Features Research Archives

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Lionel Forge and his SEEP/GPA “Amphib”

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, GPA (SEEP)

UPDATE:  This was first published Jan 23, 2011.

About a year and a half ago I posted a story about Ben Carlin and his famous SEEP “Half Safe”.  What I didn’t realize at the time was there were a few other nuts crazy enough to modifiy a GPA and travel the world.  One of those explorers was a Canadian named Lionel Forge.

I learned about Lionel’s adventure through a website operated by Colin Stevens, who eventually purchased Lionel’s GPA and began the restoration back to its original condition (he then sold the GPA to a USA collector in 2004).  Thanks to Colin, we have a record of both Lionel’s transformation of the surplus GPA #4545 into “Amphib” and along with a summary of his story.

On his site, Colin writes, “[Lionel] had the book HALF SAFE which is about a GPA that was modified for world travel and which was travelling around the world. Lionel decided to modify his GPA and travel as well. One key difference is that he did not plan to sail across oceans with his.”

According to this newspaper article, Lionel planned to drive down through Central and South America, ship the car to Africa and then travel through Eastern Europe.  One of the places he really wanted to visit was Montevideo, Uruguay, a country about which I posted yesterday.

According to Colin, Lionel made it to Central America, but then discovered the cargo ship he planned to use to make it to Africa was longer in service.  So, he shipped ‘Amphib’ to a friend’s house in Florida and continued some additional traveling, though whether he made it to Montevideo is unclear.

Lionel eventually brought Amphib back to Canada, where it sat for at least 11 years on blocks (most likely much more) until Lionel’s death in 2001.  Lionel’s family later sold the GPA to Colin, who photographed it extensively, recording all kinds of information about it. Colin then sold it in 2004 to an American collector.

You can read the entire story here at Colin’s website

Colin also wrote a 2 part article in Convoy Magazine in 2002 about the entire adventure, which he pieced together from Lionel’s images, passports and other information.   Unfortunately, the magazine is no longer published and I can’t locate any back issues online.

Here are a few images from Colin’s website:

This is GPA#4545 at the salvage yard:

This shows Amphib after the 1949 Dodge Station Wagon top was added:

This is a newspaper article about his upcoming trip:

Amphib with the tent on top:

Lionel in Guatemala (Pyramid #1 at Tikal) in 1967

I also thought it appropriate to include an image of Colin Stevens with his 1944 MB.  The photo was taken in 2000. You can see more images here.

 
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How to stop a Jeep with a Ping Pong Ball …

• CATEGORIES: Features, News, Reader Stories

This was first published July 2, 2010.

A reader named Sam called me today.  He told me he had a great story to share.  Hopefully, I’ve remembered most of it correctly.

For a little background, Sam is retired after a lifetime of building hotrods, drag racing and owning a shop in Sacramento, but now operates a small flattie-oriented shop in Arvada, Colorado, where he fixes, modifies and maintains Willys (and probably a few other vehicles) for fun.  I’ll be explaining more about Sam (and some of his great suggestions) in a future post, but for now you have enough information to understand why a Jeep owner, in some distress, had his Jeep towed to Sam’s shop to investigate a problem.

And now to Sam’s story … The owner of this willys had tried to drive his jeep to work, but the jeep stopped working while driving down the road.  So, the owner pulled to the side of the road, waited a moment, and started it up again.  Sure enough, it fired up and the owner drove onwards.

Another few miles down the road the jeep shutoff again.  So, the owner repeated the process:  pull over, restart, and continue onwards.

At some point, this re-occuring process became too much for the owner to bare, so he called a towing company and had his jeep towed to Sam’s.

So, Sam looks the jeep over.  He starts it up and, sure enough, after a little while it shuts down.  He knows it has an electric fuel pump and suspects that could be causing a problem, so he unhooks the hose from the carb and points it into a gas can.  Then, he turns on the fuel pump.  Sure enough, after a little while, the fuel dribbles to a stop, yet he can hear pump still pumping ….. hmmmm, Sam thinks to himself.

He decides to try an experiment.  He knows the owner only fills the tank to half full, because if the tank gets too full gas leaches out of somewhere (I can’t remember where Sam said  it leaked).

Sam decides to fill up the tank all the way, because he suspects there might be something in the tank.  Sure enough, he fills up the tank and out pops not one, not two, but three ping pong balls.

As Sam explains it,  the sucking power of the fuel pump was pulling the ping pong balls to the outlet area of the tank(where the fuel line connects), stopping the fuel from exiting the tank, which shut down the jeep.

How’d the ping pong balls get there?  Well, that still remains a mystery ….

So, the moral of this story is that even the mightiest jeep can be humbled by an even mightier ping pong ball.  And, a side moral, is that buying a locking gas cap is a pretty good idea.

