Features Research Archives

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Erik’s MB

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: .

Nineteen Year Old Erik and I have been tossing a few emails back and forth over the past two days.  He’s another one of these young kids who has found time to rebuild multiple jeeps.  He shares his story and his jeep below:

Erik writes, “I started getting interested in restoring jeeps when my neighbor got a 43 MB and convinced me to start WW2 Reenacting. I decided that I wanted to get one too and began saving to buy one, This led me to your site were I spent almost every day looking for just the right one. As I was only 17 at the time I didn’t have much of a budget to start with so I wanted to get one that wouldn’t need too much work. I ended up finding one in california and had it shipped here. When I got it I realized that the pictures didn’t reveal how much work would actually go into it.

I began going to reenactments after I got the jeep (It wasn’t restored yet so I couldn’t bring it) and saw that the majority of reenactors who had jeeps did a work as you go kind of thing, Which caused them to not look very good. This made me decide that I would do a complete frame up restoration of mine.

It took me a year to get the jeep torn down, The frame sandblasted, I Rebuilt the engine, Transmission, transfercase, and did some bodywork to the Hood, Fenders, and grill. The body ended up being replaced as I don’t have the tools to do that.  It was then rebuilt, Painted the correct OD green for the time and theater of war. I ended up making the stencils by hand and painted them onto the body.

I was able to bring it to the first Reenactment in October 2011. It was an airshow in Midland TX (I live in Houston). It was there that I was asked by a fellow reenactor to help restore his GPW. He had all of the parts he needed already purchased so it was a pretty fast restore (took around 4 months) with his help. I am now working on a 43 MB for a friend.

More photos of the jeep and My reenacting unit (Able company, 502nd PIR, 101st Airborne) at our facebook site (https://www.facebook.com/#!/ablecompany502pir)”

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World’s Largest Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, International, Unusual

UPDATE:  Mark pointed out that Jalopnik has updated the pictures shown below with background information about how why the “Chuck Norris of the Middle East” built the world’s biggest jeep.  

Here is the newest link with the full story: http://jalopnik.com/5509865/middle+eastern-chuck-norris-builds-worlds-largest-jeep

(Originally Published 04/10/2010) Thanks to Rich for finding this information on JalopnikWe saw an early pic regarding this jeep, but here’s the final product.  Note the other large 4x4s as well. Ahhhh, the life of a sheik .. so much money, so little time!

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Builds: Claus’ Brother’s CJ-2A

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features


As promised yesterday, here are images of Claus’ Brother’s CJ-2A. Really great work!!

Claus writes, “I also promised you my brother’s nut and bolt restoration of his late 1947 CJ2a. Both of us are very fond of these vehicles – a passion that developed from a simple photograph of a CJ2a that my grandfather had on his farm in the early 1950’s (Photo attached). As we grew older our quest started and we both started searching to only find the right vehicle some 12 years later.

Parts are always a problem as they are not readily available in South Africa. The majority of parts are refurbished originals – although 60 years old, these are usually still more durable than any reproduction parts you can buy these days. When we didn’t have the right parts, we were always very happy to order from Walck’s in the US.

I am not going to give a description of the restoration – I believe the pictures speak for themselves. Perhaps it must just be mentioned that he is a bit of a perfectionist. As you look at the chassis note the nickel plated parts ….“bling” … they were purposely not painted. All elements that could get damaged by brake fluid or a wrench have been plated. The only other thing that is not quite standard is the positioning of the spare wheel. He liked the view of a complete wheel arch and the thought of a wheel’s weight on the body was a bit daunting to him, hence he opted for a M38 style spare wheel mount. He has gone through great efforts to save the body – again body parts are not available and having to ship these to Africa would have cost a fortune. So this is the best he could do with the limited access to parts.”

Below is the front housing assemply:

Here’s the rear assembly:

Here’s the chassis assembled:

Here’s a closeup of the front assembled:

See many more pics here by clicking the link below ….

