Features Research Archives

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Check out this photo from Offroad Action

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website

I was checking out Wes’ Offroad Action site the other day and ran across this amazing photo.  There is no evidence to support the rumor that the driver was texting just before this occurred (in fact, texting was a few decades away yet).  But, I’ll make the claim anyway.  See kids, particularly my kids, don’t text and drive off road!

Click on the pic to see a larger version and to see other pics of this CJ-5 Camper Combo.

 
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Builds: Mark updates us on his Jeepster Project

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

During Mark’s last update, he got a steal on some Mitsubishi seats that fit perfectly into “Her Royal Highness”.  He’s made some additional progress since then.

Mark writes, “You may recall phase I consisted of making her safe, legal and roll down the road without leaking out all the  fluids. Phase II for me was to make it reliable and comfortable. Phase III is body & appearance and that one may take awhile. I’m rather fond of the aged patina look (alright I’m lazy).

After sitting in a barn for 18 years I’ve been leary of opening up the 265 on the highway because I was afraid the gaskets would fail so I replaced both diff. gaskets, the t-18 cover gasket and the oil pan gasket on the SBC. Once I got in there I was amazed at the pristine condition of the gears, they looked new. I installed a sound system and finished off with some sweet tan leather seats.  Replacing the orginal split bench with modern buckets changes the whole driving experience for the better.

One neat idea was to mount the seats with 1lb. rubber mallets cut and drilled to compensate for the uneven floor board. I’ve included some pictures.”

 
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1944 MB With Custom Body

• CATEGORIES: Features, Sedan-jeep, Unusual • TAGS: .

I stumbled upon this unusual Willys creature at this prewarcar website.  I guess Wally Cohn wasn’t the only person trying to create a unique body on top of the Willys platform.

“2 of these willys mb were bodied in germany in 1945. one was destroyed, ended in hamburg probably beeing rebodied to an original jeep, so when i got that survivor i did not do the same mistake and put it on the road again. now it is one of a kind with all the original chassis, drivetrain, axles etc. even with the original data plate date of delivery nov.11, 1944 (author Bussinger Kfz)”

 
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Tubing in a Tubeless World

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features, Tires and Rims

I admit that sometimes I’m entirely clueless.  Today was a perfect example, for today I got my Desert Dogs mounted onto a 2nd set of Hurricane Rims that have been holding down the garage floor for more than two years.

The last time I got a set of offroad tires mounted on a set of rims was 27 years ago.  Those too were desert dogs. I had inner tubes added to the tires so that the air pressure could be dropped to 10 – 15 lbs when jeeping; using inner tubes was a very normal thing to do.

So, now you will understand that when I pulled up to Les Schwab Tires (btw, Les Schwab, the company founder, was an early fan and seller of the Desert Dogs) and told the guy at the counter what I wanted to do, I didn’t think much of it.  He walks out, looks at the rims, looks at the tires, and tells me he doesn’t think the tires will actually fit the rims.  Frankly, he was looking at me like I just dropped in from planet Mars.  Fortunately, I’m used to people looking at me like that.  I told him that Les himself would have mounted Dogs to rims similar to what I had.  He took it all in and seemed to think that maybe my request was possible.  So, I asked him for an estimate to mount the tires and add inner tubes.

He gave me an estimate ($91 to mount and balance them) and said he didn’t know if he could get some inner tubes, because running inner tubes on tires like that would cause them to heat up and explode (the inner tube explode that is).   Now it was my turn to look at him like he was from Mars.

However, to his credit, he was courteous the entire time and spent extra time attempting to locate inner tubes, finally finding four tubes at a cost of $38 …. that’s $38 a piece.  After some quick addition I concluded that would cost me almost $160 just for tubes!!  I told him thanks, I would see what else I could find for inner tubes.

So, I left, went home, and hopped on my beloved internet, hoping I could find a better price.  After a half our of searching the internet and finding nothing, I had an idea.  I would call Bucks, a local 4×4 shop, to see what they used.  They said they rarely use inner tubes.  The last time they used them, they got the tubes from Commercial Tire.

It turns out, in a world of tubeless tires, the use of tubes, once standard practice, has evaporated.  Worse, no one told me!

My next step was to call Commercial Tire and see what they could do.  The guy on the phone was helpful and said tubes would probably cost about $23 for my tire size, however I’d need to check the stem size of the rim as the tube price he was quoting was for a tube with a thick stem.

I figured I had nothing to lose, so I drove over to Commercial Tire and asked for some tubes.  They looked at my stem size and determined I needed a rare inner tube.  Several employees started making calls and one finally found four tubes at a warehouse somewhere and that was all they could find.  The price would be $35 a piece.

