Features Research Archives

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Unusual CJ-5 Rear Seat Mod

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Features

I was on my way to Jalopy Jungle (got some new springs — but that write-up must wait) in Nampa when I passed by this CJ-5 sitting outside an auto salvage shop in Meridian.  As soon as I saw it, I made a quick u-turn and snapped some pics.  The CJ-5 itself appears in stock condition with a solid body and no engine. There was no for sale sign and am not sure what it being done to it.

The rear seat itself it something I’ve never seen.  The tail gate still works and there is storage area under the back seat.

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The Commando C104

• CATEGORIES: Features, Jeepster

A reader had asked me about the use of Inline 6s on early Jeepsters, so I found the answer on Wikipedia.  I left the page open while I went to lunch and when i came back, I noticed something I hadn’t notice earlier, a picture of the Commando C104 and it’s unusual grille.  I was used to seeing the Commando with the standard jeep/tines grille.  But, the 20,000 or so C104s that were built have a full-size grille that, at first glance, looked to me like it was borrowed from a Bronco.

Anyway, maybe you all knew this, but it was a surprise to me.  Below are some pics that show the evolution of the front of a Jeepster/Commando.

1948 2WD 4 cyl Willys Jeepster (aka VJ-2):

1949 2WD 4 & 6 cyl Willys Jeepster (aka VJ-3):

1950 2WD 4cyl & 6cyl Willys Jeepster (1951 Jeepsters are left overs from the 1950 production year).  These were also known as the VJ-3 463 (4cyl) and VJ-3 663 (6cyl) for part of the year and then the model was changed to VJ-473 (4cyl)  and VJ-673 (6cyl):

1966-1971 Kaiser Jeep’s “Jeepster Commando” Model C-101 (4wd).  There were several different models, but they all appear to have the same front as best as I can tell.

2 1972 Commando C-104s:  The top Commando has a chromed front and the bottom Commando’s front has been modified (and is for sale now).

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Some Great Old Photos at JpZombie.com

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

At JpZombie.com, Casey has uploaded 20 images from the late 40s / early 50s.  Several of the images have also been loaded at the earlycj5.com website and a thread has popped up around them. A video was also uploaded (see below) that shows early color footage of the Yakima Ridge Runners (from Yakima, Washington) playing in what appears to be the Little Naches River and shows them traveling over the Naches Trail (you can also see video excerpts from Exploration Northwest which discusses the trail).

Below is a small version of one of the pics at JpZombie.  In this pic, you can see on the sign ‘Wally Klingele’, who was one of the founding members of the Ridge Runners.  Some of the pics at JpZombie appear to be pics capturing the Life Magazine Folks who put together these classic videos (ridge runner video 1 & ridge runner video 2).

This is also courtesy of JpZombie.com via Youtube:


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Willys Sporting Tracks

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

Doug suggested I do a search at Youtube on “Willys  Jeep  Tracks”.  I found two interesting videos.

In this video, a CJ-2A is fitted with tracks, one track on each side.

In this video, a jeep wrangler is fitted with tracks on each wheel

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Bill Mauldin Stamp

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features • TAGS: .

Randy forwarded me an announcement that Bill Mauldin has been honored with a stamp, shown below.

According to the email Randy sent me, “Mauldin, and his work,  meant much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and  to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for  Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin’s drawings of his muddy,  exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of  truth about what it was like on the front lines.”

Click on this link to see the Mauldin Cartoons I gathered from the web with jeeps in them for a previous post.

Here is a pic of the stamp, followed by Mauldin in a jeep.

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Tucker #57 — The Tucker Convertible

• CATEGORIES: Features

Long time readers know that ever since seeing the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream I’ve been a fan of the Tucker automobile.  What I didn’t know was that in early January of 2010 a Tucker Convertible was finally completed after years of sitting as a pile of parts.  It turns out there was plenty of controversy surrounding this convertible, specifically was it really a Tucker or simply a Tucker look-a-like built from left over parts. You can read some history of the Tucker and the Convertible here.

Well, after much discussion, enough information has been unearthed to assure most people (can’t make everyone happy) that Tucker had been working on a convertible when the company was forced into bankruptcy and was labeled Tucker #57.  Though it took multiple people and 60 years,  Benchmark Classics, near Madison, Wi (a place I used to call home) finally has put this beauty together (restoration images).

