Features Research Archives

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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 **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was For Trade.

Lots of custom work on this flattie.

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“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.”

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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
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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:

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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.

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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 II: More pics of Nate’s Willys Light Plant here

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.

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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.

Continue reading

 
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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.

 
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1955 Resto-Modded Truck MotorBiscuit.com

• CATEGORIES: Features

Bill shared this article on a resto-modded-truck posted to MotorBiscuit.com.

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/1955-willys-overland-restomod-needs-jeep-gladiator/

1955-mod-truck-motorbiscuit

 
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1950s There’s a Jeep for Your Job Video

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

UPDATE: This video is making the rounds on FB, again, so, I figured I’d repost it.

Original Post March 2017: Listed as a 1940s promotional film, the inclusion of CJ-5s and the exclusion of DJs and FCs suggests to me it was created in 1955. There’s an extended look at a cargo personnel carrier near the end of the video There are also a variety of specialized equipment and hardtops shown.

 
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1952 Photo of Corn to Dryer Plant

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

Sam spotted this photo with an 1946-1947 CJ-2A (and other photos) at the Digital North Carolina archives. According to the description, the photo shows “Van and George Watson hauling seed corn to dryer plat at Watson Seed Farms INC. with World War II Surplus Willy’s Jeep. Watson Seed Farms had 2 jeeps.”

https://lib.digitalnc.org/record/8919#

1952-jeep-corn-to-dryer-plant

 
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1943 Photo and Article of Jeep Testing

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Old News Articles

This article and photo was published in the September 25th, 1943, issue of the Calgary Herald.

1943-09-25-calgary-herald-farm-jeep1 1943-09-25-calgary-herald-farm-jeep2

 
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1956 Willys Export Wagon Brochure

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

I snagged one of these 1956 Willys Export Wagon Brochures Form W-253-6X from eBay.

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1956-form-w-253-6x-export-wagon-brochure2-lores 1956-form-w-253-6x-export-wagon-brochure3-lores

 
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Willys Wagon T-Shirt @ the Moore Collection

• CATEGORIES: Features

Ann and I spent a night up at Leavenworth on Thursday. While walking the cold, wet streets (it isn’t snowing there quite yet), we found ourselves warming up by entering various shops (big mistake, as we found ourselves buying stuff). However, one of the cooler items I found was this t-shirt with a “hockey stick” wagon on it. If you like light, cotton/polyester blend shirt, this is a nice one. However, I had to go X-Large as the Large fit perfectly, but likely would have shrunk.

The shirts are available online, so check them out here: https://moorecollection.com/products/willy-wagon-tee-dusty-blue?_pos=2&_sid=a0494a1b3&_ss=r

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At least they had the Christmas lights up! Crowds were light, so that was perfect for us.

2021-11-04-leavenworth

 
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Early Matchbook Cover on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

This is a rare matchbook cover of an early jeep pulling logs with a chain. The matchbook was for the Kansas Willys-Overland, INC, dealership.

View all the information on eBay

topeka-kansas-jeep-matchbook-cj2a-logs

 
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1956 Jeep Family **Imitation** Poster

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: It’s no longer on ebay.

Well, some idiot (perhaps too kind of a word) has copied a version of the 1956 Jeep Family poster that I re-created (see also a comparison between the original brochure and the poster), reduced the size from 22″x28″ to 12″x15″, mounted it in a cheap frame, and is selling it for $49 plus $17 shipping on eBay. Whether the seller did all of that work or just bought a reproduction of my poster isn’t clear….

Worse, they are suggesting the “vintage” poster is from the 1950s (the content is, the poster isn’t), though the description also indicates it is “new”. BTW, the original size of the brochure was 18″ x 24″.

There are multiple differences between the original 1956 brochure and the poster I created, the most important of which is that I inserted a small, subtle “eWillys” into the poster so I could track it. There are a few other differences as well.

View all the information on eBay

1956-jeep-family-poster-imitation

 
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Yakima Ridgerunners Belt Buckle

• CATEGORIES: Features

I bought this unusual Yakima Ridgerunners Belt Buckle off of eBay. Whether the club was the first club or not is debatable, as clubs formed early in Southern California, too, but it seems my research indicated the club was the first incorporated jeep club.

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1942 Photo of Jeep & Carless Tuesday on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

Steve spotted this photo that included a Ford GPW. This photo and its accompanying article was picked up and published in newspapers across the country. Carless Tuesdays was an attempt in 1942 by Peoria to save rubber by encouraging folks with odd-numbered license plates to live their vehicles at home on Tuesdays.

View all the information on eBay

“7.5 x 9.25 in fair condition with average wear and tear of handling.
PEORIA, ILL., NOV. 24–‘CAR-LESS TUESDAY’ GETS TRIAL–Peoria’s so-called “Car-Less Tuesday” doesn’t worry Arthur Locker (left), who uses his children’s shetland pony and cart to drive downtown today with G.A. Louthan (right). Derby hats and lap robe give pre-auto era atmosphere. Jeep proves contrast in rubber-saving traffic experience to see if workers can get to jobs with many cars “at rest.” ”

1942-11-27-carless-tuesdays-photo-with-jeep1 1942-11-27-carless-tuesdays-photo-with-jeep2

Here’s one example of the photo and article in the November 25, 1942, issue of the Decatur Herald out of Decatur, Illinois.

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