I still thought that was crazily high, so asked them to just give me a quote on mounting the tires.  They said they wouldn’t mount them because they were older than 6 years. So, my trip to Commercial Tire was a waste of time; and it confirmed that the world of tires had changed while I had been away from jeeps.

I left Commercial Tire and made the decision that I would mount the tires without tubes and give that a try.  Since Les Schwab was willing to mount the tires, I decided to just take the tires back to them and get them mounted.  Then, I took the mounted tires home and put them on the jeep.

So, maybe putting 18 year old shoes on Biscuit isn’t the smartest decision, but I couldn’t resist.  They probably have 5000 miles of road wear left, maybe a little more. However, I had to do this to complete my image of what Biscuit would be: a fiberglass flattie with an old school look.

Here are a couple images of the new, old tires.  I do prefer the pure aluminum color of the other rims, rather than having the black within the splines. So, I plan to polish the rims at some future point and take off that black.

 
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Oldies but Goodies – Desert Dog Tires

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features • TAGS: .

The main reason for my trip to Seattle this weekend was to pick up a set of Forumla Desert Dog tires from Mitch with some good tread still left that I can use as offroad tires.  I have four more hurricane rims just aching for these tires, so I can’t wait to get them mounted.  This should really make Biscuit ready for summertime explorations.  Thanks Mitch!

 
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Willys Shouldn’t Live in Cages — Victoria, BC circa 1990

• CATEGORIES: Features

I think this image was snapped just over 2 decades ago outside of Victoria, BC.  That’s me in the picture, shocked at the life that poor jeep must endure.  I wanted to demonstrate the unethical treatment of this Willys.  Just look how tight the cage is!  With no place to move, to roam, to really stretch out, this poor Jeep was forced to live a semi-sheltered life outdoors, a prisoner to the whims of the weather.  And, Canadians are usually so nice!

 
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Builds: Hugo’s CJ-3A in Uruguay

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, International

UPDATE: You can see the final build here.

A citizen of Uruguay, Hugo recently contacted me to appropriately correct me from confusing a town, Londrinha,  that doesn’t exist in Puerto Rico with one that does exist in Brazil (In this case, I believe I can blame Google Maps for my error!).

Because of this error, I got to know a little more about Uruguay, which it turns out I didn’t really know that much about.  One cool thing I learned is a hand was installed on (or more accurately into) the Punta del Este Beach in 1982 by Chilean artist Mario Irarrazabal.  He titled it the Monumento al Ahogado (Monument to the Drowned).  Apparently, he did another, different hand in a Chilean desert.

Hugo reports that the jeeping is excellent in Uruguay, though he hasn’t had much of a chance to jeep this summer (it is summer there of course right now), because his CJ-3A is currently dismantled in his garage for repair.  However, he did forward this picture.  Thanks for sharing!

 
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Wild Man Willis Ray Willey

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

UPDATE: Thanks to Mike for sorting out Willis’ real name. He was Willis Ray Willey, while his twin was Willard Roy Willey.

It might not surprise you that my interest in history has led me to become the family historian.  As a part of my self-assumed title, I make it a point to look through the family albums and scan images whenever I’m visiting.  This morning while looking through my grandmother’s album, which contains images from Fighting Creek, Idaho, the place her parents homesteaded in 1911 (they actually won a land lottery), I stumbled upon the unusual photograph of a man in an early motorcar that I show below.  I called mom over and asked her if she recognized anyone in the photo, as I didn’t.  She said she didn’t either.

About mid-day I was talking to my aunt (mom’s sister) and briefly described the photo.  I described the guy as ‘wild looking’.  Well, my aunt said that there was once this guy with the name of Wild Willy or something that used to be a colorful character around the Spokane area.  I got curious about who this guy might be and why the unusually nice photo, for a photo taken in 1933, ended up in a family photo album.

So, I powered up Google’s image search feature and input a variety of search strings until I spotted a picture of a guy who looked like the guy sitting in the car.  The story accompanying the photo said his name was Willis Ray Willey and, while he didn’t have a jeep,  he had quite the unusual, adventurous story.  So, I thought I’d share a brief summary of it.

To read more about Willey, visit this article from Nostalgia Magazine. Willey reminds me of the Camel Man, who Hein ran into a few months ago in Australia.

In the picture above, we appear to have Willis Ray Willey in his 1904 REO, the first year that the Ranson E. Olds Automobile Company built a car.  This photo was taken in 1933 (note the ’33 on the license plate).  The photo is taken with the Monroe Street bridge and the Spokane Falls in the background.  Willey planned to drive this car from Spokane to the 1933/1934 World Fair in Chicago.

