Features Research Archives

To Top

Old Rail Cars (and a couple Jeeps)

• CATEGORIES: Features

Paul forwarded a link to me regarding ‘justacarguy’s’ website.  Specifically, Paul pointed out a page of old rail cars — literally automobiles on wheels.  There were a couple pics of jeeps and many more of cool old cars.  Check out all the pics here.

To Top

Believe it or not, this is home made … Colfax, Wi **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Other 4x4s, Unusual

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $800

It’s $800 and runs .. what do you want?

“Willys jeep four wheel drive with low and high range. Runs good 4 speed tranny any quests”

To Top

Hill Climbing in Canada — From Antiquewillys.com

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website

I have to say I’m a fan of Canada and Canadians.  Growing up in Seattle, Canada was only a 3 hour drive away, so I’ve crossed the border many times.  On the other hand, the Canadians keep sending me back … I don’t know what that’s about …

When I was 20, I had an opportunity to work in the San Juan Islands for a couple years, at the north part of San Juan Island itself at Roche Harbor (map).  Many Canadians boated over to enjoy Roche’s hospitality, perhaps as many as half the tourists were Canadian.  Because I had friends with boats, I had the opportunity to boat across Haro Strait and visit Victoria, BC, Canada.

There are four things I know about Victoria from personal experience:  1) The Royal BC Museum was a great place to visit; 2) There used to be a great knife store downtown that gave good discounts to chefs (I still have a couple of those knives); 3) There are places to drink in Victoria (which for a newly minted 21 year old was pretty fun); and 4) There were some very nice strips clubs downtown (which for a newly minted 21 year old … well, you get the picture).

I’ve also spent time in Vancouver.  During one memorable, well mostly memorable, experience, I attended the 1986 World Expo (and it turns out countries still hold world expos — the 2010 Expo is in Shanghai, China), which took place at the downtown facilities which held the recent Winter Olympic Games.  Me and 2 of my friends trekked up to the ’86 expo, without hotel reservations of course; instead, we spent two nights camped out in Vancouver.  The first night was on some land being developed right near downtown.  We just set up the tent, and jumped in (and a whole lot of traffic woke us up early the next morning).  The second night we found a walking trail a little farther out of downtown and jumped in the tent.  Oh, to be young again ….

With these thoughts in mind, I decided to do a search of flatties and Canada and happened across the antiquewillys.com website. After some looking around, I found a photo gallery, where I came across this image, posted by “waggone”.  I personally love to see those desert dogs reaching for the sky!

To Top

Employee Picture from the Buick Auto Factory

• CATEGORIES: Features

Check out this image.  I found it at a blog called “An Uncommonplace Book“.  Look at all those employees!! The sign in the background reads, “Buick Motor Co, Largest Automotible Manufacturers in the World.  Annual Capacity 40,000 Cars”

To Top

The Olson’s Ice Racing Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Racing • TAGS: .

I ran across JP Magazine’s feature about the Olson’s ice racing jeep “Black Ice” today.  There are a variety of interesting and unusual ideas implemented in this custom rig that could probably be used for road, trail and off-road racing applications.  It’s a fun Jeep to check out.

Learn much more about this vehicle at JP Magazine and view many more pictures there, too.  Here are a couple images:

To Top

Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Models

• CATEGORIES: Features

Somewhere at my parents house buried under time and boxes, there may still be a few pictures of a drag strip I had when I was kid.  Built from presswood,  the home-made drag strip stretched about six feet long and maybe a foot wide.  It was painted black with white lines down the middle.  The left side of the drag strip was built on top of a series of three shelves where I could store all the model cars I built, except for the two ‘cars of the week’ that I would place on my drag strip.

I loved to build model cars, especially wild street machines.  The Boot Hill Express is one I remember building.  You can see in the image below, that I found on oldtoystuff.com, an example of the Boot Hill model.  I’m sure I built a few of these others, such as the street “T”, as well as many others not pictured.

It’s not that I was ever a highly anal model builder, reveling in details and accuracy.  No, I just liked putting them together, to make the pieces fit, to get it finished so I could put it on my race track.

