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Tues. May 28th: Some Family History

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 24 – Mon. May 27th: Peter Debella Jeep Parts  | Trip Overview | Day 26 – Wed. May 29th: Exploring Mystic –>


I undiscovered some gems for my upcoming book on my family’s history.

Over Memorial Day Weekend we stayed  in Sea Cliff, New York, at the Guerci’s house. My relationship with the Guerci’s is another internet-sent miracle. The Guerci’s live in my great aunt Emma’s painting studio, one built on the former Eilers’ Estate.

A few years ago, Leslie contacted me and told me they were living there and were looking for a Emma Eilers‘ painting for their house. Mom and I gave them one for free that needed a little restoration work. Since then, we’ve built a very warm relationship and they have opened their home to Ann and I any time our weary traveling feet climb their stairs. Last weekend they welcomed Karson as well, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to explain some of the family history to him and show him the remaining family homes in the area. I never expected to have that opportunity.

After we said our goodbyes to Sea Cliff, we drove a short distance to Darien, CT, for a dose of family history from a man named George who married one of my father’s cousins.


Tuesday’s drive from Sea Cliff, New York. to Darien, CT.

I’d never met George and barely knew of him before we exchanged a few emails prior to our trip out here. I told him we were traveling east and he invited us to stay right away.


George Ratcliff and I

A former president of a reinsurance company, the eighty-five year old had plenty of interesting family stories from the ‘eastern Eilers’ clan, as well as pictures and information. One of the most fascinating tidbits of information was the reason behind my grandfather’s 1924 trip with his brother through Europe. His mother (my great grandmother) made him take his brother to Europe so that he wouldn’t marry the ‘wrong’ girl. That scheme didn’t work and the man returned from Europe to marry the ‘wrong’ girl anyway and have a happy long life with her.

George enjoyed painting for much of his life. He said that he couldn’t wait to retire so he could paint all the time. However, when he retired, he stopped painting altogether, something he never understood.

George told us about a house on Martha’s Vineyard he and his wife purchased (and later sold – then, it was torn down and replaced). He painted their island house and allowed us to take a picture of it. The painting is full of specific references to family members and life at the vineyard. You might recognize the house as the location used as ‘Brody’s house’ for the first Jaws movie.


George’s wife Jean Eilers passed away a few years ago. In a sweet gesture, he still kept her recipe holder on the counter that held a recipe she’d placed there before she died. The funny thing is, he never liked that particular recipe. He likened his marriage to baseball. Some batters walk up to the bases and strike out a few times. If they are lucky, they might hit a home run. With his wife, he walked up to the plate and hit a home run on the first pitch. With a batting average of 1000, he explained, he has no desire to step up to the plate again. Very romantic.

A little family history:

Below is the first page of an 1859 story that was originally written in French by my great great grandmother’s brother, Eugene Farny. In it he describes the Farny family’s move in 1959 (along with all their possessions, including horses and chickens) on a 30-foot raft from Tionesta, Pennsylvania, down the Allegheny River to Cincinnati. It was quite the journey!


Here’s a photo of my great grand parents, circa 1913, sitting at a desk. It may have been part of a photo shoot for their 50th wedding anniversary. I can’t think of another reason to create such a casual photo.



This photo of the family hiking in the Alps was likely taken in 1914, just prior to the start of the war. My family got stuck in Germany as WWI engulfed Europe.


My great grandfather Karl is far right. Next to him is my great grandmother Leonie. Their daughter Leonie is behind them, followed by their youngest son Farny and their oldest son, my grandfather, Fritz.

Another interesting piece of art was this painting by Emma Eilers showing Farny Eilers, my grandfather’s brother, riding a bike around his parents house (my great grandparents place). The house still stands in Sea Cliff.


Not the best photo of it, but it’s an unusual painting, as I believe it is one of only two paintings Emma did that included a male. She preferred painting landscapes and women.

We had a great time with George, as he was full of stories. On Wednesday, we drive to Rhode Island.

