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March 29: Holbrook, Arizona, and Route 66

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 11 – March 28: Petroglyph Rocks and Tent Rocks | Overview | Day 13 – March 30: From Cottonwood Canyon to Wolverine  –>

Our goal was to drive to Williams, Arizona, then drive to Prescott, before returning to Williams for the evening.

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Our drive Friday from Holbrook to Williams

We had a busy day that started in Holbrook, AZ. If you have ever seen the movie CARS then you will recognize many of the sites in Holbrook. It’s a fun place to step back in time and cruise the old Route 66.  Here’s a picture of the Wigwam Motel. The prices on these run around $55. I wish I had known they were in Holbrook, because we would have stayed there. Note the old cars parked out front of some of them.

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While looking around the town we came across this poor CJ-5 hiding sadly behind a mixer. It’s a project!

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The Lightweights: Ford, Crosley, Willys, Kaiser, Chev, Nuffield, & Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Airborne Lightweight Jeeps, Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

During World War II, trying to get vehicles, especially Jeeps, onto the ground where military personnel could use them was of paramount importance for obvious reasons. But, how to accomplish that goal was less clear. A variety of strategies were used. One idea that was opened up to bids by companies was a program to create an air-droppable Jeep, a lightweight jeep-like vehicle known as extra lights (EL) or lightweight jeeps or jeeplets that could be boxed and flown into areas where they were needed.

Similar to the original jeep prototype program, where multiple companies (in that case Bantam, Ford and Willys) submitted prototypes and pilots for review and testing, during World War II the military announced their lightweight jeep program and welcomed designs from a variety of manufacturers.

This program resulted in a variety of different vehicles that have been showcased across the web, mostly through old photos. In the article below I organize them using newer photos (whenever possible) to provide the most up-to-date look at most of these vehicles (I don’t have pics of all versions of every vehicle).  For a fuller story of the history behind the lightweights, check out this 1977 article from Hemmings.

The image below shows a photo taken by Patrick Coovert in 2008 at Hallsville, Ohio. In order, from left to right are a CT3 Crosley Pup, the Chevrolet Extra Light (CEL), Willys WAC (Willys Air Cooled), and a Kaiser Extra Light (KEL). These are just a few of the jeeps developed.

1. THE LIGHTWEIGHT CROSLEYS: (More info on the Pup here)

CT-3 Pup: According to Hemmings, 36 Crosley CT-3 Pups were built during 1942 and purchased for testing in several locations. of the 36, 6 of these would make the trip to Europe.  This would make the Pup the most successful of all the early lightweights produced.  The Pup had a 2-cylinder 13hp engine air cooled motor and weighed 1125 lbs. Hemmings notes, “they could only carry the driver and one passenger, and the military testers, initially enthusiastic about the Pup, found weak steering knuckles, weak springs and a weak steering column.

The Crosley Auto Club claims are at least 7 known to still exist (their text has since been updated to indicate that ‘several’ are known to exist).  One is housed at the museum in Ft. Eustis, Va, and one at the Mighty Eight Air Force Museum in Pooler, Ga.   These were taken by a Flickr User name Skeggy at the Mighty Eight Museum.

Here’s an image from the 2006 MPVA convention in Dayton, Oh, and uploaded to webshots by haasjo

2. NUFFIELD:

I have not located much information about the Nuffield, though it was featured in one of my early favorite book called The Jeep. I believe this was based primarily on Willys parts, though it was lightened as much as possible, with a removable steering wheel and fold down windshield to maximize compactness.  The tests of this were successful, though it was deemed unnecessary by the time it was completed in 1944. Nuffield would go on to develop another 4wd vehicle called the Nuffield Gutty.

Here are some images of an exact copy (as possible) of the Nuffield lightweight jeep from a british website.

And some photos of the original:

3. CHEVROLET EXTRA LIGHT (CEL): Hemmings reports Chevrolet developed 2 prototypes with an “Indian 90-degree V-2” 45.44 cid motor.  They adapted it from the Indian Military motorcycle. One prototype is located in the Militia Museum of New Jersey.  This image was taken by Bill Maloney.

This image was taken at the 2006 MPVA Convention by hassjo and uploaded to webshots.

Here’s an image of the CEL this is in a variety of places.