So, I do have a certain understanding of the skills necessary to make a really fine, high quality model — skills I am perfectly at peace saying that I don’t possess.  Of course, as a dad, I figured that if I enjoyed building models that my kids would enjoy it.

And it was then that I ran smack into rule #27 of parenting — “sometimes the things I liked to do as a kid aren’t ‘cool’ anymore” (and I probably shouldn’t open up the debate about whether model building was ‘cool’ even when I was a kid).  So, when I bought my boys a model for christmas a few years ago, they gracious said thanks, and then avoided them for the thrill of xbox.  What’s a dad to do?

What got me thinking about race tracks and building models as a kid was that I came across this extremely well done model by Serge Haelterman.  The detail is impressive, far beyond anything I’d ever do.  You can go to this AFV Website to see more pics of his model and read his description of what he did to it.

To Top

Jeeps in detail book series

• CATEGORIES: Features

Speaking of models, I just discovered a series of books that appear to come out of the Czech Republic called Jeeps in detail. The MB edition was published in 2009, so the other books might be quite new as well.

Designed for modelers, but likely excellent for restorers as well, these books are 50+ color photos of different jeeps that are in the hands of Czech private collector(s).

1. GPW Jeeps in detail
2. MB Jeeps in detail & UK Site
3. M-38 Jeeps in detail

I drove a rental car through the Czech Republic back in 2003, one of several countries I visited.  Prague was one of the stops (Cesky Krumlov was another great stop).  If you visit, I highly recommend you wander through the castle that overlooks downtown Prague.  And I highly recommend that you DON’T eat the chinese food on the south side of town.

To Top

2 Early Jeeps from the Library of Congress

Here are shots of a Willys MA and Ford GP from the Library of Congress.

Willys MA

Ford GP

To Top

Builds: Gary makes great progress on his CJ-5

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

When we last checked in with Gary, he’d just bought this CJ-5 off of Craigslist.  Well, Gary’s been busy this winter getting his Jeep ready for fun this year.  He’s got some work left, but his progress looks great.  Thanks for sharing!

To Top

Flat Fender Squirrel Feeder

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay. Here’s one in the wild.

You don’t see these everyday.

“Up for auction is a really cute little single-seat, cedar squirrel feeder fashioned after a 1942 Willys Jeep used during WW II.  It’s fun to watch the squirrels sit in the driver’s seat and eat.  And the best thing about this Jeep is it runs on corn cobs, so you won’t go broke at the pump!   We have the one pictured outside our window and the squirrels just love it.

The feeder is loosely fashioned after a photo of a 1942 Willys my 11-year-old son and I came across.  We thought it would be fun to turn the photo into a feeder.  So, we drew it out, cut it out, and (after a few redesigns) had us one of the more unique squirrel feeders on EBay.  These feeders have quickly become one of our biggest sellers.”

To Top

The Ads for Jeeps said there’d be lots of girls …

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Women & Jeeps

Strangely, I’ve never experience anything in my jeep like these drivers did …. (I think these are both images from Life Magazine, too — I will have to double check this)

To Top

Just for fun, here are a couple Jeeps ‘in flight’ ….

• CATEGORIES: Features, Library Collections, Old Images, War Images • TAGS: .

From the Library of Congress

From the Library of Congress

To Top

WillysJeep publishes more from Cuba

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Website

Tim contacted me to note that he published more images about Willys and Fidel from Cuba on willysjeep.com. Here is a little history of Fidel and Willys along with a gallery of images. I previously published a post about Cuba here.  Tim continues to publish some truly unique items!

Here’s a sneak peak of an ambulance.  I haven’t come across too many later model Willys Ambulances.

To Top

Charley’s Wild Willys

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, Willys Wagons

One vehicle I wanted to highlight from the Wonderful World of Willys Wagons was Charley Crossley’s Wild Willys.  I tried to located additional images of it, but the only ones I found were on the WWWW website.  I liked Charley’s creativity, so I wanted to make sure readers saw it as well.  You can read about Charley’s approach to building this Wagon here. Note the rumble seat in the back!