<– Day 24 – Mon. May 27th: Peter Debella Jeep Parts  | Trip Overview | Day 26 – Wed. May 29th: Exploring Mystic –>

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Factory Photo from Flickr

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

Marc spotted this great factory photo.



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Larry’s Jeep Dressed for Memorial Day

• CATEGORIES: Features

Larry dressed up his jeep for memorial day. He’s on the hunt for a MB, but until then you can see he’s having fun!

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Bantam BRC-40 Postcard

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards

Marc spotted this Bantam BRC-40 Postcard that sold on eBay.

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Sat. May 25th & Sun. May 26th: NYC & Family With Karson

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 21 – Fri. May 24th: Jeeps, Meats, and Beeps  | Trip Overview | Day 24 – Mon. May 27th: Peter Debella Jeep Parts –>


Karson, Ann, and I on the Long Island Train heading into the city.

SATURDAY MAY 25TH: On Saturday, went to Manhattan for the day, then drove to a relative’s place in Quogue. New York.


Our Saturday travels to Manhattan, then to Quogue.

First, we joined the rest of Manhattan and half of Connecticut when we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been almost exactly thirty years since I’d last seen the museum at age 17. I’m pretty sure in the past thirty years the museum has doubled in size. Well, that or my 47 year old legs are a little more tired than they should be. I guess that’s the downside of spending the last three months either traveling or writing. I look forward to getting back into shape when we return to Pasco.


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Mon. May 27th: Peter Debella Jeep Parts

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 22 & 23 – Sat. May 25th & Sun. May 26th: NYC & Family With Karson | Trip Overview | Day 25 – Tues. May 28th: Some Family History –>


Peter Debella and I at Peter Debella Jeep Parts in Riverhead, Long Island

On Monday we drove east on Long Island to Riverhead, New York.


Monday’s drive to visit Peter Debella in Riverhead.

On Monday we dropped off Karson at his ‘home’ (an Extended Stay Inn), exchanged good byes, and headed east to meet with Peter Debella in Riverhead, New York. Peter runs Peter Debella Jeep Parts. He invited Ann and I out to see some of the jeeps and parts he has.


This unlucky parts jeep got hit by a falling tree during a storm.

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GPA and GPW Photo

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

Marc spotted this nice photo.



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The Third Set of Pics — The Southwestern Utah 1961 Trip

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

UPDATE: This was originally posted March 28, 2011:

Here is the third set of pictures from Alan that show more of the Four Corners Trip in 1961.  You can see the first set here and the second set here.

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Fri. May 24th: Jeeps, Meats, and Beeps

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 20 – Thurs. May 23rd: And Then it Started Raining at the Worst Time | Trip Overview | Day 22 & 23 – Sat. May 25th & Sun. May 26th: NYC & Family With Karson –>


The new Great Willys Picnic Banner unfurled!

We started out the morning in Reading, PA. Our first objective was to meet Seth in Kempton. I felt bad about not being around for the Picnic, so meeting up with Seth was the next best thing.


On Friday we drove from Reading, Pennsylvania, to Sea Cliff, New York.

Seth’s place is hidden among some of the endless Pennsylvania hills. It’s east to see how much fun having a jeep would be for cruising all the quiet backgrounds in the area.


Another quiet Pennsylvania road.


This is one of many old barns in excellent condition set against a quaint backdrop.

By the time we arrived, Seth and his wife Heather were waiting for us at their house atop a windy hill. It’s a great vintage looking home that was built only ten years ago. Their son Levi wanted to join us, but had to go to school instead. I signed a poster and told him I’d try to get to the Picnic next year.

Seth volunteered to get his jeeps out of the shed (despite some drizzle) so we could photograph them. We didn’t have to push either of them! He’s got some additional jeeps in back that serve as parts vehicles. Seth also got a few neat signs on the walls.