 
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Customized Hunting Wagon in Texas & a Design Competition

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

This is an older post first published April 13, 2010:

I was surfing the net looking for a jeep drawing and, instead, came across an interesting 1963 hunting wagon on a blog hosted by Local Motors. I had not heard of Local Motors, but this company describes itself (in the about section) as a ‘New American Car’ company that builds cars in regional Micro-Factories.

The blog contained both a video about 1963 Willys Wagon and a still picture (see the video below).  If you like those Texas hunting vehicles, go to this link and check out some of the crazy non-jeep hunters down the right side of the page, such as the suburban hunter.

 

 
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Math Tables for Jeep Lovers

• CATEGORIES: Features

Ann spotted this funny image. She thought we could relate to it. I don’t know where it originated.

4x4-equals-jeep

 
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Team America Movie Prop Russian Gaz Model Seattle, WA $1250

• CATEGORIES: Features, Models

I don’t know what it’s worth, but this model of the Russian Gaz is pretty cool. You can learn more about Team America here.

“This is the actual prop Jeep used in the cult classic comedy Team America: World Police (2004) by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of South Park and Book of Mormon). The vehicle is made mainly of metal, has a wood floorboard, and rubber tires. It measures approx 54″ long x 24″ wide x 18″ high and weighs about 90 lbs. The bloody windshield has a crack on the driver’s side (presumably from filming). This great conversation piece comes with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) from Premiere Props.”

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/clt/3632760028.html

gaz-movie-prop-team-america2 gaz-movie-prop-team-america

 
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‘The Military Jeep’ by Lawrence Nabholtz

• CATEGORIES: Books, Features

Mr. Nabholtz passed away in Dec. 2005. This book has been out of print since 1996. One of these went for $88 last summer. I’m reusing the pic below from a previous post.

“The Military Jeep Model MB – GPW by Lawrence Nabholtz.
This is number 555 of 1000 of the original classic by Mr. Nabholtz, first edition.
The book is in new condition and has been sitting in a warehouse since it was originally published in 1996.”

View all the information on eBay


 
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‘Blitz’ Rides Again!

• CATEGORIES: Features, Reader Stories

John told me that his dog Blitz loves riding on his CJ-3A.

He writes, “I take my dog for a ride almost every day. He likes to ride on the hood. It’s the funniest thing. People wave,point and smile. I even had one lady follow me and stop me to take a pic. I think that dam dog likes willys more then me.”

john-dog-blitz

 
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VEC CJ-2A NC State Archives

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Library Collections, Old Images • TAGS: .

Buz spotted this image on Flickr from the North Carolina State archives. You can just make out the tools indents and the front bow holder.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/north-carolina-state-archives/3115325113/

cj2a-vec-flickr-nc-state-archives

 
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October 1969 BEWITCHED Comic with Jeep on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Comics, Features

Mark forwarded this comic of BEWITCHED with a jeep on the cover. I found one for sale on eBay, too.

View all the information on eBay

1969-10-bewitched-comic

 
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Hardtop History from This-Old-Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website • TAGS: .

Check out Brendan’s “Hardtops and the Civlization of the Jeep, Part I“. It’s a great early synopsis of attempts at topping the early jeeps.

 
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March 1965 Battlefield Action with Jeep on Cover on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Comics, Features

Here’s a third comic with a jeep on the cover.

View all the information on eBay

1965-03-battlefield-action-comic

 
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Our Jeep Family Expands

• CATEGORIES: Features

We’d like to welcome a new addition to our family:  a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee from Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Tricities in Kennewick.

2012-jeep-cherokee1-lores

After much discussion and the knowledge we’ll driving over 8,000 miles in the next four months, Ann and I decided we needed a different vehicle. Both my 15 year old BMW 540i and her 2008 Ford Mustang stretch at the seems when packed with camping equipment.  Both fear the snow, quivering at the mere sight of slush. Both have V8s that cherish frequent stops at gas stations. And neither vehicle cares to leave the pavement for terra firma when nature heralds us.

To overcome those issues, we began shopping two weeks ago for a different vehicle, preferably an SUV.  Ann took the lead, plowing through consumer reports, dissecting cargo space, comparing engines, and analyzing gas mileage. Satisfied with her research, late last week she selected several models for us to test drive, including the Jeep. Of course, it would be natural for me to want a jeep, but I tried very hard to be neutral about it, to decide on the merits and not the brand.

We started with a 2012 Ford Explorer. It looked good. Smelled fine. Was a nice color. However, thirty seconds into the test drive, I flicked the blinker, only to have it flick back at me. The blinker acted strange. After failing to understand what I was doing wrong, the sales guy told me it was the new style.  All you had to do was press down on it (or pull up) to turn it on and press down on it (or pull on it) to turn it off. He said all the Mercedes had them. I responded, “no offense, but if I wanted my blinkers to act differently, I’d buy a Mercedes”.