4. KAISER: There were several versions of the Kaiser Extra Lightweight Jeep.  Mark Askew in his Rare WW2 Jeep book has images of a couple different versions.  For example, the Kaiser ‘midjet’ weighed about 1370lbs and the ‘1160’ weighed 1520lbs.

Hemmings has several articles about the Kaisers, including Kaiser’s Jeeplet, Kaiser Lightweight Spotted, and a general article about the Search for Junior Jeeps.

The below pic of the Kaiser Jeeplet was uploaded to webshots by haasjo:

This another Kaiser airborne prototype:

5. FORD “JUNIOR JEEP”: This prototype still exists and is owned by Ted Wisniewski of Belleville, Michigan and was highlighted in an article at Hemmings. A commenter to the article noted he had done some jeep research in the Ford archives and uncovered a wooden model of this prototype, images of which I  have never seen.

From Fred Crimson’s Book “U.S. Military Wheeled Vehicles,”, via the Hemmings website, comes this paragraph explaining more about Ford’s prototype.

“For reasons which can only be speculated on, the little miniature Jeep was not entered in the competition, and the tests proceeded without Ford’s contribution. The engine for this vehicle was a 71 cubic inch agricultural tractor powerplant which produced good torque, but not much horsepower. Perhaps ford realized that the combination of low horsepower and downsized components resulted in an unacceptable vehicle. The other manufacturers did not seem to realize this until the tests were completed and all vehicles had failed. The tires were 5.00x17s with agricultural type tread. It was a clean and well integrated design, even if the offset grille looks a little strange. The radiator had been offset to allow clearance for the steering column. A blackout driving light is recessed below the left headlamp.”

6. WILLYS: Naturally, Willys also developed a series of light jeeps.  Here are a few. Mark’s Rare WW2 Jeeps has some pics of both the Willys MB-L and L2. From Jedsite.info had a photo of the first MB-L. It’s also known as the “Gypsy Rose Lee” Jeep (Unity Magazine, Dec 1947).

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Here’s a photo of the Willys MB-L2:

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and a photo of the MB-L2 next to a standard MB

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Willys Pilot WAC or Jeeplet (harley davidson engine)

Willys WAC or Jeeplet (harley davidson engine)

Willys Aero Jeep (bobcat).  This looks very similar to the CJ-4 prototype.

There were others too.  The Mighty Mite was a version of a lightweight Jeep.  A company that built German Krakas delivered a few hundred of these vehicles to bundeswehr for testing. And, South Africa employed an airborne jeep called the Jakkal. This 500lb four wheel drive folding airborne ‘jeep’ was tested. Pics appeared in the July 1958 Issue of Popular Mechanics (Pg 83).

The MB/GPW Glider (very unique story):

I’ve never run across another reference to this story, but Sam (who runs the Motor Pool) shared a story from his friend Lee (recently deceased) about an experimental Jeep Glider.  Not unlike the Rotabuggy, which was a jeep transformed into a helicopter, the Government also transformed a Jeep into Glider, built to carry 8 personnel plus the jeep.  The Army accomplished this by attaching glider pieces to a jeep.  The jeep was then pulled into the air, like any other glider, and it would fly to a landing spot.  Once down, charges would be ignited and the pieces would fall off. The Jeep could then drive away.

Unfortunately, while the tests were successful in the U.S. in anticipation of the D-Day invasion, a test of the glider system in Britain failed to the point that the army considered this idea unfeasible, with the differences in climate said to be the main reason they succeeded in the US and failed in Britain.

I have yet to run across any photos or drawings of this project, but perhaps someone else has?

General links

  1. Hemmings.com’s Search for the Junior Jeep is a good article for lightweight jeep history.
  2. Rare WW2 Jeeps, by Mark Askew, has a variety of lightweight photos.
  3. Jeeps 1941-45 By Steen Zaloga
  4. Jeep by Jim Allen
 
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March 28: Petroglyph Rocks and Tent Rocks

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 10 – March 27: Caverns & Aliens | Overview | Day 12 – March 29: Holbrook, Arizona, and Route 66 –>

Today we drove north from Tularosa to explore Santa Fe and “Tent Rocks”. Our final destination was Holbrook, Arizona.

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Thursday’s drive from Tularosa to Santa Fe.