Ann and I enjoyed their company very much and look forward to more time next year! Thanks for the coffee cake, too! Here are a few pics:


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Thurs. May 23rd: And Then it Started Raining at the Worst Time

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 19 – Wed. May 22nd: Old Cars and Chocolate Shots  | Trip Overview | Day 21 – Fri. May 24th: Jeeps, Meats, and Beeps –>


Henry performing ‘toppage’ on a Jeepster in a downpour . . .

Today we plan on visit Bill and Henry at Lime Street Carriage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


On Thursday we drove from Ronks, Pennsylvania, to Reading, Pennsylvania.

Ann and I awoke to a rainy morning in Ronks, PA. I’m not certain Ronks is a town, but it’s definitely a street. I do know for certain there’s a Waffle House off of Ronks street because we ate a midnight dinner there last night, because I wanted some grits: scrambled eggs, bacon and grits to be exact. Yeah, I know their butter is really hydrogenated oil coupled with other ingredients requiring a chemistry masters to decipher; I enjoyed my grits just the same.

Our goal today was Bill Reiss’ Lime Street Carriage in downtown Lancaster. Ronks is only a short drive away, so it didn’t take long for us to get there. When we arrived at Bill’s, he showed us around his current showroom of jeeps (and other vehicles) for sale. He explained that he’s in the middle of a renovation. His building was formerly a Studebaker dealership and other businesses. He laughed about the seven layers of carpet and three false ceilings he’s torn out of one area of the building. On the plus side, he was able to open up a great deal of space. Even though there’s plenty of work left, it’s easy to see how great the space will be when he’s done.


Here are Bill and I checking out a few of the jeeps in his shop. There are several 2As and a CJ-5 lined up there.


Here are twins Norm (on the left) and Norma. Norma is named Norma, because she’s prettier.


Bill has this vintage truck for sale.

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Jeep Mounted Potato Cannon

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

From the wacky world of jeep weaponry:



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Wed. May 22nd: Old Cars and Chocolate Shots

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

<– Day 18 – Tues. May 21st: Food and Jeep Rides | Trip Overview | Day 20 – Thurs. May 23rd: And Then it Started Raining at the Worst Time –>

On Wednesday we spent the day touring Hershey.


It’s not clear to me why the passenger sits so low in the Crosley.

We started out our morning in Hershey, Pennsylvania, by driving to the Antique Automobile Club of America’s museum (aka: AACA). It was Brian who first suggested we visit it. The museum is actually two museums, the AACA’s collection uses the upper two floors and the Museum of Bus Transportation is on the bottom floor.


The outside of the AACA Museum / Museum of Bus Transportation.


The Kissmobile was gone when we left the museum, so I was glad we stopped for a picture before we went inside.

The contrast between the two museums was interesting. The AACA’s exhibits are highly crafted. The volume of vehicles they show isn’t large, but each car is is placed within a context. Even the colors seemed coordinated with the backgrounds. Here are some pics of the AACA.



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Metcalf’s Travels

• CATEGORIES: Features

Matt alerted me to a man named “Metcalf” from Pirate 4×4 who is “documenting his 2000 mile round trip in his flatty. 1000 miles up, 4 days of wheeling, 1000 miles home”. Anyone willing to travel 1000 miles through Utah, Idaho, Montana and Colorado at a top speed of 53mph is a brave man indeed! Note the picture below. That’s the jeep outside Moab. I wish I’d thought of that!



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Inventor of the Jeep Camper Passed Away

• CATEGORIES: Features

Leo reports that the inventor of the Jeep Camper passed away in March. You can learn more here:



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CJ-3A with Snow Plow and Auburn Jeep-a-Trench Santa Rosa, CA

• CATEGORIES: CJ-3A, Features • TAGS: .

I was looking through some pictures related to this post and spotted this CJ-3A with a Jeep-a-Trench and snow plow in a wrecking yard in Santa Rosa, CA. I don’t know if it is for sale, but it might be. It’s no wonder the back tires are flat!


