1818, from the Leadville Daily Herald.

Such power plants would have been expensive, which is why large municipalities or successful businesses were utilizing them. But, such plants would have been outside the financial reach of the average folks. Still, there was an interest among home and farm owners to replace the gas and oil lamps used in homes.

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1964 Slide of Willys Tow Truck on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: , .

Steve shared this cool photo/slide of a mid 1950s Willys Truck operating for a Shell gas station in Forest Park, Illinois. The photo is dated June 21, 1964.

View all the information on eBay

willys-truck-towing-yellow-shell-photo

“RIGINAL COLOR PHOTO TRANSPARENCY (2″ x 2″ SLIDE) TAKEN 1964 WITH 1950’s WILLYS JEEP TOW/WRECKER TRUCK. TOWING 1958 PONTIAC. THE SHELL SERVICE STATION IN FOREST PARK, IL GAVE S&H GREEN STAMPS WITH PURCHASE.”

 
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John North Willys Early History

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos

This video from the Ontario County Historical Society. It shares some of John North Willys’ early history. Note that the historian uses the Williez pronunciation of the nation, which likely will grate with some folks.