Features Research Archives

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Paddle Tires and the Art of Introspection

• CATEGORIES: Features

My mother tells me the month of July in Seattle is on pace to be one of the coolest on record. Fortunately, I didn’t move here for the heat!  And as I took a relaxing walk this morning (sunday) dodging tourists through bustling Pike Place Market, with new female friend in tow, to the Seattle Art Museum in the drizzle that defines Seattle, I rather relished it.  I relished the cool rainy July day, weather I ran away from back in June of 1992 as fast as the moving van would travel on a journey that seems otherworldly at this point.

So, 19 years later, here I was walking only a few blocks from the very spot from which I moved, an apartment at the base of Queen Anne hill in downtown.  As I walked down 1st Ave towards the SAM, I realized I’m older, yes;  I’m grayer, slighly; I’m richer, financially no, experientially yes; I’m wiser, maybe; more introspective, absolutely! I sold my jeep to finance the move so long ago and arrived back with a nicer one; maybe that was worth the entire adventure?

I guess I can’t help but be introspective at this time.  A heady move followed by a delightful time with my kids, which after their summer stays, I’m always simultaneously proud at who they have become and disappointed that their time with me is up for another summer.

And, of course, there was the added element of my father, whose dignity we fight to preserve as time weighs heavily on his formerly stout constitution.  The truth is dad is a little south of odd for the kids to recognize, as they really did not know him the way I did. I wanted to show the kids he is facing his mortality head on, despite infirmities and incontinence, and fighting for his end goal, to live to the age of 80.  Will he make it?  If he has any say about it, he will.

During all these events eWillys has suffered a bit, as time demands bit into my updates. Whenever that happens, I wonder if I have run out of time and energy to keep running the site.  And it always seems that when I start feeling that way, when I think there are better things (money making things) I could do with my time, some far flung reader I have never heard from sends me an email.  In this case, the reader’s name was Joe who hails from the Nashville area.

He writes, “Ewillys has refueled my passion for old flatfenders. I never knew much about them growing up, other than I wanted one and they were cool as all get out in all the old black and white war movies. I have wanted one ever since I was a kid. Two years ago I finally got a 46 cj2a. I traded a Harley for it, straight up. Figured both were about 3000.

I put 2000 miles on it in the first year and I am currently replacing the motor and catching up on some long over due maintenance. I will send a pic or two.  I took my mom for a ride in it last winter through the snow and it was 21 degrees out side, no heater. I have created a monster of her now. This past November she called me and told me that she wanted an “old” jeep. I figured a cj5 or 7 so she could get around, go fishing, and wat knot. She said “I want one like yours!” She wanted a flatty! After searching all over the craigslist and ewillys we finally found her a beautiful 48 cj3a in GA. She drives it everywhere! I will send you pics of it as well. Now my son is 5 and I have created a jeep nut of him as well.

I bought a parts 2a and it ended up having a title. So my son and I have tinkered with it and after getting his little hands greasy he’s hooked. He can see the corner of a hood behind something and he will shout, “JEEP DADDY!” He is also convinced that they don’t make “real” jeeps anymore and he loves cj’s. We plan on building from the ground up(with a lot of help) the parts 2a into a daily driver. When he turns 16 I am going to sign it over to him.

My father and I never had a project like this and its been great and created an even larger bond with my son. He will sit with me in the recliner and look through eWillys and give me full commentary on all the jeeps. My father is now retired and has run out of projects around his house……until now. We have dissasembled my 2a and replaced the motor and are working on the body. My family is now 3 generations deep in jeep and I hope it continues. So a BIG THANK YOU for ewillys! I hope there is many more years of it.”

I shared that letter with my kids and they thought it was pretty cool.  So did mom.  She wonders less and less why spend time on the site.  A few letters like that and she is a 100% backer.

Karson, my oldest, also informed me near the end of his stay that he’d like to have a jeep to drive around here.  With the perfect warm weather we had at the beginning of the month coupled with the hills and valleys of Renton’s East Hill, he finally got it.  He understood why I thought it was so fun to drive a jeep around here, even on the roads.

To be honest, it was funner to drive here than in Boise.  I was having a blast driving the kids on the roads I had grown up driving.  While driving,  I tortured my kids and their cousins with the history of my old jeep and where I had driven around the area.  “Oh, here is where I did such and such” and “this is where I got stuck” and even the rolling of their eyes at the sound of my history-lesson voice did little to dissuade my lesson. I was having too much fun.