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Builds: Claus Rebuilds a CJ-2A in South Africa

• CATEGORIES: Builds, CJ-2A, Features


Claus contacted me a little while back telling me he was from South Africa and asking if I’d be interested in seeing and sharing some pics of a CJ-2A he rebuilt.  Absolutely, I responded.  So, yesterday I received pics and a story of both his jeep and his brother’s jeep, which you can see here.  Thanks for sharing Claus!

Claus writes, “Its winter in the southern hemisphere and unfortunately this means wet weather for us folks in the Western Cape Area of South Africa. Sunny days are few in this time of year and I/we don’t plan many trips. It must be said that the nicest days are however also during the winter months – not too hot and no wind. All very positive aspects if you are day tripping with the old vehicles.

So now for the jeeps – There are not many flat fenders left in this part of the world – quite a few numbers of CJ2a were imported during the 1946-1949 for the purpose of farming. South Africa was also one of very few countries that ordered CJ2a’s in 1948 as Military vehicles. At that time the Union Defense Force (UDF) ordered 289 units, and these came in fact all standard from the factory in olive drap. Not many survived as they had to work hard on the farms or in service. Some that did continue to “exist” where built up as challenge vehicles and so the numbers decreased drastically. To date limited numbers are on the road – we don’t really have a vintage “jeep” club in the country so it is hard to tell how many are actually “alive”. It has however emerged that many people start to convert back to the original spec CJ’s which is nice.

I consider myself very lucky and after about 12 years of intensive searching, both here in South Africa as well as my home country Namibia, found a beautiful 1948 CJ2a in very good condition on a nearby farm. The Jeep stood for about 20 years on bricks in the owners shed so it has worked only for about 2/3 of its life and those must have been gentle years, because everything was still in very good condition. To top it all it had a complete PTO and monarch governor installed. The pto is currently off so I can restore it. I was also very fortunate to pick up a set of early WARN freewheel hubs (seen on the later pictures) So that in short is the story of my CJ2a. Attached are photos for reference.

Photo1: My Jeep when purchased

Photo2: My Jeep during a short day trip on a nice summer day in the Swartland district. (It just fits so perfectly into the landscape – water reservoir and windmill)

Photo3: My Jeep with new 10 piece canvas top ordered from New Life Canvas in USA

Photo4: My Jeep with original half cab installed

Photo5: My Jeep with new Half cab top installed

Photo6: My Jeep surf’ near Camps Bay

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Fire Jeeps out of the Netherlands

• CATEGORIES: CJ-3A, Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, International, Old Images • TAGS: .


I was trying to locate some more interesting willys-related museums, but instead stumbled across the atlantic, landing in the Netherlands (back in time no less).  The result were these 2 great images of old Fire Jeeps with extended rears and wonderful details.  There are a few more smaller images of these jeeps at the Netherland focused website Brandweerforum.  They have some other non-jeep firetrucks there as well.

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Elizabeth Taylor on a CJ-2A

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images


(NOTE: The link I had for this picture no longer works, but it was a part of the Getty Images)

I’m not sure if I’ve seen this before or not, but I don’t really care; that CJ-2A makes Elizabeth Taylor look mighty fine … or maybe it is the other way around.

A teenaged Elizabeth Taylor paints while sitting on the hood of a jeep in California, 1947. (KM Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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More Jeep Pics from Life Magazine

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


There’s many more jeeps pics at the Life Magazine Photo Website.

Here’s how the Navy transported their rowing shell.


An MB or GPW pushing a Midget car to start it


An early CJ-2A and a post hole digger


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A US Postal Willys Wagon image from the Smithsonian


I didn’t know they made Willys postal right hand drive wagons!  The Smithsonian’s Postal Museum Exhibit has some great images of early original vehicles used to deliver mail.

From the website, “In August 1953, the first postal jeeps rolled off the Willys Motors assembly line. The model, the first U.S. car in three decades to have right-hand drive, was soon being tested on postal routes around the country.

Carriers used these right-hand drive vehicles to save delivery time on their routes. They were able to more easily reach the mailbox without having to park and go around their cars, or reach over the passenger’s seat to deliver the mail.”