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Part of the slot canyon at “Tent Rocks” National Monument

There is no way you can start off a morning wrong when you have hash browns smothered in green chiles and cheddar cheese. It was delicious dish we enjoyed at the local Tularosa gas station restaurant.

Following breakfast, we trekked north for a stop at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site run by the BLM. Within a relatively small area 21,700 petroglyphs have been identified. Within five minutes of hiking we were surrounded by petroglyphs of all sizes and shapes. It seemed every rock was marked.

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After Three Rivers, we renewed our drive northward. On the way we discovered that Tinkertown wouldn’t open until Friday. Moreover, not too far from Tinkertown is Madrid, the town made famous by the WILD HOGS Movie. After pondering our options, we decided that we would have to save Madrid and Tinkertown for some other time.

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A Crime at the 356th Fighter Group in Ohio

• CATEGORIES: Features

Bob sent me a crime report. This jeep is sitting outside at the Akron/Canton, Ohio, Airport with no protection, a lost sole without a loving home. There’s another sitting there too. Both have been left to nature (as best as Bob can tell).  Note the rear tires is flat and the front tire is close behind.

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1960s Cast Surrey Model Cedar Falls, IA **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, toys • TAGS: .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

“THE ULTIMATE JEEP TOY COLLECTORS FIND. THIS TOY I AM TOLD WAS MADE FOR THE WILLYS OVERLAND EXECUTIVES WHEN THEY RETIRED. OR THE OTHER STORY IS THEY WERE MADE FOR DEALERSHIP PROMOS, EITHER WAY THEY ARE VERY RARE AND SCARCE. IT IS MADE OF A HEAVY CAST METAL , IS 6″ LONG 2.5″ WIDE AND 3.5″ TALL. VERY COOL AND VERY CLEAN. AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE PICS IT IS ORIGINAL AND COMPLETE WITH THE WHITE SURRY FRINGE VERY CLEAN AND NICE. NOW THE DOWNSIDE. THERE ARE A COUPLE OF MINOR PAINT CHIPS, THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BUMPER IS BROKEN OFF (THIS IS QUITE TYPICAL ON THESE)AND ONE OF THE PLASTIC STRAPS IS LOOSE FROM THE TOP AND MAY COME OFF IN SHIPPING (BE FOR WARNED).”

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March 27: Caverns & Aliens

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 9 – March 26: Space History and White Sands | Overview | Day 11 – March 28: Petroglyph Rocks and Tent Rocks –>

On Wednesday March 27th we spent the day exploring eastern New Mexico.

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We began the morning with a beautiful drive east up to Cloudcroft, a town that sits at 9000 ft, making it popular destination for folks looking to escape the heat of the Alamogordo valley.  It was early, so not much was open. We continued until we reached the dusty town of Artesia, NM. My oldest son Karson had been ‘stationed’ in Artesia to get his final training for Fema Corps, but left Sunday (only 3  days earlier) for Brooklyn, where he will spend two months helping the Hurricane Sandy clean up process.  So, we just missed him!

From Artesia, we went south on Highway 285 until we reached Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

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After entering the Carlsdbad’s visitor center, we had a choice. We could either take an elevator down or walk down to the caverns themselves. Ann thought it best to take the elevator, but was perfectly happy to let me walk down the winding pathway through a massive cave entrance, which leads to the caverns.

So, I started towards the entrance. At first the switchbacks were relative gentle…

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But soon they got steeper. As the path led into the cave opening, moisture from the walls and ceiling bled onto the path, making it slippery in spots due to the angle of descent. 2013-03-27-carlsbad-cavern4

Eventually, I reached an intersection. I was uncertain which way to go until I spotted a sign I thought would get me to the elevators. So, I turned right, unaware that I was actually heading into the cavern system itself. Once I realized my mistake, I then had to figure out whether it was quicker to head back the way I had come or venture forward until I returned back the the intersection starting point. Poor Ann was left waiting for me. I think it took me about 15 minutes to complete the entire circuit through the caverns at a slight job.

One I found Ann again, we I took my second stroll around the caverns, this time at a much slower pace. My photos of the cavern were mostly blurry, but this was turned out reasonably well.