Here are an image and a video:


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Year? CJ-2A Jamul, CA **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: Was $600. **SOLD**

“Willys Jeep. 49-51 Willys Jeep CJ-l. Customer fiberglass cab. Local San Diego Truc, 4cly, 4SP, P.T.O- 4WD. All there, Black plates, Not running. Project, lots of potential. Former Glass Truck. RARE- No paperwork. $600 OBO.”

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A Willys of Frankenstinian Proportions $1500 (OD)

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $1500.

On a trip to Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, Dan discovered this unusual project.   Underneath all the modifications is a 1943 GPW.  What’s amazing to me is that, all things considered, it doesn’t look all that bad.  Someone certainly cobbled together a variety of vehicles, along with a healthy supply of diamond plating to keep this vehicle on the road.  No doubt it was better than sporting a soft top in cold weather.

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Custom Truck Bumper

• CATEGORIES: Features, Willys Trucks, Willys Wagons

Steve was wondering if any readers knew anything about this aftermarket bumper found on some trucks (I’ll have to look back at some other images, but I know I’ve seen this or something similar on other trucks). I guess it is time to add a ‘bumper mod’ section to the modifications area.

Steve writes, “I Have the following wagon bumper and wondered if anyone knew anything about it?   The tag says Ricks Trailer Works, 2003 East Van Buren Street, Phoenix, Arizona.   I used to see these on a few wagons, but haven’t in quite a while.  My wagon with this came out of Utah.   It looks like a nice practical bumper, but haven’t decided how to use it yet.  Thought it might be a modification people find interesting.”

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Dually Adapter and the Dually Section

• CATEGORIES: Features, Parts • TAGS: .

UPDATE:  Steve found a 2nd patent for an alternative Dually system.    I’ve moved both Dually patent information to the New Dually Page.

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Builds: Kurtis finds Ike and starts a restoration

• CATEGORIES: Builds, CJ-3A, Features

In early April of 2010, Kurtis found a solid looking, stock 1950 CJ-3A named Ike that he plans to restore to off-the-dealer-floor condition.  He’s built a website (http://kurtisfranklin.com/blog/) to chronicle his restoration adventures and recently provided some good details on a V-Cell Radiator.

Good luck on your restoration Kurtis; I think it will turn out well!  Here’s a pic of Ike:

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JeepGod’s Jeep Manufacturers List

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website

I ran across JeepGod’s website today.  There’s a variety of interesting tidbits on the site, including an inexpensive solution for an air compressor, a nicely drawn out map for navigating Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina, and the below list of Jeep Manufacturers, which provides some details into the specific companies that manufactured the vehicles we generally describe as Jeep or Willys.  I hadn’t thought of organizing a list quite like this, so I thought I’d highlight it for readers. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, as there’s no FC-170 listed, but that’s a minor quibble I think.

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Jeep Cakes!

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Who knows why I search for the things I do sometimes, but for some reason I had the urge to search for Jeep Cakes.  Now, I rarely eat cakes of any kind; however, I thought this might provide some interesting search results and pictures.  So, below are a few of my results.  If this list isn’t long enough, search here for more.

First, I’ll start off with a cake I was presented with on my birthday back in 2003 — my 2nd ex-wife (yes, I might need a scorecard to start tracking my relationships) and her mother transferred one of my favorite images onto a birthday cake.

Here’s one with a roll cage from CarriesCakes.com

Here’s a cake with a ‘jeep’ on a hill:

This cake ‘rocks’:

This is called the Jeep Adventure Cake:

According to the description, this cake is “an army jeep cake, fondant covered with gum paste accessories. the hill is another layer of cake as well, buttercream-covered with cookie crumbs on top”

Here’s a $195 cake from Oksuguar.com:

This driver and his faithful dog appear headed into the waves:

From dreamcakesjc.com we have another ‘flattie’:

And finally, from the UK courtesy of Sara Cakes, we have this army jeep (categorized as a grand dad cake no less ..hmmm). It even has tools on the sides!

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Builds: Phase 1 of “Her Royal Highness” Complete

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Late last year Mark took the plunge and bought himself a Jeepster project.  After about 6 months, he has completed phase 1 of the project, has learned his Willys isn’t 100% Willys,  and, as you can see, is enjoying his efforts now that Spring is fully here.  Thanks for sharing!

Mark writes, “I completed phase one last night when I closed the gaping hole in the firewall caused by an incomplete Chevy V8 conversion long long ago, so now my Jeepster may be eligible to be honored on your site. I was going to name her “Cheapster Jeepster” due to my desire to spend less money than a new vehicle, but after falling in love with my Willys I christened it “Her Royal Highness” and I’ve still only got $4200 bucks invested so far. I got her up to 60mph and drove 75 miles straight with no problems.