To Top

Wonderful World of Willys Wagons

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website, Willys Wagons

I was doing a search for Wagon axles when I found this Wagon-based website:  Wonderful World of Willys Wagons.  It’s got some interesting, funny, silly stuff, including a description of a sprung front wagon clip.  There’s a section of trains and jeeps titled Geeps & Jeeps.  This site could easily  be called the goofy world of wagons.

To Top

Paul Readies His Radiator

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: .

Paul made good progress recently with the radiator installation.  I’ll let him explain …

Paul writes, “During the past few days I’ve been busy scrounging metal, making parts and playing with the welder but the end result is the Willys has an M 151 radiator installed along with a V type firewall to radiator brace and a hood hold open rod.  I also picked up my new radiator from the local military surplus yard in addition to a used shroud and the necessary lower mounts.  The new radiator will reside safely in the house until it’s time to be installed after I quit taking things apart for modifications and redesigns but the size of this radiator is just about perfect for the room available under the hood.  I’ll have to spend some time at the local autoparts store mixing and matching coolant hoses before the engine is plumbed to the radiator and I also have to go shopping for a low profile electric fan (a puller is what I’m hunting for) but both of these tasks can be solved with reasonable amounts of money so I’m feeling pretty good with my progress so far. ”

To Top

Aqualu Industries and Aluminum Bodies

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website

I knew there were aluminum bodies for flatties, but I discovered today that Aqualu manufactures a wide range of aluminum bodies, including a flattie, CJ-5, CJ-6 and more.  Check out all the different bodies at their website.

To Top

Roosevelt, Morocco & an MB

• CATEGORIES: Features, Library Collections, Old Images, War Images • TAGS: .

Here’s a couple images from the Library of Congress showing President Roosevelt cruising the American troops in Morocco.

Here’s one image:  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8e01227

Here’s a second image: morocco2: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8e01229

To Top

Paul is finally chillin’

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, Reader Stories • TAGS: .

A trip to the local Military show turned out to be just what Paul needed.  BTW Paul, you don’t owe us anything.  You are putting on a show for us up there in “The Last Frontier (which is the official state nickname)”.  No doubt there’s a few readers who might benefit from this mod.

Paul, take it away!  “This past weekend the local military vehicle collectors had a show at a car dealership near my house for the general public and it was free so I went.  Before leaving the house I grabbed my camera and a steel tape just incase I ran across a shining gem of a radiator nestled among the antique olive drab metal.  In addition to the WWII Willys and Ford Jeeps on display, the Dodge command cars, M 38’s and M 38 A1’s there were a couple of M 151’s and one of them had it’s hood up.  Naturally I began checking out the radiator, first by eye and then measuring the height, width and thickness and ending up on my back under this Mutt where I noticed the radiator was a bottom mount.  Most interesting!

The original M 38 radiator is a bottom mount with a top mount brace rod, it’s 21 1/4 inches wide by 19 inches high and 5 inches thick.  These dimensions are overall and they include the radiator cap.  The core dimensions are 13 inches high by 20 inches wide and 3 inches thick.

The M 151 radiator is a bottom mount with a top mount brace rod, it’s 20 1/2 inches wide by 19 inches high and about 4 inches thick (I didn’t measure the metal shroud so I’m guessing here) and once again these measurements are overall.  The core is 13 1/2 inches high by 19 1/4 inches wide by 2 inches thick.

Both radiators have a drivers side inlet (top) and a passenger side outlet (bottom).

Gentlemen, we have a winner !!!!!!

For the past 55 years E. A. Patson Parts and Equipment has been dealing in new and used surplus military vehicles and parts here in Anchorage but Elmer Patson is 86 years old (his son, Rod, is only 63 but he’s been working at the business since he was 12) and would like to retire so everything’s for sale.  I asked about M 151 radiators and they have both new and used radiators.  I was able to borrow a used radiator so I could do a bit of metal massaging and fabricate a lower mount and the top brace rod and when the snow melts some and they can get into one of their outbuildings where the new radiators are stored I’ll buy one of those.  For now this used radiator will allow me to continue my progress with the Willys resurrection until the end of March when I’ll officially declare the winter to be over and it will be time to do outside (summer) projects.