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Tues. May 21st: Food and Jeep Rides

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 17 – Mon. May 20th: Gettysburg and A Little Slice of Heaven  | Trip Overview | Day 19 – Wed. May 22nd: Old Cars and Chocolate Shots –>

TWO UPDATES From the original post:

  1. We will spend Wednesday in Hershey, PA. We have plans for Thursday in Lancaster and Friday morning in Kempton, PA. From there we will be driving to Long Island on Friday and meeting up with my son (unless they ship him out to Oklahoma). We’ll be staying in the Sea Cliff area through Tuesday morning and then driving up to Connecticut. I hope to have a map update in the next couple of days.
  2. On Wednesday morning I finished version one of the Amber Panels of Konigsberg book (YEAH!). I still need to build one graphic and dump the text into the formatted book template, but then I’ll be sending it to the publisher for printing. I plan to do a limited run of fifty books as a “Bantam Festival Special”. LIke the last book, I’m sure there are a few errors that people will find. Once I fix the text, I’ll open the book up for general sales (sometime in mid-July?).

On Tuesday we spent the day with Tom, then Merlin, then headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania.


Merlin and Ann driving in a 1941 MB down a forgotten Maryland road.


Tuesday’s drive from Gettysburg to Hershey

After we left Gettysburg on Tuesday, we drove a few miles east to Tom’s house to check out his Truck and Wagon. Tom’s 1948 truck is his daily driver. He’s added some disc brakes and a Ford 302, so it’s got some power and stopping speed. He also rebuilt the entire rear bed and it looks great!

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The wagon is a cheap beast he bought that his son now plays with. It’s got lots of rust issues, but runs good.

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1974 CJ-6 Salt Lake City, UT eBay

• CATEGORIES: CJ-6, Features • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE: This is back on eBay (thanks Steve).

(04/14/2013) This CJ-6 was originally purchased as a Tour Jeep for Ouray tours.

“This super rare, all original Jeep CJ6 with the factory 304. It is a great little Jeep with 41,000 original miles, I bought this gem back in ’09. I searched high and low for a CJ6 for years and was after 3 things, a rust free body, original V8 and one painted originally “Copper Poly” which is like a burnt orange, real cool color. You can see a lot of the Copper poly peaking through everywhere, The original paint is under the toolbox cover.

This Jeep has rich history, I bought it from where it lived its whole life, Ouray Colorado, the “The Jeep Capital of the World”. It was originally purchased as a Tour Jeep and used as part of the historic “San Juan Senic Jeep Tours” back in the 70s and 80s and remained there until I bought it, hence why the low miles, it never got far out of southern Colorado. For those who are not familiar, the “San Juan Senic Jeep Tours” was the first Jeep tour company in Ouray, established in 1946 and is still in operation today (see there website www.sanjuanjeeptours.com). You can see several original pictures of other Jeep tours back in the day in the book “JEEP” by David Fetherston.

As mentioned before, this Jeep is rust free. The body is completely original, rust free original floors, fenders and tub, only a very light haze of surface rust on the underside of the floors. The original windshield frame is rust free as well unlike most that have cancer developing. The undercarriage and floor supports are amazingly rust free. The floor supports are super solid, unlike all the other CJ6s I looked at. As mentioned before, the original paint is Copper poly code 526. The paint code is stamped on the cowl tag as seen in the picture. I bought an original 1974 Jeep brochure after I bought this Jeep that contains a picture of a CJ6 painted Copper poly. All the original stickers are still intact including the engine data sticker on the grille, the VIN sticker on the dash, the Warranty sticker on the dash, and bronze data tag on the dash (really cool looking).

The drivetrain is in excellent condition and all original numbers matching, the data tag on valve cover corresponds with the VIN sticker build date on the dash (see pic). The engine code 708h13 breaks down as 7~1974, 08~August, H~304 V8, 13~13th day of the month. You can verify all this information at www.planethoustonamx.com/main/amc_valve_cover_id.htm. The 8th digit in the VIN # contains is an H which designates that it originally came with the 304. It starts and runs perfectly, it has a lot of power and sounds good, it doesnt have any noises or lifter noise. It drives like a dream, it has power steering which is super nice.