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March 26th: NM Museum of Space History & White Sands NM

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 8 – March 25: Tucson, A Titan, and Tombstone | Overview | Day 10 – March 27: Caverns & Aliens –>

On Tuesday March 26th, we touristed several spots around the Alamogordo area.

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Our trek to several Alamogordo spots from Tularosa and back.

Be began the day by driving a short distance south of Tularosa, stopping at a Pistachio Farm and, possibly, the worlds largest pistachio!  We also found this Mad-Max-like crazy car.

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Next we toured the city of Alamogordo and the New Mexico Museum of Space History. At the museum Ann spotted two pictures of jeeps.

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John’s CJ-3A with Trailer

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

John completed refurbishing his 1946/47 Ben Hur Trailer. Looks great!

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Photo from Mrs. Brown Lovely Daughter Movie

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

From the movie Mrs. Brown, You’ve got a Lovely Daughter.

“Original 8×10-inch color movie still / mini lobby card was produced to promote the 1968 MGM Herman’s Hermits musical / comedy / rock ‘n roll / greyhound dog racing film, MRS. BROWN YOU’VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER, which starred Peter Noone, Karl Green, Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, Barry Whitwam, Stanley Holloway, Mona Washbourne, Lance Percival, Marjorie Rhodes, Sheila White, Sarah Caldwell, Hugh Futcher, Drewe Henley, Avis Bunnage and John Sharp. The film was directed by Saul Swimmer. This is an original movie item — NOT a copy or reproduction. The still was printed in Great Britain and it features lush coloring and beautiful lithography. Title information is printed in the lower border. The card — #3 of the set — features a great shot of Peter Noone and the greyhound dog in a vintage motorcycle and sidecar — with other members of Herman’s Hermits riding in a jeep nearby.”

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New Mexico Postcard with a Flattie on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards

Since we are in New Mexico for a few days, I thought a Postcard with an old flattie would be appropriate. Can’t really see much of the jeep though.

View all the information on eBay

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1975 Colorado Ice Racing Photo on eBay

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

Great vintage photo!

“FEB 1 1975, FEB 3 1975 ***** a Grip on Winter long, as on the Jeep at lower right, seem to work best on hard ice, according to Dean Buhler, a member of racing team at Neal’s Custom Paint & Body Shop in Loveland. A few drivers use chains, as at left, but chains ordinarily are no match for studs, Buhler said. Between 100 and 150 vehicles enter on Sunday, and go up to 50 miles an hour. Credit: Denver Post . Photo is 10” x 8” in size.”

View all the information on eBay

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Man and Jeep Girls Vintage Photo on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Women & Jeeps

Interesting old photo.

View all the information on eBay

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March 25: Tucson, A Titan, and Tombstone

<– Day 7 – March 25: Jeep Signs in Tucson | Overview | Day 9 – March 26: Space History and White Sands –>

Today we had multiple stops planned. Overall, our goal was to drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Tularosa, New Mexico.

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We had a very busy day on Monday. A long drive coupled with multiple stops.

After posting the picture from Moab of the CJ-2A mounted on a sign at Ivan’s, Joe pointed me to two similar places in Tucson, AZ. He even included addresses, which saved me time (thanks!). The first place, Willy’s works was a parts store and focuses on civilian and military jeeps. The ‘jeep’ yard held a variety of jeeps. The second place was Jack’s Government Surplus, which naturally focuses on military items. Around Jacks were all kinds of great parts’ yards. I wished I had the time to explore all the different yards!

We did not have time to explore either place. We stopped, took pictures and drove off. So, call or check them out the next time you are there.

Willys Works: 1933 W Gardner Ln,Tucson, AZ (520) 888-5082

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Jack’s Government Surplus5181 E Drexel Rd, Tucson, AZ 85706 (520) 574-0300
Below are my pictures. You can see some ones from 2010 on Flickr. In the pictures you’ll see a M-38A1, a FC, and a M-151. I’m sure there is more.