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Builds — Edmund Angelus Automotive

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


Matt’s provided us with a couple of projects completed by Edmund Angelus Automotive.  If you are near Roanoke, Virginia and are looking for someone to handle your rebuilds, you might consider them as they have rebuilt a couple of beauties.  Thanks for sharing Matt!  You can contact Matt at 540-354-4321.

Matt writes:  “Welcome to Edmund Angelus Automotive. Located at the foot of Bent Mountain in Roanoke Virginia. I do restorations and all kinds of custom work,heck I will paint a refridgerator if pays my rate of $38.00hr. The yellow jeep is a restoration w/a body kit installed. The Green CJ-3a is the second for the same customer, it also is a off-frame restoration with the original and complete make over with nearly 900hrs, the christmas jeep as it is called by the customers two little twin boys. These are taking an average of 18 to 20 weeks to do. I am currently doing B.J.#102, It is ’46 Willys Boyer Fire Jeep w/out the fire equipment. It found its way to me in literaly pieces and in lots of boxes. Now in week 19 I am acctually able to get in it fire it up and take it around the patch.”

Here’s a variety of pics related to these builds:


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Mannerspielplatz: Outdoor Adventures

• CATEGORIES: Features, News

2006_06_01_actionpark_planFEATURED IN JANUARY, 2009

So, you wanna shoot guns, dig with backhoes, race a suzuki, work a jackhammer, and drive a dozer all in one day?  Where do you go?  How about a Disneyland for Dudes?

The most recent edition of Wired Magazine ran a very interesting article about the Mannerspielplatz, which I roughly translate as a “play place for men” (I knew those 3 years of highschool german would come in handy someday).  I went to the Mannerspielplatz, but even my rudimentary German isn’t quite enough to translate all the things you can do at this unique German park.

However, it did get me thinking — could you pull off something similar in the U.S.?  Of course, the version in my head has an jeep/4×4 focus, but adding some big machinery along with some old automobiles, a tank or some other cool stuff might really be fun.  Frankly, there’s all kinds of vehicles I always wanted to drive but never have had the chance.  If the insurance and liability issues could be successfully negotiated, which I’m sure they could, then this could be a really cool idea.

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Around the World in a SEEP called Half Safe

• CATEGORIES: Books, Builds, Features, GPA (SEEP), Unusual • TAGS: .

half_safe_9FEATURED IN MAY 2009

The next time you are in Perth, Australia, make sure you stop by and see Ben Carlin’s SEEP named Half Safe.  Ben Carlin and his wife navigated their SEEP around the world back in the 1950s.  I found two website’s that chronicle the adventure:  David Brooks shows pictures along with the story and Leisure Wheels has a large article with a single pic.  Below is the beginning of the story and below that are a few pictures.  Ben Carlin also wrote two books about his adventure “Half Safe” and later ““The Other Half of Half-Safe”.

half_safe_8FROM DAVID BROOKS WEBSITE:  “Ben Carlin (1912 – 1981) was born and attended school in Western Australia. While awaiting demobilisation after service in India in World War II, Ben noticed a US amphibious jeep among other war debris, and remarked “You know, Mac, with a bit of titivation you could go around the world in one of these things”. For some never-explained reason, Ben was not certified insane on the spot, and eventually fulfilled his dream ….”


Half Safe Pages

SEEP Pages:

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Aerial Jeep from Life Magazine

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Unusual • TAGS: , .


UPDATE:  I found a long discussion, details and the pic below at this website:

From this website, vectorsite.net, I’ll put some of the content just to make sure it isn’t lost.


“The AirGeep was first flown on 12 October 1958. Apparently it proved grossly underpowered, barely able to fly over a fence, and it was sent back to the shop, where the piston engines were replaced by a single 317 kW (425 HP) Turbomeca Artouste IIB turbine engine. The upgraded AirGeep flew in late June 1959. It weighed 1.1 tonnes (2,500 pounds) and could carry a payload of 550 kilograms (1,200 pounds), including the pilot.