Purchased her on Halloween Day 2009 and quickly found out she wasn’t all Willys. She’s a ’48 Jeepster body set on a ’49 4wd Station Wagon chassis & floorboard. It has got a 1956 Chevy 265 V8, Lockheed hydraulic clutch, 1955 Ford F-100 rear brakes and MC, John Deere tractor fuel pump and a Caterpillar temp gauge. The gauge cluster is from a M38 and the gas tank, mounted behind the back seat, is from a 1958 Dodge pickup. And those are just the parts I’ve been able to identify so far.

Phase 1 seemed like a simple task: Start, Stop and roll down the road without leaking out all its fluids, make her safe and legal and do all this without knowing jack about restoring a 60 year old automobile. It’s been a lot of fun and a real stress reliever for me.

-new complete brake system
-new complete suspension front & back
-new fuel line setup
-new wireing harness and firewall rebuild
-clean & paint interior
-fluid change and tuneup

Oh, and of course phase 1 couldn’t be complete without…….cup holders.

Much thanks to your site, I get lot’s of great ideas looking at all the other builds you profile and just knowing I’m not the only crazy, insane Willys addict gives me great comfort. Although I’ve seen other Jeepster 4wd conversions on your site I haven’t seen one that used another Willys to make the jump. I’ll keep you posted on Phase II (Body/interior & drive train improvements).

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How the Walkman Changed Our Music Habits

• CATEGORIES: Features

This has nothing to do with willys, jeeps, 4x4s.  Actually, it has little to do with anything …..

Regular readers will likely remember my post (perhaps memorial is a better term) about C.W.McCall’s Wolf Creek Pass.  After re-reading that post, it seems my prose zig-zagged across topics so far and so wide, that to call it a cohesive post would be a kind and generous gift from readers; However, I would never let a lack of cohesiveness stop my good intentions nor keep me from attempting, because to say I attempt is fair, but to say I always succeed would be too generous, to entertain readers!

So, where am I going with this?  It seems nowhere fast, so let’s get to it already!  In the aforementioned post, one of the topics I cover was my own audiophile history, or the lack thereof, particularly my first experience with my cousin’s Walkman II.  While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Walkman II, I knew very little about the history of the original Walkman until I ran across a fabulous post, Quiet Revolution, at the Rhapsody blog.

Now, as readers are already painfully aware, I am no audiophile, but I am certainly a history buff.  And in the Rhapsody post Quiet Revolution, Tim Quirk constructs a fascinating slice of audio history and tells a strongly argued story of how the Walkman was the real game changer for how most of us listen to music.

Some highlights:

1) The original Sony Walkman, launched in 1979, came with an orange button and two headphone connections.  Why?  Because, of course, no one would want to listen to music by themselves!  And the orange button lowered the music with a simple click so that you could communicate with a friend (see images from the ad campaign below and contrast that with the solitary, almost non human, solitary dancers from today’s ipod ads)!

2) The stereobelt was invented in 1972 by Andreas Pavel, but was rejected by electronic companies because executives at the electronic companies argued that people would not want to run around with headphones.

3) Almost 40% of Guns N’ Roses fans also listen to Tim McGraw. Nearly as many listen to Kenny Chesney or Garth Brooks. How many radio stations play all four?  That’s the essence of the choice these devices have provided.

Some of the Walkman’s original ads …

Ipod Ads:

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Kris Kros’ Jeep Photos from Flickr

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features

Here’s are some jeep photographs, and they are labeled as photographs,  I ran across on Flickr created/photographed by Kris Kros.  They are certainly heavily ‘enhanced’ and unusual!

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The Mitsubishi Prototype “Pajero”

• CATEGORIES: Features, International

This is the 1973 Mistubishi Prototype “Pajero”.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found the photos.  Next to the wagon, is what I call the CJ-3B Wagon, but what Mistubishi called the CJ3B-J11, created in 1956. You can see a full version of it below.  Click here to see the Mitsubishi virtual museum.

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Overland Train North Pole, Ak **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

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

Mark spotted this unusual find when it was still available early on Sunday.  However, it sold during the course of the day for $15,000.  I’d love to know where it lands as it is something very unusual and rather fantastical.

“In 1962, the Army tested a machine known as The Overland Train at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. It was designed to carry equipment and supplies over both on- and off-road terrains. The train consisted of the control car, ten self tracking cargo cars, and two power generating cars. It was 565 feet long and could haul 150 tons of cargo. The control car also contained living quarters for a crew of six, complete with sleeping, eating and sanitation facilities.