Normally a patient and semi-sane person, this trivial little detail instantly turned me off the vehicle. I didn’t want to out think my blinker. I have other important things to think about, such as staying in between the lines while driving, what to post on eWillys, and how to keep my wife happy while continuing this quixotic jeep adventure of ours. Believe me, that keeps my mind plenty busy!

We moved on to test drive several other vehicles, including the Toyota Highlander, the Chevrolet Traverse, the Dodge Durango, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Rather than bore you with trivial details of each drive, I will tell you why we chose the JGC. 1) We got the most for the best price (off road capabilities, tow package and low mileage), 2) Our consumer report research showed jeep owners were extremely happy with their JGCs, and 3) It was a jeep and since our lives are tied up with jeeps, it just made sense.

So, special thanks to Stephen Huang, Travis Solso and the rest of the folks at Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Tricities, who not only patiently endured our questions and concerns, but also bought some of my books. Because of the great interest rate and the trade in on Ann’s Mustang — they didn’t want my old car 🙁 —  our monthly payments dropped $100, which means we are actually saving money monthly by doing the deal. Even better, our insurance is less. So it’s a multiple win for us!

So, this car ought to get us across the country and back safely. In addition, If the timing works out, we’ll also be participating in Lithia’s upcoming Jeep Days this summer.

(BTW . . . don’t tell Biscuit!)

2012-jeep-cherokee3

 
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Photo of First US Man Drafted for WWII Elmer Banke with Jeep on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

It’s the man in the photo that makes it most interesting.  This seller has more jeep photos he is selling.

“This is an “ORIGINAL PERIOD GLOSSY PHOTO BY U.S. AIR FORCE” of JEEP INSPECTOR SGT. ELMER BANKE WHO WAS THE FIRST MAN TO BE SELECTED FOR THE PEACE-TIME DRAFT IN 1940, photo date -1947. The condition is very good and measures 8″ x 10″. I will be listing more Military Vehicle photos in the weeks to come if you are interested.”

View all the information on eBay

elmer-banke-first-peacetime-draft

 
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1943 Fletcher Jeep Tanks AD **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features, trailer

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

These fuel tanks could be pulled by jeeps and other vehicles.

“This is an original vintage 1943 magazine advertisement by Fletcher Aviation Corp. (Pasadena, California) titled
“New Fletcher Jeep Tanks … give gasoline service on the double!”
with 2 WWII era photos.
The ad measures approximately 7 3/4″ x 11 1/4″, is in excellent condition, and can easily be matted & framed.”

1943-fletcher-jeep-tanks-ad

 
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1950s Real Photo Postcard near Atlanta, Idaho on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards

This RPPC or Real Photo Postcard was taken near Atlanta, Idaho. Though I wanted to check out Atlanta, I never made it while I lived in Idaho. It’s lodged in the remote hills north east of Boise. Founded in 1855, it still has a post office. It seems it had some other claim to fame, but that bit of trivia escapes me at the moment. You can learn more here.

Here are some neat photos of buildings in the tiny town from Flickr

View all the information on eBay

1950s-postcard-atlanta-id

 
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QSL Card from Toledo, OR, with Jeep on eBay

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

Here’s another QSL card with a jeep on it.

View all the information on eBay

qsl-with-jeep-toledo-or

 
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Jeep Village in France

• CATEGORIES: Features, International

As it happens on the web, Art found a picture posted at the Jeep Wrangler Facebook Page and posted it on the Jeep Thing page. I saw the picture and wondered where it was taken, so I reposted it. Roberto had the answer, which leads us to a post about Jeep Village.

Opened in 1947, Jeep Village operates a shop just south of Paris in Chevilly Larue and another in the South of France at Aix en Provence. The sell vintage flatties and manufacture and sell parts. The resell MD Juan tubs as well.

You can read about them on Facebook Or visit their website

Here’s a picture floating around Facebook:

jeep-village-france2

Here’s a picture from the Jeep Village’s Paris site:

jeep-village-france1This is the shop in Southern France:

jeep-village-france3

 
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FJ-3A Model from Scratch

• CATEGORIES: Features, FJ, Models, videos

Guy shared a video of someone who build a FJ-3A model using what you see below.

He turned this:

fj3a-model-scratch1

Into this:

fj3a-model-scratch2

 
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Photos of Stretched MBs/GPWs

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Sarge Mark spotted a variety of stretched MBs/GPWs on a 2009 post from Jeep-jitsu. You can see all the photos here:
http://jeep-jitsu.blogspot.com/2009/12/blasts-from-past-pre-cj-6-jeeps.html

jeep-jitsu-stretchedmb4You can view other stretched jeeps that I have found for sale or around the web here, some in odd ways.

 
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Young Lad Jeep with Figural Soaps by Helen Pessi on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features

I never imagined someone would make soldier figurine soaps.