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Inside Jacks were several different jeeps. jacks-government-surplus3

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J.B. Martin: St. Bernard and His Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Reader Stories

Jim forwarded this wonderful story to Derek who forwarded it to me. It’s a heart warming tale of a man and his jeep told by the man’s daughter. A mechanic by trade, J.B. Martin, from Richmond, Missouri, drove a ‘beefed up’ 1945 MB. According the article he is credited with taking “children home in a snowstorm, a doctor to a snow-bound rural home, his family for bobsled rides, and in two days got around 60 cars started.”

http://www.richmond-dailynews.com/2013/03/rays-winter-of-62-one-where-a-st-bernard-and-his-jeep-were-indispensible/

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J.B. Martin and his jeep. Photo from the Richmond Daily News — Richmond, MO

 
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March 24: Bernie’s Hotrod FCs and A Train Stop

• CATEGORIES: Builds, FC150-FC170-M677, Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 6 – March 23: Bernie’s Hotrod FCs and A Train Stop | Overview | Day 8 – March 25: Tucson, A Titan, and Tombstone –>

On Sunday March 24th, we made a quick visit back to the FC Roundup to get some better pics of Bernie’s rig. After that, we spent the afternoon exploring the Phoenix area. That evening, we drove south to Tucson.

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Our evening drive on Sunday was a short one.

We began the morning at the FC Roundup. Yesterday, I posted a couple pictures of Bernie’s FC. Here are some of the more interesting details:

1) This uses only aviation fuel
2) The engine’s exhaust is partially vented inside the boxed frame
3) The rear and side windows still need completing
4) The cab and the bed both tilt
5) There is no driveline. The transmission is coupled to the rear pinion using a drag racing coupler

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The King and the Whirly Bird Book on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Books, Features

The King and the Whirly Bird was written by Mabel Watts in 1969. It’s supposed to include a reference/picture to the “royal jeep”. Whether there really is a jeep, it’s a cute sounding book.

“This hardcover book was writtten by Mabel Watts, illustrated by Harold Berson. Published by Parents’ Magazine Press, copyright 1969.

Once there was a king who had a wonderful kind of flying machine called a whirlybird. He had a pilot named Joe who could fly the machine, but the king would not use the machine at all. “Birds fly. I’m not a bird!” said the king. He had to travel a lot so he used the coach or rode the stallion. He even tried the rickety old royal train, and the old steamship, and finally the royal jeep. None of those methods of travel worked very well. Finally, Joe the pilot convinced the king to try the whirlybird. “This is the way to travel! The whirlybird is the best!” said the king.

Excellent condition.”

View all the information on eBay

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Hamilton Pedal U-Haul Jeep and Trailer NY **Status Unknown**

• CATEGORIES: Features, toys

UPDATE: Status Unknown. Was $650.

(03/26/2014) The Jeep has been restored, but not he trailer.

“IM SELLING A VINTAGE 50’S U-HAUL JEEP AND TRAILER. THE JEEP HAS BEEN RESTORED AND HAS ALL NEW DECALS. THE TRAILER COULD USE NEW PAINT. ASKING 650.00 NEG. EMAIL ME YOUR NUMBER AND WILL CALL BACK IN ORDER. PUT UHAUL IN TITLE SO I KNOW ITS NOT SPAM.WILL REMOVE LISTING WHEN SOLD”

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The O.E. Szekely CJ-3A APU Navy Jeeps

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

I’ve been assembling some information on the O.E. Szekely and Associates Navy Jeeps built from CJ-3A parts. These were used to act as “Self-propelled electric power plants” on land and on battleships. They were made in three-wheeled and four-wheeled versions.

There is also a report that O.E. Szekely served 3 1/2 years in the USNR. This may have given him the contacts necessary to arrange the contract(s) for the APU Jeeps.

Link to a discussion on the CJ-3A Page
Link to a discussion at G-503.com
Some great photos from WillysArgentina of APUs

1. UPDATE: I dont’ know why I labeled this an APU. It was definitely in the Navy, but after further review, I see no reason to think it was a Szekely jeep. It is a Four wheel CJ-3A with a L-head that was listed here http://www.ewillys.com/2010/04/28/1951-navy-cj-3a-denver-co-ebay/

2. Four wheel CJ-3A APU with a F-head (and hood bump). The two extra gauges were added as well. Here are a couple pics of Tom’s jeep.

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3. Three wheel CJ-3A APU with a L-head.

Article from July 1951 issue of Popular Science Page 142

4. Three wheel CJ-3A APU with a F-head (and hood bump). The APU pictured in color below is from the Miramar Marine Corps Air Museum in San Diego

 
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Uranium Boom Movie Poster and Photos **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on ebay.