The enclosed pictures are of a sister unit here in Alaska. It’s important to note this is one of the last existing units of this type anywhere. This unit consists of the control car and 3 trailers (mostly aluminum). All the units have tires and we also have a large amount of extra tires & wheels. This unit does not run and is not operable however according to Le Tourneau, the manufacturer most if not all parts are still available and or re-buildable. Would also make a terrific static display for museum. This unit is for sale as is FOB North Pole, Alaska, to the highest bidder above the reserve set by the estate.”

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Shed of Dreams

• CATEGORIES: Features, International

A shed of dreams?  I came across the phrase while, as usual, searching for something else.

As best as I can put together, the shed was located in Greece and was full of old MBs, GPWs, Parts, and more. The Jeep Draw website has a large number of images showing rows of old jeeps. One pic shows at least 20 jeeps sitting 3 rows high.

According to Thomas Jacobson’s jeep website (which has some good jeep info), the  shed of dreams existed as late as 2001, as that is when Thomas visited the shed and took a whole bunch of pictures.

According to a discussion thread on the Steel Soldier’s website, the shed no longer exists as the jeeps have been sold.

Here is an example of one of Thomas’s images:

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Dan’s rear bumper and spare carrier

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Dan forgot to forward these pics of his progress on the rear of his grandpa’s CJ-5.  Once again, Dan’s done some nice work!  View more installments of Dan’s build here.

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Carl saves a Willys Truck in St. Johns, NL, Canada

• CATEGORIES: Features, Willys Trucks

This truck was headed towards a crusher until Carl saved it.  He’s not sure what he’s going to do with it, but he felt there was too much value to have it crushed.  Note the custom wheel creation.

“Here are the pictures of the 55 Willys as I found it in a scrape metal collectors yard, it has its original running Super Hurricane engine 4 wheel drive components, head lights, park lights and dash all in tack, 20″ wheels were welded to the original 16’s and it spent the last few years hauling fire wood in rural Newfoundland. It had been abandoned and was set to go to the crusher when I found it and hauled it home.  Not sure at this point what I will do with it, it’s safe for now.”

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Yes Virginia, your Jeep can Mix Cement, too

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Old News Articles • TAGS: .

Leave it to Popular Science Magazine to publish a brief reference about using a Jeep to mix cement.  This article (or retro-article) was issued in the Feb 1974 edition.

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Mark spots an even dozen in Houston

• CATEGORIES: Features

I’ll let Mark set the stage for these pics. I don’t see the pic of the hungry dog though …. 🙂

Mark writes, “On the tough east side of Houston well behind a blighted salvage yard the old guy said “there’s some Willys behind that fence”. As a newby seeing one pass on the highway is a rarity so when I saw this I just about leaked transfer case oil. 12 in all, the Dirty Dozen. Sorry about the quality of the pics, there was this mean looking dog, and he looked hungry.”


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It didn’t seem like 400 miles — Willys Wagon Brochure

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features, Women & Jeeps

I can’t say I’ve been in a Willys Wagon for 400 miles at a time, but I do imagine that what the woman is trying to say is that it seemed more like 1400 miles than 400 miles ….

I found this wagon ad here

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1949 Dodge Fire Power Wagon San Clemente, CA **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Other 4x4s

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

The auction expired before it reached its reserve. Bidding hit a high of $50,300.

“This truck was built for the 343 fire fighters that lost their lives on the tragic day of 9/11. This truck has been used in shows so we would never forget that day. I can’t list all the shows this truck has won 1st place in, however, here’s some of them: Concours Delegance, Good Guys, Grand Nationals Roadster Show, Coastline Car Classic, and many, many more. I’ll take a photo of all the trophies if you like (enough to fill up an entire room). The firetruck came from Cooperstown, New York as a mini-pumper firetruck. It was recreated as a woody. This truck has been such a blessing, it puts a smile on all the people’s faces. The truck has 13,000 original miles on all the original running gear. The motor, transmission, front end, and rear end has never been taken apart. It’s been professionally cleaned and repainted. It has 1,500 miles on the brakes, wheel cylinder, master cylinder, tires, hoses, and seals. The wiring harness is all original and is in excellent condition. It’s been changed over to 12 Volts. Everything works but the fuel gauge (needs a diode). The reason I’m selling this truck is because it needs to be seen and not stored. This would make a very nice museum piece that people could appreciate. A part of the proceeds from this auction will go to the Rolling Memorial for Fallen Firefighters and a percentage will be automatically donated.”