So after all of this introspection, with the kids gone and my life sort of re-orienting to normal, with Joe’s passionate call for another few years of eWillys, updates will commence on a more regular schedule starting tomorrow.

Well, at least until early September when I hope to get to New York to spend one to two weeks doing research in NYC and Yale on a family project.  I will finalize that schedule this week, which will include several jeep specific stops that I know will interest readers.

Until tomorrow’s updates, I am happy to report, for the record, that four paddle tires will fit inside a BMW 540i.  Matt, who specializes in early Dana axles rebuilds (if you are near the Boise area and need axle or drive train work done, drop me a note; Matt has about 18 years of drive train experience.) sold me this set at a great price.  Since I only need two, if anyone has an interest in the other two, drop me a note.  The tires will hold air, but they really should have some inner tubes put into them.  Thanks Matt!

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My Newish Kayline Top!

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features

Good news, for the next two days you can admire my new top!  That’s because I will probably not do any updates until then.  I had hope to get some updates out, but it has gotten to late and I have to get up early for a very long drive to Boise and back tomorrow.

It is a Kayline canvas — yes not vinyl — top that I bought for $200!!!  It is in beautiful condition, having sat unused for nearly 10 years. I am very pleased.  I bought it from Daryl, who is a full time firefighter and part time jeep nut in the Bonney Lake area of Washington and whom repairs flatties.  If you need any work done and are near him, let me know and I will forward his number to you.

He was also kind enough to give me and my son Karson a tour of his jeep collection, which includes a recently purchased FC-170 and a jeep truck converted to a tow truck.  So I want to send a big thanks to him!

Here is the top draped on the jeep. Of course, the rear seat and spare tire unbolts and will be removed when the top is mounted; I have an alternative mounting bracket to mount the spare inside the back area when a top is installed.  I am pleased that the contrast in colors doesn’t look too bad (he was selling it cheap because few people want that color).

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Mail Jeep JeepRod

• CATEGORIES: DJ-5 & DJ-6, Features, Jeep Rods, Unusual • TAGS: .

I spotted this on the internet.  I don’t know whose it is or where it is located.

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A Retired CJ-5

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Features, Last Ride

I’ve seen Willys treated worse.  This image comes from Tumblr.

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Motorcyle Jumps a Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features

Gerald spotted this great image on tumblr.

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Some Pasture Jeeping

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features

The weather has been perfect for driving in the jeep.  So, the boys and I have been cruising around Renton.  I have to say it’s a bit surreal to be driving along both the backroads and city roads in Biscuit, many of which I last drove 25 years ago in my last jeep.  No doubt my kids are tired of me saying things like, “I remember when ….” at which I go into some tale from my youth.

Yesterday I put the jeep into the horse pasture, or at least what was the horse pasture and is now an area full of grass, trees and bushes.  Karson got to explore a bit in the jeep, testing out the 4wd and learning to dodge trees.  He seemed to be having fun.  Here are a few pics.


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4th of July the FC Way

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

UPDATE: Check out the pics on thefcconnection site.

Steve reports on the Ouray 4th of July Festival.  Learn more at the Forward Forum.  See all the pictures here.

“Here is Craig and Jason’s big day in Ouray (You-ray), Colorado.  It’s the mountain town’s signature event of the year, The Fourth Of July.  They asked Craig to bring his restored San Juan Mountain Tour Truck to join in their parade.

Jason found one of the other original tour Jeep Forward Control trucks and surprised them with twins.  He just finished the restoration just last week and headed strait for Ouray.  Jason’s truck has the yellow signs that say, “Think.”

This links you to the Town’s website describing their 4th of July Festivities. Here are photos of the Two coolest FC trucks ever restored joining their parade.  The red FC trucks came from the states of Missouri and Texas to join the reunion in Colorado.  They even went on a trail ride across the old routes where the trucks carried tourists through the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado.  What a cool experience; I wish I could have been there.”

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Another ’42 GPW Scam

• CATEGORIES: Features, GPW (Ford MB) • TAGS: .

This is the newest GPW scam on Craigslist.  There were a variety of ads for this jeep appearing across the US. I have flagged the ones I found.