I haven’t seen the movie Uranium Boom, but it received a rating of 6.5 stars at IMDb. There are a couple items from the movie on eBay.

This picture shows star Patricia Medina in a jeep.

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Here’s the poster with the jeep:View all the information on eBay

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Here are some original pictures: View all the information on eBay

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March 23: 2013 FC-Roundup Saturday

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features • TAGS: , .

<– Day 4 & 5 – March 21 & 22: Joe and Joe in Mesa, FC Roundup Part I | Overview | Day 7 – March 24: Bernie’s Hotrod FCs and A Train Stop –>

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Just a few updates today (Sunday). Saturday was busy and a lot of fun at Jesse’s house. People were coming and going all day. There was plenty of good food, with hot dogs and beans at lunch and some delicious midday ribs from James in the afternoon. Blue sky and temperatures in the high 70s created perfect temperatures whether you were in the sun or the shade. Below are some of the day’s events.

After a group trip to Mother’s for dinner, we returned to find Bernie’s stunning FC combo:

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Colin, George and I spent some time checking out Colin’s Jeepster:
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Bob restored this beautiful column shift CJ-2A:
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The ladies all jumped into Jesse’s refurbished Tour Jeep for a picture. He’s almost finished with it.
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We celebrated Jesse and Andrea’s 50th anniversary and the FC-Roundup’s 10th anniversary.
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<– Day 4 & 5 – March 21 & 22: Joe and Joe in Mesa, FC Roundup Part I | Overview | Day 7 – March 24: Bernie’s Hotrod FCs and A Train Stop –>

 
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March 21 & 22: Joe and Joe in Mesa, FC Roundup Part I

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 3 Part II – March 20th Part 2: Canyon De Chelly National Monument  | Overview | Day 6 – March 23: 2013 FC-Roundup Saturday  –>

Thursday March 21: We spent Wednesday night in Flagstaff, slept in, toured Flagstaff, then drove to Phoenix. It wasn’t all that interesting, as the only thing we documented was a stop at Pita Jungle in Flagstaff.

Friday March 21: 

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Left to right: Joel, David, Joe-in-Mesa

Ann and I dropped by Joe’s house in Mesa on Friday morning before heading off to the 2013 FC Roundup. While Joel has been around jeeps much of his life, Joe is newer to them.

Joe’s initial jeep goal was simple: militarize an old CJ-2A. So, he bought a running CJ-2A with a rough body. Then, he found a GPW body with a great body and frame. His plan was to put the body onto the CJ-2A frame, but his plan was thwarted when he discovered the frame and body matched. With Joel preaching “thou shallst not separate a matching body and frame”, Joe decided to focus on building up the GPW to an originalism state and just patch the floor of the CJ-2A.

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As Joe began looking for parts, he found a T-84 transmission and transfercase. Though Joe only wanted the tranny and tc, the seller gave him a price on that plus CJ-3B parts that he couldn’t refuse.

So, a story as old as time, Joe’s one project has turned into three 🙂

The GPW has a few interesting items of note. First, the passenger side was cut and replaced with a swinging door. The door is better than bubba quality and looks like, based on paint comparisons, that it has been with the jeep a long time. Joe has decided to keep it as a conversation piece.

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Also of interest is a hinge welded to the bottom of the Ford script seat frame. I suspect that’s a mystery which will never be solved.

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After a great time with Joe and Joel, we headed west to central Phoenix and the FC Roundup.

FC ROUNDUP:

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March 20th Part 2: Canyon De Chelly National Monument

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 3 Part I – March 20th Part I: Dead Horse State Park | Overview | Day 4 & 5 – March 21 & 22: Joe and Joe in Mesa, FC Roundup Part I –>

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Almost to the observation point at Spider Point, Canyon De Chelly, just before we dodged Craig . . .

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This post covers our time in Canyon De Chelly, after which we drove to Flagstaff to spend the night.

For more than a decade Canyon De Chelly National Monument has been on my bucket list of places to visit. I’d read about the beautiful canyons and seen pictures of the Puebloan dwellings perched high within the walls. Yet, I had never visited the place, because its location deep within the Navajo Reservation has kept it from being a convenient side trip. In fact, if you do a search of the web, you’ll find a variety of potential visitors asking if it is worth the trip. While many of the responses gush over the place, Ann and I were deeply disappointed.