Thanks again to all the Willys fans for their much appreciated suggestions, ideas and help.  I look forward to the day when I can return the favor, but until then I owe you.

To Top

Mr. White Brings Home His Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old News Articles

Here’s a short article about a Veteran of WWII named Mr. M C White.  He was assigned a Jeep with only 7 miles on it during the war and proceeded to drive it for 3 years, through battles all over Europe.  I don’t see a period at the end of the last sentence, so I suspect this article might be longer than it appears?

This article is from the front page of the July 19, 1946 issue of the Mt. Pleasant, Ia, Newspaper [The Mt. Pleasant News].  Thanks to Bruce for the article.

To Top

Paul has lost his cool .. in a manner of speaking

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, News, Reader Stories • TAGS: .

Paul continues to make progress on his Stainless M-38.  However, he recently ran into a problem getting the radiator he needs.

He needs some ideas or suggestions.

I’ll let him explain:

Paul writes, “I’ve run into a bit of a problem with my perpetual Willys project and I need information and ideas.  I ordered a brand, spanking new radiator from KaiserWillys for the Buick odd fire engine I installed in my M38 thinking this was the best way to prevent overheating and additional problems down the road.  Boy, was I wrong!

The KaiserWillys catalog lists the Buick 225 radiator as being 17 inches high, 21 and 7/8 inches wide and 1 and 1/2 inches thick which is just about the perfect size for the space available under the hood.  Just to make sure I checked their online site and discovered a cautionary note mentioning this radiator could be either 17 inches or 22 inches wide and I was to let them know which width I needed.  To avoid any misunderstandings I called KaiserWillys and, after confirming the 17″h X 21 7/8″ w X 1 1/2” t, I placed an order for a radiator.  I even called back after I ordered it just to confirm the dimensions.  As I mentioned in a previous email I was told the radiator wouldn’t be done until the end of Feb. (I ordered the radiator the 15th of Feb.) and I was very surprised and pleased when the UPS guy delivered the radiator the afternoon of Feb. 19th.  The next day I carefully removed the radiator from the box and placed it into position.  Not only didn’t the radiator fit but the radiator cap was about 5 inches above the level of the hood.  Not good at all.

How’d they mess that up?

The radiator was 21″ high, not the needed 17″ so I called KaiserWillys again and it turns out the dimensions listed in their catalog, the dimensions listed on their web site and the dimensions they gave me over the phone are all wrong.  Not only did the radiator have to be sent back but Mike told me they won’t deal with radiators for the Buick 225 engine and he was sorry but he knows of no source for this radiator.  I’m not trying to pin the blame on anyone, I just want to find a this radiator which will fit my Jeep and allow me to attach an electric fan on the engine side without hitting the waterpump pulley.

My questions to you are

1. do you know the original size of the CJ5 radiator with the Buick V6 and did the Jeepster (Commando actually I guess) use the same size radiator?

2. Do you know where I might be able to purchase a used radiator (new would be better but I don’t think that will happen) even if it needs to be recored?

I realize I could notch the front crossmember and move the radiator forward (after trimming the shroud) but I’ll save this as a last resort.  The chances of me finding an original V6 powered Jeep here in the Great White North are pretty slim but I’m going to look anyway.”

My ideas

I told Paul that I ran a Pinto radiator with a buick 225 in my first Jeep.  I’ve also found some new radiators for sale for various 1980s buick cars. Here’s what I wrote Paul, “I found some other options using thefind.com.  I searched for ‘buick v6 radiators’. Here’s a radiator for a buick regal that is $89.  It is an aluminum 20-3/4 x 16-7/8 x 1-1/4, 1 ROW (and I’m assuming that is 20-3/4 wide, which isn’t safe to assume as you well know).  http://www.shepherdautoparts.com/autoparts/all_aluminum_radiator/buick/regal/w5HDm8OWw5TDl8K7w5rDksORw5HCosKi.htm.