See an example of the full ad here.

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4th of July Parade Jeeps

• CATEGORIES: Features

Doug sent me this a few days ago.  I had wanted to post it earlier, but kids, feeding kids, playing games with kids, and putting kids to work, has meant my updates have been a bit sketchy.

So, here’s a tribute to his year’s 4th of July celebrations.

Doug writes, “these flat fenders were all part of a 4th of July parade in a small Northern California cabin community. Far left is a my 48 cj2a, center is a 53 cj3a, right is a nicely resstored 46 vec cj2a with a few updated parts. All are pretty stock and daily drivers in the mountains of Northern California.”

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Still Getting Organized . . .

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features

I guess the pic says it all.  Biscuit got plenty of looks as I cruised northward from Boise. I’m still catching up on both emails and postings and it will probably still take a couple of days to get back into the swing of things.

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Classic 1960s Rubicon Video

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images Jeeping, videos

While following yesterday’s video link related to roll overs, Brett managed uncover this gem.  Nice work!

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Wisconsin Jeep Owners Group

• CATEGORIES: Features

I spotted this ‘group wanted’ ad.

“Wisconsin Jeep Owners Group… We are looking to start an owners group where we can share pictures/videos, information, parts, etc. If interested, check out wjog.blogspot.com.”


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Glass Willys Candy Dish

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

My darling daughter (who is eyeing every word I type as I post this) surprised me with this cool glass Candy Dish for Father’s Day.  It doesn’t hold much candy, but I don’t eat much candy, so it all works out!  Thanks Kasia!!

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Builds: Bill’s Wagon

• CATEGORIES: Features, Willys Wagons • TAGS: .

Bill forwarded some pics of his beautiful Wagon build.  I thought it was a stock rig until I saw the drag image.

This is my 1947 2WD Jeep wagon that I fixed up. It’s kida a wolf in sheep’s clothing. With the right wheels it looks kinda stockish. It is powered by a 540 BBC motor with a trubo 350 trans and a Dana 44 rear diff with a 4.10 gear and a True Trac. I have upgraded to a Rac steering and disc brakes.  It has a stock front suspension, so that’s why it looks so funny leaveing the line when I drag race. It runs low 11′ second in the quarter mile. It is driven as much as I can, and even take it out for a spin every Christmas. I do live about the 49th parallel.

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Custom Built Scale Model Wooden Toys

• CATEGORIES: Features, toys

Kevin shared the following with me.  The toys appear nicely built.

“I met a retired Army Vet ( Deep Sea Diver ) who makes replica wooden toys to scale. Anyone of your readers who might be interested in having their ride duplicated give him a call…. Paul Barnes 770-967-6433    paul2213@bellsouth.net.  Below are some samples.

1. M-38 & Trailer:


2. Deuce and a Half (without top on it yet)


3. John Deere Tractor:


4. Tank:


5. Articulating Tractor:


6. Motorcycle:



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Chris enters his first PNW Race

• CATEGORIES: Features, Racing • TAGS: .

Now, you probably think I run eWillys because of all the money, fame, babes and glory I receive.  Not true!  Instead, it is a story like this one that makes the work worthwhile.  Nearly two years ago I started swapping emails with 15 year old Chris Ruhnau.  He had a mostly stock 1947 CJ-2A and was having problems with some wiring issues.  We worked through those issues, brake issues, battery issues,  and even a girl issue.  Last summer he spotted a CJ-2A just down the road from him, with a full cage and more for only $1000. He couldn’t resist, so at age 16, he was the proud owner of two jeeps.  Clearly, he suffered from a case of Willys Sickness.

Over the past winter he spent time working on his jeep and going to high school.  This summer, he got everything finished and found his way to his very first PNW event.   As you will read, he had a great time.  Nice work on the jeep Chris and keep on racing!

Dave!!! You’ll never believe this! I raced my jeep today! The PNW4WDA put on a race in Ethel, Wa.  I raced twice in the obstacle course! It was so much fun. I’ve never had so much fun! In both races I got the same time… 1.61. It was really hard though because it was really soupy. I only had 2 problems, my fan wire shorted out and then my battery died, but those are minor and i still had tons of fun. everyone was coming up to me when I was sitting in line and asking about the jeep and saying it was nice. I felt pretty good about that. A guy i know that races said that he’s going to let me take my jeep to his shop and we’re going to fix my steering and he’s going to give me some brand new rancho shocks so that my fenders and battery box wont rub on the tire so much. The guy that used to be the leader of PNW4WDA asked for my email, too, to let me know when the events schedule so I can race a lot this summer!