The AirGeep was put through trials for both the Army and the Navy over the next few years. The engine was upgraded again to a Garrett / Airesearch 331-6 engine, which had a higher power-to-weight ratio. For Navy trials, which began in June 1961, the rotorcraft was fitted with floats, and redesignated the “PA-59 SeaGeep”.

* Piasecki wanted to build a bigger and better AirGeep, and the Army Transportation Research Command obliged them by issuing a contract for what Piasecki called the “Model 59K” and what the Army called the “VZ-8P(B) AirGeep II”, which made its first flight in the summer of 1962.

The AirGeep II was similar to the AirGeep, except that the aircraft was “bent” in the middle so that the rotors were tilted fore and aft, it seems to improve forward flight characteristics. The AirGeep II used twin 298 kW (400 SHP) Turbomeca Artouste IIC turboshaft engines, once again linked so that if one failed the other would drive both rotors. One engine could also be coupled to the landing wheels to drive the machine on the ground. The increased power allowed a maximum take-off weight of 2.2 tonnes (4,800 pounds). The pilot and observer had “zero-zero” ejection seats, allowing safe escape if the machine was on the ground and standing still, and there were apparently seats for additional passengers.

As we learned, the rotabuggy was a bit of a failure. However that didn’t stop the military from investigating some type of ‘flying jeep’.  Now, I don’t know if the military really called it the Aerial Jeep or whether it was Life Magazine’s attempt to sell magazines, but the result is a pretty unusual flying machine:


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2012 FC Roundup Report

• CATEGORIES: Event, FC150-FC170-M677, Features

I wanted to extend our thanks to everyone who made our visit at this year’s Roundup memorable and fun.  And a special thanks to Jesse for inviting me to attend, despite the lack of my own FC.  Also, I really appreciated everyone who told me how much they enjoyed reading this website.  Your feedback makes my efforts worthwhile!

On Saturday I was able to win a raffle price, 2 headlight gaskets (courtesy of Roy).  After winning them,  I announced my grand plan to build an FC around the gaskets.  Yes, we’ll build from the front of the FC (fc-150? fc-170? something else) to its rear.  I expect this is going to be a slooowwww project.

I even found the perfect FC project in Tucson as we drove out of town on Sunday morning; well, drove is a stretch.  More like, plodded along due to an overturned semi in Black Canyon whose delivery of vegetables will likely be delayed (though the local rabbits should have some good forage for a while).  Unfortunately, Tucson was in the opposite direction from where we were going and I suspect this incredible deal will be gone by the time I could ever make it back down there.

1961 FC-170 $450: (SOLD quickly after I posted it; it was in Tucson).  Check out the early hubs on this, too.

So, until our FC is complete, I will just have to enjoy looking at and riding in other people’s FCs. Here’s some random pictures from the event.  Thanks again to everyone and I look forward to the FC Get Together in Washington.  If you don’t have an FC, find one and join the fun next year!

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Wood Chipper on CJ-2A From FAO Report

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features

From a Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations  comes a 1950 report that includes this unusual wood chipper possibly developed by the Fitchburg Engineering Corporation (?).

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Smithsonian Institute Jeep in Panama

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

In this article by Lesley Panilla, Alexander Wetmore Stands Next to a Jeep at Rio Las Tablas, Panama, 1948.  “After a number of visits, correspondence in the collection indicates that Wetmore was using the same Jeep during successive visits. Eventually they painted SM-INS in the front bumper marking it for Smithsonian Institution use (see SIA2008-3201).”

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About Those Posts ‘Later’ Tonight

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: Well, it seems I’ve used up all of ‘tonight’ and am already working on tomorrow, so I will wait til the morning for additional posts.  Ann and I made it to Kanab, Ut, tonight and celebrated with a local dinner.  Now we are spending a romantic evening in bed — she on her iPad and me on my computer — well, it works for us 🙂 … Ann thanks everyone for the birthday wishes!

I just couldn’t resist posting this one pic tonight.  I’m not sure why Steve drove all the way from California just to read a book, but I can’t fault his choice in them!