Anyone else have ideas?

While you think about it, you can marvel at more of Paul’s handiwork – A table made with stainless legs and Ancient Kauri wood, along with a wall hanging from the same wood.  About it he writes, “Naturally the table legs are fabricated from stainless in a truss pattern.  Each leg is made up of 30 individual parts (not counting the attaching hardware) and by the time I was all done fitting and filing these parts I’d spent 78 hours just making the legs.  The wood took many more hours because ultrafine sanding is necessary to get the best grain activity>  After sanding the wood to 1500 grit I applied numerous coats of clear marine varnish (Interlux 95), wet sanded the varnish to 3000 grit and then finished it off by hand polishing the varnish.”

To Top

Kevin & Steve Spot the same VEC CJ-2A While on Vacation

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: Kevin from the UK wrote me today to say that he spotted the same CJ-2A Kevin saw while on vacation on Maui in 2002.  Too funny!  He also took a picture and provided it for our viewing pleasure.  Thanks Kevin!

Steve was visiting Hawaii a few years ago and spotted this VEC CJ-2A on the island of Maui in Hawaii.  There can’t be too many of these on the island!

To Top

Builds: John’s Family — Adoption Complete

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

UPDATE:  John informed that he successfully adopted a 1959 CJ-5 that will complete his ‘family’.  It looks like it’s a great, straight CJ with a good foundation for a rebuild.  Congrats John!

John writes, “Dave, Our new family arrival, a 59 cj5. This unit came without eng. & trans & fer. It will get a Dauntles & org. trans & fer, & O/D. I’ll replace all floor pans , the rest of the tub is very good. It will get a four point cage. Disc front brakes, 11″ rear. Painted to match its stable mates.”

Here’s a few pics:

John shared this ‘family’ photo with me.  He noted that he’s hoping to adopt a 1959 CJ-5 to complete the family. You can see pics of ‘Brownie’ (CJ-3A) here.  And, some closeups of Brownie here.


To Top

1978 LUAZ 967 M amphibious military vehicle, Oklahoma **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Other 4x4s, Unusual

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $15,000

I can’t imagine there are too many Russian amphibious vehicles in the United States.  Apparently this is the 4wd version of the Luaz.

“Used,  made in USSR amphibious ,  lightweight , air-dropable ( with parachute of course  😉 helicopter-transportable military vehicle.Used as a light  medevac vehicle . 3 seats, or driver + 700 lbs cargo. Powered by air-cooled 1,2 liter gasoline  engine, Runs on unleaded gas with lead substitute.4×4 , manual transmission,locking differential, off-road gear. Front winch =300 lbs load. Speed on road 50 mph water – 5 mph.Can cross lakes, river with current up to 7 mph. Can swim up to 900 ft.Has 12 Volts  bilge pump on board  Has clean Oklahoma title, Drivable, but brakes need be fixed, Canvas in fair conditions need to be replaced. Some rust, vehicle was on storage for last 12 months.I hate to sell it, but wife says ,, Too many army cars here “This is  real deal Is  90% orginal just like army vehicle supposed to be, Used by former East -German NVA  parachute regiment . Has maintenance manual in German.”


To Top

What Would You Do with Old Bumper Cars?

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

Thanks to Tommy for forwarding me this unusual story.  The story is that Californian Tom Wright had an opportunity to save these bumper cars from the Long Beach Pike Amusement Park from going to the dump. According to the coolthings.com website, “he took out the Harley motors, replaced it with 750cc Honda and Kawasaki boxes, and redesigned them to pass city driving standards.  His fleet now consists of eight crazy-looking street bumper cars (culled from different amusement parks), all licensed to give your hottest ride a run for its money.”  The rumor is that these could theoretically hit 160mph.  Personally, I will let someone else find that out!

The below image is from the coolthings.com website and the other pics are from an email circulating around the internet.