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South Side Garage in Littlefield, Tx

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Steve spotted a reference to this Jeep Garage over at Willys TechThe South Side Garage was started by Earl Dow.  There’s a nice bit written by his son:

I grew up in my dad’s shop drinking 5 cent cokes, eating watermelons the farmers brought by in the summer time, and watching my dad turn old jeeps into things of pure wonder. This site and it’s photos represent him, that shop, and the experience and hardware accumulated over those long years. The shop is not a museum. It’s an old-fashioned mechanic’s workplace where things are meticulously organized by piles. But, they are piles known by heart by my dad, and which contain parts that are often hard to find for those restorers working on their favorite Jeep. If you have come here looking for that one part that will help you get the Jeep restored or your more recent model repaired, maybe we can do you some good.

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Cherokees Don’t Make Good River Boats

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos

Brian forwarded this. Wait for the Jeep Cherokee and watch it float the river, or not float it. So, here is the question, you have a camera and someone you know is experiencing an emergency. Do you keep filming?

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Vintage Ad Browser

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Comics, Features

Roberto spotted this interesting Ad Browser site.  You can check out a variety of Jeep/Willys ads by clicking here.

According to the website, “Vintage Ad Browser was created in 2009/2010 and released in 2010, by Philipp Lenssen from Germany, currently living in China. This site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-Roms, websites, APIs, your submissions, book, magazine & comic book scans, and more. At the moment, this site contains 123,311 ads. Vintage Ad Browser has a sister site called Cover Browser, started in 2006 – please have a look.”

Here are a couple unusual ads:

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M-38 From Flickr

• CATEGORIES: Features, M-38

Here’s a cool shot of a M-38 off Flickr by Turbo-Weasel.  There are others as well.  Click on this link to see them all.

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Dan’s retreads from TDS

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, Tires and Rims

Dan forwarded me some pics of his new tires from TDS. He notes these are particularly appropriate for this jeep, because all his grandfather bought for it were retreads.  Dan did note how surprised he was at how difficult finding retreads was, especially since they are supposed to be so environmentally friendly.

“Here is my jeep with five new re-tread tires. I cleaned and painted the wheels too. The tires are 215/85R16 all terrain by TDS in Spokane. That was about the smallest radial I could find and the widest tire that would fit on the old 16×4.5 rims. My only other option was to go with a bias-ply and tubes. I saved about $340 by going with re-treads vs the cost of new. I think that they are the perfect height and width for what I was wanting.”

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Lots of Jeeps and Parts Henderson, CO **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, CJ-3A, Features, GPW (Ford MB), MB, Unusual

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $20,000.

The white jeep in the lower left appears to be a VEC CJ-2A.

“this is a huge lot of old willys jeeps i think i have 3 military and 4 civilian and 8 to 10 pallets of parts please call me if you have any questions. this WILL!!!!! be sold as one lot. i WILL NOT seperate any of it”

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Great Willys Picnic this Sunday at Lansford, Pa

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Don’t forget that the Great Willys Picnic is this Sunday. Here are some pics from 2010’s picnic courtesy of Sellajeep.com.  You can also see some at the CJ-3A.info site.  Also, the original Nelly Belle will be there this year, too.

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Summer in Alaska

• CATEGORIES: Features

Paul reports that summer in Alaska has arrived, with temperatures reaching the blazing heat of the low 50s.  He tells me that the sun doesn’t set until 11:30 pm and sunrise is slightly before 4:30 am giving them 19 hours of daylight and five hours of twilight. While summer isn’t long, it sure is beautiful, as seen in Paul’s picture below.

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How About a Lift?

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Alex spotted this pic.
Manchester (vicinity), Tennessee. Soldiers of headquarters company of the Armored Corps lifting a jeep to repair it at their bivouac area during Second Army maneuvers. Left to right: Private William Lowe, Captain Frank Yung, Private Sam Salen, and Private J.J. Nay. Reproduction Number: LC-USW33-027840-ZC.