Features Research Archives

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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.”

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From Long Haul Truck to Hot Rod

• CATEGORIES: Features, Jeep Rods

So, you have an extra $100,000 and 3000 hours.  What do you with yourself?  Randy Grubb decided he’d build a Hot Rod out of a long haul truck.  Popular Science magazine highlights Randy’s efforts.  Though it has nothing to do with jeeps, I thought it was worth mentioning.

What I really liked was the before and after pics.  In the before pic, you can see how he arranged the parts so he could visualize what he was building.  Any of us who have done projects like this where there aren’t specific instructions/directions can relate.  I can’t tell you how many times I put on and took off the jeep body to make sure it fit in the right spot, not too far forward, not too far back, not to high, was it straight — then stand back and ponder and take a few pics and adjust and ponder …. details, details, details.  It’s all part of the fun :-).

Despite it’s fun design,  this wasn’t just some show vehicle.  When Randy was finished, he drag raced it at 100 mph.  Now that’s a HOT Rod!

I’ve included the before pic (taken by Randy’s wife).  You can see the after pic result and read all about the transformation at Popsci.com.

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Green Bay & Western’s hi-rail FC-170s

• CATEGORIES: FC150-FC170-M677, Features

An article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on November 18, 1962, warned readers not to be surprised if they were flagged down at a Green Bay & Western (GBW) railroad crossing by a jeep.  The article goes on to describe that GBW bought 2 1962 FCs for use on their railroad, some of the Jeep’s features, and how they would be used.  The history of these FCs (shown below) and the GBW in general can be found at the Green Bay & Western Lines website.

One image below appears to be a rough scan showing the two FC-170s at the time of purchase. I’ve added a link to the 2nd photo which shows the FC awaiting restoration as of 2005 (a note under the image asked that it not be reproduced without permission).

2005 Image of FC awaiting restoration

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Enter Pepsodent’s Contest and Win A Jeep!

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features

From the Sunday News (and Duke University’s Digital Collection Archives) comes this October 7, 1945, contest advertisement.  What I find very interesting is the color scheme.  I do not recollect seeing any jeeps with this color scheme.  Does anyone know if this was a custom color scheme of some kind for Pepsodent or simply an artist’s creative license?

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Jeepster Prototypes

• CATEGORIES: Features, Jeepster

I was doing some research on GBW’s FC 170s when stumbled upon several Jeepster prototypes listed at the American Jeepster Club along with some other Jeepster specific information.  Below I reference 3 prototypes found on the history page.  Please visit the American Jeepster Club’s ‘Willys-Overland Jeepster History’ page to learn more.  The fourth image is a 1979 Jeepster Prototype press release I found at offroaders.com — it seems to me it was a good idea NOT to develop this one.

1949 Jeepster Coupe Prototype

1962 Brazilian Jeepster Prototype

Concept drawing of a Safari Jeepster

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1940 Camp Holabird Photos from Life Magazine

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

There are some new Bantam and MB testing photos at Life Magazine.  There are some great closeups of the Bantam.  Note the first pic — I believe that is the first ‘jeep’ ever stuck in the mud; it surely wasn’t the last!  All six of these photos were taken by David E. Scherman in 1940.

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Two ‘new’ DJ-3A Surrey Images

• CATEGORIES: DJ-3A, Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Bruce forwarded me links to two images of Surreys he has posted.

The first one is from the Virgin Islands in 1958 and shows a DJ-3A in the center of the picture and a DJ-3A Surrey at the lower left.  The second image shows 5 or more Surreys sitting at rental lot Hawaii, the surrey in center front
is a 1963 with 13″ tires and babymoon hubcaps.

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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.

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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”

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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!

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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”

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.”

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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)

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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

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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.

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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!