We arrived at 4pm under a cloudy sky, having driven through hundreds of miles of Navajo Reservation land (an experience in itself). The winds were blowing pretty good, adding to an already cool day. Fortunately we had plenty of warm clothes, so cold temperatures couldn’t stop us. We entered the visitor center to pay our park fee and learned that the park is free. We thought that strange, but took it as a sign of good fortune.

We told the ranger we knew little about the park and asked if he could make some suggestions on what to see. He described a north tour and a south tour, with the coup-de-grace being Spider Point, the farthest vista along the south drive. We chose to save the best for first and began driving along the south drive.

As soon as we entered the park, we saw the jeep tour sign. Then, there was cowboy woman’s coffee shack, and the term shack might be stretching it, for it wasn’t that nice. But, it was local flavor so we just mentioned it and moved on. But, the local flavor never disappeared. As we drove up the park road we’d see view points for the canyon on our left and Navajo homesteads on our right. As we talked about it, we realized we weren’t in a park, but in the Navajo’s back yard.

After twenty minutes of driving we rounded the Spider Point access road when we saw an unwashed filthy old man wearing a dora explorer pink backpack. He popped out of the bushes some distance in front of us, crossed the road, and was walking off into the middle of nowhere. Ann looked at me and said, “Well, that’s not odd . . .”  Several hundred feet later we saw these two young men of Navajo descent digging with a couple shovels on what seemed to be park land. It just seemed odd.

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Spider Point Parking Lot Overlook at Canyon De Chelly. I liked the simple tubes for viewing. They really helped.

Ten minutes later we were standing at the parking lot at a fence with a beautiful view of the canyon. There was one other car, so it was very quiet. I particularly liked the low budget pointers used to direct visitor’s eyes to different Puebloan ruins. Just as I was beginning to think this might be a cool place, Craig showed up. Well, I guess he didn’t just show up, rather he jumped out of a plateless mini-van that barely slowed down before it sped off again.

It took all of thirty seconds for Craig to amble over to us and introduce himself. Craig’s high pitched  feminine voice was unexpected; so was the smell that followed him. Craig claimed that his grandmother owned the hogan that just happened to be located at the end of the walking path off of Spider Point. He asked if we like to see that? I said yes, just to see what his response was. He took off excitedly down the path to the observation point. Meanwhile, Ann saw two men of apparently Navajo descent disappear into the bushes nearby. We never did figure out where they went.

Given our location, Ann joked that her Spidey senses were on full alert. I had to agree with her, as something felt completely wrong with the situation. Yet, feeling intrepid, we decided to walk down to the observation point path so we could see the view. We found a cool spot and took some photos, lingering to let Craig disappear.

Eventually we made it to the observation point itself, though I could see Craig lurking at a point beyond the view point. After a few quick photos, neither of us were enjoying the view. It just felled odd. So, we decided to get out of there.

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Spider Point at Canyon De Chelly

About a mile passed Spider point was another view point. Parked just to the side of the parking lot was the same van that dropped off Craig. Someone sat inside, waiting for something. So, we sped off to the main road.

At the main road, we began to weave our way back to the park entrance. We saw another spur road that led to another view point. What the heck, we thought. We drove to the parking lot, only to find a peddler of trinkets and necklaces waiting for anyone to appear. We’ve run across similar peddling at Four Corners and Gooseneck State Park in Utah, but never in a national park. That being the last straw, we decided to leave the park.

It turned out we couldn’t leave the park fast enough. The road back to the entrance had a speed limit of 45mph. The road had no shoulders. It bobbed and weaved down a hillside. I was traveling 50mph. A white car behind me was following at a reasonable distance. At one point I looked back at the car and, out of no where, a yellow school bus appeared. It was riding the rear of the white car. The bus was aggressive enough that it caught my attention.

We were halfway down to the park entrance when I saw the white car pull off at a view point. If I were the white car I would have done the same thing. In fact, because the bus was going to be behind me, I sped up to 55mph, figuring that would keep me ahead of the bus. It seems I thought wrong. I watched the bus round two corners behind me, the weight of the bus would cause it to lean. The driver compensated by veering multiple times into the opposing lane. It took several shifts of the steering wheel before the bus driver got control. Once the driver found a straight away, all he/she knew how to do was go fast, because even at 55mph, that driver caught me quickly .