You’ll note that Willey is only wearing shorts.  It turns out that Willey was a sickly youngster.  After examining him, a doctor suggested that he improve his constitution by exposing himself to the elements.  So, over time, he reduced the clothes he wore, eventually only wearing shorts whether winter or summer.

Apparently, that did the trick, as he never got sick, at least not until he was on his trip to the Chicago World’s Fair.  See, it turned out that simply wearing shorts wasn’t very common practice and, in fact, wasn’t tolerated.  People complained when they saw him and police would arrest him, with many arrests occurring on his way to Chicago.  According to Nostalgia Magazine, he did make it to Chicago, where he was arrested again. However, this time they cut off his hair and beard and he promptly got sick and remained sick for 3 months.

Now in the photo above, you’ll note that along the side of the seat it reads “Postcards 3 for 25 cents”.  One of the ways Willey made money was by selling postcards of himself; I guess he recognized just how much of an oddity he was.

If you look below, you can see two of the postcards he sold.  One is of him on Treasure Island in San Francisco, with a dog, a coyote, a turtle and multiple possums (click on photo and scroll down to see closeups).  The other is of him ice skating at LIberty Lake (thanks Jerry).

Yes, quite the character indeed!

 
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Builds: Goose Fixes up His CJ-3B in only 4 Months

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Goose wrote me an email today, announcing he had finished the restoration of his CJ-3B.  Not only did he complete his budget-conscious restoration in only 4 months, but he also documented it in two different locations (see links below); not a trivial task!   He’s done a good amount of work in a short time and I think he’ll be happy with it for quite a while.  Well done Goose!

Goose writes, “Hey Dave. I finally got my jeep finished and wanted to share the story. I’ll include a couple pics with this email but feel free to pull any others down from the links below too. The first link is from thisoldjeep, which I discovered here and the second is from a site where I frequent due to my dirtbike passion.

http://thisoldjeep.21.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=578&highlight

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=949807

Here are a couple before images:

Here’s a midway point photo:

And a couple completed photos:

 
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A Crosley with a Mini Crane

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Randy spotted this unusually equipped CrosleyHe spotted it in this USGS document.

 
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Builds: Jeremy Finds a New Project

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Jeremy discovered just the project he was hoping to find.  Congrats!  You can see he has already recruited an enthusiastic assistant!

Jeremy writes, I “Found this on eWillys.com – was listed as a 1942 GPW.  Sent my wife down yesterday and got it today.  Turns out to be a 1943, but the frame and engine match – I am really happy with this jeep.  Lots of original parts and the owner James was super nice.  James was insistant that he sell the jeep as a whole unit to someone who will restore it rather than part it out.  I guess he just had to wait for the right buyer.  Looking forward to a long restoration.”

 
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One of a Kind Trencher Mayfield, Ky eBay

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles • TAGS: , .

This poor jeep ….

“This is a real classic,early 40’s jeep with a Jeep-a-trench,nobody around here has never seen one,I turn the engine over by hand,the estate it came from he trenched there water lines, all the levers work.I think it is really unusally.The only other on e-bay is $5500 without the jeep it is very rare.Thank you  I have drop the price $500 will also consider offers this is for sale.I am droping the price another $500.Thank you”

View all the info on eBay

 
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Need Elbow Grease?

• CATEGORIES: Features

HOG spotted this funny buy.

“Ran out of Elbow Grease during that difficult project? Can’t get that lugnut off your wheel? Is that engine block just too darn heavy for your to pick up on your own? KaleCoAuto’s Elbow Grease is the perfect solution for you! Made from high quality synthetic materials, KaleCoAuto’s Elbow Grease is matched is without a peer!
WARNING: HARD WORK MAY LEAD TO INCREASED MUSCLE TONE AND BETTER OVERALL HEALTH. TO BE SAFE, YOU SHOULD USE AS LITTLE OF THIS PRODUCT AS POSSIBLE!”

http://kalecoauto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=32&zenid=15p8o0pcavbi9mbkajl1ve7u14

 
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Some low rider flatties from the Phillipines

• CATEGORIES: Features, International, stainless/jewels

Following the stainless bodies last night, I figured I’d head to the Phillipines and find some non Jeepney, but equally interesting, flatties.  I didn’t have to search too hard for a good forum thread on what I’d call “low rider flatties”.  You can see the beginning of the thread here: tsikot.com or click on the pictures to get to the relevant page of the thread.

 
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Fire Jeeps from a Locomotive Site

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, toys

From the black and white image, and possibly others, this modeler built the model jeep below.

 
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Here are a Couple Cast Iron Jeep Toys

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, toys

Here are some cast iron toys from Mike Legeros’ Collection. The first one is a fire jeep. The second is a Brush Jeep. I’m not sure how large either toy is.