(From Earlier) Nope, no April fools .. more posts later tonight.  We will be hitting no-service areas soon as we leave Flagstaff . . . well that and it’s officially Ann’s birthday today.  I’d better pay attention to her so that she’ll keep accompanying me on these trips!

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Happy April Fools Day!

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

I’m not sure if this is an April Fool’s picture or just some fool posing with a purse.  I’d like to claim alcohol was involved, but, sadly, nope, that’s just me with Ann’s purse trying to make her laugh.  I should have checked to make sure her camera was still in the bag.  Behind me is Bernie’s Custom FC with some beautiful custom work, which I will share later.  We are just about packed to start our journey northward.

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The FCs Hit Interstate-17

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

Just one update tonight as we are tired from a fun filled day at the FC Roundup.   As we were heading back to Jesse’s from dinner we took to the highway for a few miles.  Now, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be heading down the Interstate in Phoenix at night in a FC Tour Jeep full of people, let alone traveling at over 60mph and passing other vehicles!  For Ann and I it was a perfect ending to a great weekend!  More pics and info tomorrow.

Here’s what it looks like at 56MPH in a Tour Jeep with Craig driving (we hit 63MPH at one point), his wife recording the speed and my better half taking a photo.  I don’t remember all those lights, but then I was looking out the side as we passed other vehicles.  Maybe we hit warp speed and I just wasn’t paying attention?  Jason reached 67MPH in his FC Tour Jeep, perhaps setting a new land speed record for Tour Jeeps!?!


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Friday at the 2012 FC Roundup

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

Ann and I had a wonderful time at day 1 of the FC Roundup.  It was great to match faces with names of people I have corresponded with for years.   We spent the start of our visit with Glenn and Colin discussing some of the unusual history of Willys Overland they uncovered recently.

From Left to right is Colin, me and Glenn

As Glenn had to take off, we soon found ourselves on a quick tour of Phoenix in Jason’s FC Tour Jeep.  Our quick tour turned into a rollicking ride through Phoenix as its citizens tried to figure out what kind of vehicle was ferrying this crazy group of people.  Without hills or dales to wander, we stuck to city streets, waving at all the people who were waving back at us.   Canadian Dave was at the helm, navigating the roads of Phoenix like any true Canadian would do … very politely.  He didn’t cause a single person to flip us off.

Pretty soon we got thirsty, so we tried to hunt down a Sonic Burger.  Unsuccessful on our own, Jason had an opportunity to ask “Big Willy”, a guy next to us wearing a “Big Willy” shirt, if he knew where the closest Sonic Burger place was.  Big Willy responded with a point of his finger to our right.  Unsure if Big Willy was being accurate or just trying to get rid of us so he could continue driving in traffic, we followed his directions and found the cold drinks we sought.

After our cold drinks, instead of going back to Jesse’s house and the roundup, we soon found ourselves traveling to the airport to pick up Vance.  I jumped in to ride shotgun so I could provided directions to the airport; however, my phone’s GPS failed me in our hour of need.  Fortunately, Jason’s navigation came through and we found the airport.  Now, if you’ve never ridden an FC Tour Jeep through a set of airport terminals, I can highly suggest it.   People were smiling and waving … I’ve never seen so many happy people at the airport!!

Eventually, we made our way back to Jesse’s (after a bathroom stop at Valero).  After hanging out there for a little while, we all piled into FCs for a trip to dinner.  Ann and I jumped back into Jason’s FC.  This time, instead of Canadian Dave driving, Jason took the wheel and drove us over to a motel to pick up one more rider before heading to dinner.  As we innocently pulled up to the door of the motel, Jason honked the FC’s horn.  It just so happened at that moment a woman was walking forty feet or so in front of the FC.  The honk startled the woman.

Hearing that honk, the woman’s dog leapt forward, causing the woman to jerk forward too.  The woman thought the honk was for her, so she turned around and gave us the look of death.  Then, she gave us the one-fingered salute.  Yes, it took Jason only a few minutes of driving to have someone flip us off.  She might not have been very happy with us (she would flip us off a second time, too), but she made us laugh all the way to dinner.

More form the Round up tomorrow ….