I had two choices, I could remain at 55mph and have some freaking careless driver riding my butt, or I could pull off and let the driver go by. I chose the latter course, because I didn’t need to put our safety risk. Sure enough, that bus roared passed us and we never saw it again.

We thought about stopping at the Visitor’s Center and complaining, but it was closed by the time we arrived, so we bolted. Heck, we wanted our money back, even though we hadn’t paid anything!

As we were about to leave Chinle, the town where Canyon De Chelly is located, Ann noticed the High School had double perimeter fencing, an outside fence consisting of a security fence (barbed wire) and an inner fence. Between the two fences was a security car patroling the area. To enter the school a person had to go through a security booth. Given Chinle is in the middle of nowhere, it was surreal.

That was our image as we left the area. That school bus might as well have followed us out of town, because we weren’t wasting anytime leaving. Besides, there was nothing there that we hadn’t seen at Mesa Verde, Zion, Canyonlands, or other parks in the NPS or Utah State Park system.

We left Canyon De Chelly and drove to Flagstaff, where we spent the night. Tomorrow, March 21st, we will spend a little time in Flagstaff, then leave for Phoenix.

<– Day 3 Part I – March 20th Part I: Dead Horse State Park | Overview | Day 4 & 5 – March 21 & 22: Joe and Joe in Mesa, FC Roundup Part I –>

 
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Jumping Jeep Moss Agate From Mitchell, Oregon

• CATEGORIES: Features

As best as I can figure out, there is a real type of agate called Jumping Jeep Moss Agate. If anyone can chime in on this, feel free. The “Shirts” in the story refers to Shirts Quant, who was a real person.

Here’s the story I found . . . “ANOTHER FAMOUS DISCOVERY IS THE JUMPIN JEEP MOSS AGATE FIND NEAR MITCHELL OREGON. NOW SHIRTS AND A FELLA BY THE NAME OF MITCHELL LOCATED THIS CLAIM WAY UP ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN. THEY WERE GETTING SOME FANTASTIC AGATE OUT. THERE WAS A HUGE BOULDER OF SOLID MOSS AGATE WITH REDS AND GOLDS, BUT THEY COULD NOT BUDGE IT. THEY GOT THE IDEA OF BRINGING UP AN OLE WILLYS JEEP AND IT HAD A WINCH ON THE FRONT END, MAN THEY WINCHED THAT HOSS UP AND HIKED TO THE JEEP AND GRINNING THEY TURNED ON THE WINCH AND THE ROCK BUDGED A BIT AND BEFORE THEY COULD STOP IT THE JEEP TOOK OFF ROLLING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN WITH THE ROCK!!! IN THEIR HASTE THEY HAD FORGOT TO ANCHOR THE JEEP. SHIRTS SAID THEY JUST STOOD THERE IN AWE HE LAUGHED AND SAID “A COUPLE TIMES THAT JEEP WENT WAAAAY UP AIRBORNE” HE SAID FOLKS FROM ALL OVER HAD TO COME AND LOOK AT THAT JEEP…”

http://stores.ebay.com/RHODES-CABBIN-AND-GEMS/THE-PROSPECTORS-PAGE.html

Here’s one picture of Jumping Jeep Plume Agate:

View all the information on eBay

jumping-jeep-plume-agate

 
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Santa Driving a Jeep in Ad

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

JJ spotted Santa driving a jeep in this ad by Walk Kelly from 1942. You can find more Walt Kelly illustrations where JJ found this one at The Golden Age.

1942-03-santa-claus-walt-kelly

 
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Wooden Jeep Sign **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

Maybe someone is looking for this unique sign?

“Thank you for visiting my eBay Auctions and Store. 3D Signs specializes in unique hand crafted signs and plaques. These signs make the perfect gift and are not available from any other eBay seller!

DESCRIPTION
This is a single sided sign, routed on Real Wood in my wood shop. It is painted with bright acrylic paints, and finished with multiple coats of clear lacquer for long lasting protection. Your new sign comes ready to hang with a sawtooth style hanger already installed.

This sign measures approximately 11″x 15”

wood-carved-sign-jeep