 
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Here’s a nice looking CJ-6 Fire Jeep

• CATEGORIES: CJ-6, Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles • TAGS: .

From this website: http://www.tarheeljeep.org/tarblog/thejeep.html

Here’s a less featured CJ-6

 
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Red CJ-3B from Canada (I think)

• CATEGORIES: CJ-3B, Features, International

This looks real nice.  I’m pretty sure those speakers in the back aren’t factory!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFvFWGNr2mE&feature=related

 
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1913 Harley Video out of Canada

• CATEGORIES: Features

HOG forwarded this.  I know very little about older bikes, so it was interesting to see how complex starting one of these old machines was.

 
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Gary Spends some Time in the Snow

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

While out playing in the snow, Gary took some shots to share with us.  Looks beautiful Gary!

 
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Forward Control Article at Militarytrader.com

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: Jesse pointed out to me that the militarytrader article is actually a condensed version of a 9 page FC article that appeared in the October, 2001, issue number 87 of Military Vehicles Magazines (which is related to militarytrader.com).  He also notes that Fred Williams, who’s FC is pictured below, has long since moved to California and works as an editor for 4 WHEEL & OFFROAD Magazine.  So, it appears the editors did a quick editing of the original article and decided not to add any updated links.

However, I still believe that the editors are amiss not to include the FC Connection link in the resources and to point out that this is a condensed version of an original article.  I believe their readers would benefit from this information.

Click on the image below to read the recent article:

 
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A Baier Flatfender Ashtray and Lighter Woods Cross, Ut **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $80.

Brett found this unusual (and perhaps commerative) lighter and ashtray.  I wanted to make sure and post this before it sold.  Note the red FC toy of some kind in the background as well.

“Interesting vintage WWII figural lighter. I believe it is a Willys Jeep pulling a small trailer that is the ashtray. I’m not sure if it’s made from steel or heavy cast aluminum. The tires are rubber and roll. The levers on the side, which look like door handles, make the lighter on the front of the hood pop up. On the top is a large medal that portrays the Berlin Blockade of the allied airlift of 1948-1949. The roof lifts up to reveal a compartment to hold cigarettes .. the short unfiltered type. Inside this compartment is the original paper label from the maker. W Baier ….. Ges. Gesch. The rest is in German, then US D 150078 patent pending. This Jeep is in very good condition, but there is a bit of oxidation on one side. The only piece missing is a small pole that would connect the trailer to the back of the Jeep. This Jeep is just one part of much larger collection. If you would like more information or pictures, feel free to contact me.”

 
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Builds: Ron nabs a Craigslist Find

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, Willys Trucks

A reader named Ron wrote me the other day.  He spotted a great deal on a restorable truck at a great price and now has a website with pics of the early work (I’ve included a couple pics below).  Click on the photogallery to see all the pics. Ron already has a 1971 CJ-5 and his son a 84 CJ-8;  you can see pics of those vehicles in the photogallery as well. Congrats on the find and good luck with the rebuild!

Ron writes, “We are in the middle of the off frame restoration of the 61 Willys. It was purchased new in 61 by a lady with a farm in Connecticut. She ordered it with a snow plow and a hydraulic dump bed. It only has 22,000 miles. I bought it from her grandson.”

Here’s the truck before restoration.  It looks like a good starting point.

Here’s a look at how the rear of the dump bed frame looks.

And here’s a closeup of the dump mechanism.

 
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Another Pic of the San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, Old Images, Willys Wagons • TAGS: .

From Craig’s (from thefcconnection) never ending collection of unusual Jeep images comes this rare shot of the San Juan Scenic Jeep Tour Wagon convertibles.  Jesse forwarded this image to me along with a snapshot of an uncompleted transformation of a Wagon the company had partly modified.  You can see the earlier San Juan post here.

Technically, it was Dave Beamis who was modifying the wagon.  He worked for San Juan Tours years ago.  Dave would go on to start Crystal River Tours and his son, Dave Beamis, started and runs Crystal River Lodge with his brother.

Jesse reports, “all of the Scenic and Crystal River Tours FCs and Wagon Jeeps were repowered while in service, because of the altitude and amount of weight of the passengers, they removed the flathead Hurricane 6 and replaced it with the Chevy 250 or 292 inline 6 engines, with an adapter.”

Here’s the picture from Craig:

From Jesse is the image of an in-progress convertible wagon.  Jesse notes, “this a picture of another wagon body that I bought. It was there, it was cut, but never hammer welded to be finished, Dennis said that when one was wrecked they would have extra bodies to replace on the running chassis. Notice this was on a 4×2 frame.”

 
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Pete Enjoys the Snow in his Wagon

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos

During out last snow storm, Pete got out in his wagon.  You can check out the video below (or visit his Old Willys Forum here).