This is a very rare CJ6, they only made 2826 in 1974 and less than 1/3 of them came with 304 V8s. Not to many left around and not to mention worth saving”

View all the information on ebay


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Mon. May 20th: Gettysburg and A Little Slice of Heaven

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 16 – Sun. May 19th: On the Road to Gettysburg | Trip Overview | Day 18 – Tues. May 21st: Food and Jeep Rides –>


Adam, Me and Frank inside the large shop that houses their collections.

On Monday we took full advantage of a lazy morning and didn’t leave the motel until the crack of noon. Our first stop was downtown Gettysburg, where we walked around a bit. I can’t imagine why Lincoln would be so popular around this town!

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2013-5-20-gettysburg-cool-shop-lores Soon, we were hungry, so we stopped at  Hunts Battlefield Fries and Cafe, a place just south of downtown known (according to the internet) for it’s fresh fries and good burgers.

True to our internet source’s information, the fries were good and there were a lot of them! Ann had a grilled ham/cheese/bacon sandwich that she enjoyed. I had a burger with a good bun and tasty meat. They put no extras on the burger . . . maybe I was supposed to ask for them? It was good anyway.

After lunch we drove to the Gettysburg Battlefield National Park Visitor’s Center. It’s a beautiful new structure. While the surrounding park is free, the museum, the cyclorama and the movie at the visitor’s center costs money. We tried all three and liked the movie the best. After the movie we were whisked upstairs to see the cyclorama. We wished they’d explained what a cyclorama was and underscored how old the cyclorama’s painting was before the show began rather than at the end.


The museum had several groups of school kids completing assignments, so we moved through it rather quickly. It didn’t hit us until near the end of the museum that the different areas of the museum represented each day of the Gettysburg battle. I think it would have been useful to have a sense of nightfall and sunrise as people pass from Day 1 to Day 2 and Day 2 to Day 3.

With the visitor’s center complete, we did a quick tour of the surrounding area:

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After touring the park, we headed over to visit Frank at his home, just a few miles north of Gettysburg. Frank had explained that he had some jeeps for us to see.

Entrusting our visit to Siri (iPhone), I asked her to get me directions to Frank’s house. All was going well until we turned into Frank’s long driveway. At that point, Siri warned us to park the vehicle and walk. Ann and I turned to each other and started cracking up. Apparently, Siri was concerned about our well-being and felt we were too far off the road. We were convinced Siri would start yelling “Danger, Danger” and start assimilating us to force us to turnaround. Eventually, I had enough of Siri’s warnings and shut her down.

We finally found Frank and his son Adam at their shop where they keep their collections. As Ann and I marveled at the beauty of the shop, the surrounding barns, and the rolling landscape, Frank explained that he owned three hundred acres of land. He called it a slice of heaven. We could not argue with that description.

Frank and Adam gave us a tour. As you can see in the pictures, they’ve assembled some great stuff. There jeep collection includes a few original paintings, five military jeeps, toys, models, and a CJ-2A they are restoring. They enjoyed sharing their collection with us and we felt honored to be invited. Here are a few photos.

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1949 Coleman Iron Ad

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

Blaine spotted this ad for an iron that included a jeep. He found it in a 1949 Salesman’s packet.


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RC Model Jeep Maple Hills, WA $450

• CATEGORIES: Features, Models

This is a great looking model FC. This young kid knows his flat fender racing jeeps.

“Deciding to sell my scratch built flat fender build because I need money for college. Just finished the build not to long ago and really hate to see it go. Body is 100% custom built out of sheet steel and welded together. Custom made square drive shafts, along with frame rails, roll cage, etc. Countless hours have been put into building the jeep and it definitely shows. Electronics are pretty basic, running xl-5 esc, traxxas transmitter/receiver, hitech servo, and integy 55t motor. Jeep comes completely RTR besides battery and charger. Call or text at (425) 941-4605”




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Jeep Sign Portland, OR $100

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

Vintage or reproduction?