“This is a wonderful vintage children’s set, designed for little boys by the Helene Pessl Company. It is an Army Jeep with three figural soap soldiers. This set is from the 1940’s or 1950’s, as best I have been able to determine. The Soldiers fit into the bottom of the Jeep, and the Jeep slips into the outer box. It is in decent condition, showing some wear on the Jeep parts that fold, and appears to be missing a couple cardboard details from the Jeep. The soaps have never been used… it is being sold ‘as is’. The entire package measures 7 inches (17.5 cm) long by 3 inches (8 cm) wide and 3-1/2 inches (9 cm) tall.”

View all the information on eBay

young-lad-figurine-soaps-helen-pessi1

 
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Woman Stops Jeep Cartoon Postcard on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features, Postcards, Women & Jeeps

The woman says, “I didn’t think a JEEP COULD BE STOPPED.”
The solider says, “You stopped the JEEP — But, I’m just STARTING!”

View all the information on eBay

cartoon-postcard1

 
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Custom Flat Fender Drawing from Flickr

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features

I ran across these custom flattie drawing on Flickr.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpl3k/3263497935/

drawing-jonathon-flickr

 
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Letter I wrote during the summer of 1986

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features, Trips, Women & Jeeps

Last month I discovered a letter I wrote in 1986 during my first summer at Roche Harbor. I sent it to my parents, who promptly put it a filing cabinet. Looking for some personal records, I discovered the letter. For anyone who hasn’t read my book (Finding Virginia) the following letter probably won’t mean much. For those that have read it, there are many familiar themes throughout the letter that also appear in the book. That fact my letter covers jeeps, cooking, and a girl shows you that I remember the summer of 1986 pretty clearly!  However, one event I didn’t include in the book, because I didn’t remember it, was going on a date and having the jeep breakdown. That’s so classic me.

Before I get to the letter, below is a picture of my first jeep two months after I wrote the letter. Cullen and I had come over the Naches trail the previous day, damaging the fiberglass front passenger fender in the epic battle against gravity I describe in the book. We slept that night at the Beverly Dunes. In the morning, we drove towards Moses Lake. Around noon, we stopped and took this picture. After the picture, we proceeded to Moses Lake, then on to Idaho. We stayed in CDA for a couple hours, then started back to Anacortes by way of Stevens pass to catch the 6AM ferry back to the islands. It was a long day.

On the front of the jeep you can see a large chain, which, among other uses, was the shovel tie down. Behind that is a trusty warn winch that saved me many times. The grill is fiberglass and, though already patched once, split into two during this trip. The headlights are 5 1/2 rather than 7″. The smaller size and a wiring problem insured lighting at night wasn’t very good. As you can see, bungie chords were a must for holding down the hood. Wedged between the passenger seat and the roll bar is an old canvas collapsable bucket. It’s still in my parents garage. We carried an extra red gas tank, which is attached to the roll bar on the passenger side. If you look near the rear wheel well you can just make out the racing number from the 1985 summer convention.

blue_jeep_after_beverly_dunes

Click on the link below to read the letter.

Continue reading

 
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Rosko Toy DJ-3A Surrey Toy Jeep **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, toys

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

This includes a box.

“I will be putting up for bid several tin friction and battery operated cars and airplanes that my neighbor is parting with. Many are in fantastic condition.

NO RESERVE !!!!!!

This is a large 10 1/2 ” tin battery operated 1950’s Surrey Jeep made by T.N ( Nomura) of Japan in 1950’s.
In excellent condition.
It is 100% unrestored original.
The original two tone paint is beautiful. Very deep colors and gloss.
The chrome trim and bumpers are excellent with brillant shine
Has all its tires and hubcaps which are all original.
Driver in excellent working condition.
Battery box and cover excellent. Switch works but end piece broken off as seen in pic.
Tested with D batteries and all actions work great. Actions are; lighted headlights, mystery drive actions, and automatic steering with driver turning steering wheel.”

rosko-toy-surrey-jeep1

 
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1968 New Mexico Jeep Trip

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images Jeeping, Trips

The May 1968 issue of New Mexico Magazine has a good story and pictures on an annual jeep trip by the Las Cruces Four Wheelers and the Las Cruces Jeep Club. Fifty-five people in 17 four wheel drive vehicles, including at least one Landrover, Scout, Bronco, Flatfender and CJ-5 (several of these), made the 32 mile trip through a portion of the San Francisco River.

The article includes a map, pictures, and tales of their exploits. As you can see from the pictures, they spent plenty of time deep in water, crossing the river back and forth. The article begins on the map page (page 2). It’s a pretty large picture.

1968-05-newmexico-jeeptrip1a

1968-05-newmexico-jeeptrip-map-lores-small

1968-05-newmexico-jeeptrip2a