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Creation of a Nuffield Gutty Airborne Jeep in Australia

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

I ran across a story on G503 about the creation of a Nuffield Airborne Jeep in Australia.  The details of the build are great!

Link to g503 story: http://www.g503.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=188540

You can view another Nuffield Gutty on my post about lightweight jeeps.

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Welcome R&P 4WD

• CATEGORIES: Features

R&P4WD has now joined as a sponsor, so many thanks to them!

They’ve been in the Jeep business since 1989,  the core of what they do consists of 11″ drum brake parts and  conversion kits, Front and rear bolt on disc brake conversions, and custom built jeep axles front and rear (wide track, narrow track, WIllys truck/wagon Dana 44’s and 60’s in high or low pinion) Full floating axle conversions, (Warn spent alot of time in their shop working the bugs out of Warn’s full float kits), high steer components  (knuckles, arms ect), HD DOM tie rods and drag links,  t18 conversions (to GM, buick, and AMC).

You can locate them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/RP4WD or visit their website at http://www.r-p4wd.com.

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Anyone Recognize This Vehicle?

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

I found this picture of Henry J Kaiser sitting in this jeep, but I can’t tell what kind of jeep it is.  It looks like a cross between a flatfender (front) and M151 (rear).  I am wondering if it was a prototype of some sort.  Anyone recognize it? Note the four bolt rims.

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FC Roundup March 30-31, April 1 2012 Phoenix, Az

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

UPDATE:  We are all ready for tomorrow.  Can’t wait to meet everyone!

FC and FleetVan Owners,
Once again I am reminding everyone that this is your invitation, to an event dedicated to the rescue and recreation of Jeep Forward Control and FleetVan vehicles and their owners. Your attendance, as Owners, is the most important part of our event. We have added the invitation to FJ3 – FJ6, Jeep Fleet Vans, these are Forward driven as well. There is no charge to this event and we have a raffle of donated FC related parts and products. Please Donate what you can to the free raffle, if you have something that you think someone might want for there FC or FleetVan, then we need it here. All donated FC-Related items are appreciated for the Saturday raffle.
2012 event T-shirts, the embroidered logo, pocket shirts and hats are again coming back and are always available.
Hot dogs, chips, beans on Saturday and anytime refreshments will be free anytime. Also on display that are available will be some new FC products. Your FC-vehicles, in what ever stage of completion they are in: authentic show total restoration, original unrestored, farm, snow plow, tractor, dune buggy, street rod, restored daily driver, repowered, not running, chassis, rusted, wrecked, good, bad or ugly, all FCs, literature, photos, parts of FCs, will be welcome. This is a large gathering of only FC and FleetVan Jeeps, these vehicles are on display, but without judging or awards.

Nearby Hotels are filling fast see the websites

Here are a few last minute details:
We will be driving as a group in FCs to breakfast every morning and also to Dinner some of the nights.
Parking on my property is for FCs / FleetVans only, no exceptions.
Absolutely no smoking near the vehicles, the vehicles on display have vented gas caps.
A smoking area will be provided away from Vehicles.
I love all Children and Dogs, but this event is about FCs, at my house, I will (I have had to) ask people to leave, if you come here with any animal that is not on a leash at your side, Small Children must also be near there parents at all times.
All vehicles on display have owners, please have respect of other peoples property, do not open any doors or sit in anyone’s vehicle, without the owner being present.
It is unfortunate that the fuel prices continue to increase and causing some grief to all of us. I am very grateful to all of you, that are bringing vehicles from far away. I am also grateful to know about all the continued efforts, that some of you have done, that will be bringing new vehicles this year.

Thank You


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2012 Bantam Festival Update

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

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Burn Notice (TV Show) Wants a Pink Surrey for an upcoming episode

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

Colin alerted to this:  Production Assistant for Burn Notice Brandy Maruschak is hoping to locate a pink Willys Surrey in South Florida for sometime between April 4 and April 12, 2012.  They only need the vehicle for two days.  The script specifically calls for a pink one. If you have a pink Willys Surrey, email me and I will forward Brandy’s information.