“JEEP SIgn 30″x40″ Mike 503-312-7897”



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Sun. May 19th: On the Road to Gettysburg

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 15 – Sat. May 18th: At the Reunion; A Brick Shy of a Full Load  | Trip Overview | Day 17 – Mon. May 20th: Gettysburg and A Little Slice of Heaven –>

On Sunday, we didn’t participate in the ritual Sunday drive through Cuyahoga National Park. Instead, we headed for Gettysburg. However, I was able to get a few pics from the ride:

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As folks toured in their jeeps, we exited Hudson, Ohio.


Sunday’s drive from Hudson, Ohio, to Gettysburg.

As we wound our way through Pennsylvania to Gettysburg, the toll roads lightened our wallets to the point we were considering taking out a bank loan. In addition, we encountered clouds that were as thick as fog as we traversed a few tall hills. Isn’t it summer yet?

Finally, it seems the only photo we took all day was a blurry photo a barn. On the bright side, we got a killer deal of $51/night at a Marriott hotel using Priceline, so we plan to stay two nights in Gettysburg.

Tomorrow we will see the Gettysburg battlefield and museum.

<– Day 15 – Sat. May 18th: At the Reunion; A Brick Shy of a Full Load  | Trip Overview | Day 17 – Mon. May 20th: Gettysburg and A Little Slice of Heaven –>

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Sat. May 18th: At the Reunion; A Brick Shy of a Full Load

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 14 – Fri. May 17th: Day 1 of the Midwest Willys Reunion | Trip Overview | Day 16 – Sun. May 19th: On the Road to Gettysburg –>

Today was another gorgeous, warm, sunny day here in Hudson. The day ended with an honor that caught me by surprise.


L-to-R: Bob Chrisy, Sebastian Logo-Guerrero, and Me.

Today was another gorgeous, warm, sunny day here in Hudson. More jeeps and people rolled in to make the day even better than yesterday. The most difficult thing about today was finding the time to talk with visitors looking at jeeps in the parking lot and having the time to see the presentations on the inside of the hotel. Here are a few photos of people I met:

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In the end I only had a chance to attend MD Juan’s presentation, which was very interesting. They discussed the challenges the company has faced trying to perfect vintage Willys bodies so that they properly fit the different models (MB/GPW/2A/3A etc).

CEO Rommel Juan noted that the company’s increasing use of the jeep forums combined with access to original bodies has allowed them to tune the bodies and close in on the original specs.


R to L: Bob Christy with Rommel Juan, CEO of MD Juan, and one of his officer’s whose name I don’t have at the moment.

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Fri. May 17th: Day 1 of the Midwest Willys Reunion

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 12 & 13 – Wed. May 15th & Thurs. May 16th: Mixers, Foodies & Heavy Equipment   | Trip Overview | Day 15 – Sat. May 18th: At the Reunion; A Brick Shy of a Full Load –>


Friday morning we awoke in Hudson, Ohio, a short distance away from the reunion, to a beautiful sunny day. I spent the morning honing Saturday’s presentation. I will be sharing with the audience (assuming more than just Ann shows up) why I run eWillys, how I do it, the challenges, and what the future holds.

On Friday afternoon we made our way to the Clarion Hotel where the 2013 Midwest Willys Reunion is being held. After a quick practice run through the presentation with the slide projector, Ann and I went out to look at all the jeeps.

It seemed every few steps we took someone approached us to share how much they enjoyed eWillys. It’s great to know the site is enjoyed by so many enthusiastic readers and it was fun putting names to faces and shaking hands.

As you can see from the pictures, there were plenty of jeeps to browse today. More are expected tomorrow.

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1946 Quaker Oats Postcard on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features, Postcards

Here’s an unusual postcard from Quaker Oats. The riders in the jeep are Terry and the Pirates by Milton Caniff.

“1946 government postal card postally used. Some corner wear. Slight bends at lower corners. Hard to find.”

View all the information on ebay