Features Research Archives

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Knox Trailers

• CATEGORIES: Features, trailer

UPDATE IV: Here’s another Knox, this time owned by Clint. It appears to have a few mods:


UPDATE III: While searching for any info on Knox trailers, Brandon ran across this post. So, he sent in some pics of his Knox trailer.  He recently sold it.

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UPDATE II (From July 13, 2021) : Here’s another example of a Knox trailer that Jared recently purchased:

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1950 Wagon Endurance Photo **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

UPDATE II: I got curious about the origin of this photo. I wondered if the story behind this marathon could be found. After examining the wagon closely, I noticed just to the right of the fellow with the hat that Hill Motor Company was in ——S, GA. After some searches, I discovered that a Kirven’s store was located in Columbus, Ohio. Unfortunately, I could find no article associate with the photo on the internet or within newspapers.com.

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

I wish I knew more about the story behind this photo.


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The Free-Lock Corporation and Their Hubs

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE VII: A set of NOS Free-Lock hubs included documentation stating that by December of 1973 Free-Lock had become a “Quality Division” of Dualmatic Products Company. So, I believe this suggests that Free-Lock was acquired by Dualmatic, so now the questions are 1) when did this happen and 2) why didn’t Dualmatic use the branding sooner than circa 1970 (there was a gap between the end of Free-Lock in 1959 and the re-emergence of the brand circa late 1960s or early 1970s).

UPDATE VI: I located a set of Free-Lock hub instructions that are a pre-view for a later set of near identical Dualmatic instructions. This is clear documentary evidence that Dualmatic was linked to Free-Lock.

UPDATE V: I recently packed many of my father’s tools to bring them back to Prosser. I was a regular user of them when working on my bicycles, then my jeeps. So, I thought I knew them pretty well. That is why I was so surprised and did a double take when I removed this tool from a drawer and read the name stamped on it: FREE-LOCK WRENCH …

What??? Where’d that come from? I once asked Dad about Free-Lock hubs, but he didn’t know anything about them. So, I don’t know how he obtained it.

Anyway, given the primitive nature of it, I’d have to guess it was a first generation version of the wrench. As seen below, a second, more elegant curved-design with a better branding stamp was likely introduced after this version.

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Here’s a reminder of the other version of the Free Lock Wrench:


UPDATE IV (From February 12, 2017): This page contains two later model Free-Lock hubs that resemble Selectro hubs. My theory is that Free-Lock might have evolved into the Selectro Company: http://www.ewillys.com/2019/07/08/selectro-husky-dualmatic-overview/

UPDATE III: Thanks to Steve, we’ve discovered an additional version. It is now number 5, which seems to be an evolutionary step between 4 & 6.

UPDATE II: Thanks to Frank Day and his grandfather Merton, who saved this rare piece, here is a scan of an eight page brochure related to the Free-Lock corporation. 

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Thor Products & White Automotive (Whitco)

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

UPDATE II: Dinesh obtained these Thor-Automatic looking hubs, but on the cover they read Allstate Power Matic rather than Thor. I suspect they are Thor hubs rebranded for Allstate. Here are some pics:

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Here is a the interior portion of a set of Thor hubs:



UPDATE (May 24, 2021): The October 1963 issue of Four Wheeler Magazine include this Thor-designed product to make shifting the transfercase more convenient. It moves the shifter from the passenger-side of the transmission to the driver’s side. I imagine there are few, if any, of these shifters out there.



Originally published April 9, 2017:


More information on some of these companies can be found here: http://www.ewillys.com/2019/07/08/selectro-husky-dualmatic-overview/

White Manufacturing Co. (also known as White Automotive and Whitco over time) was started in the late 1950s by Richard T, Bingman and partners. The company progressed at a modest level making, among other things, aluminum floral display stands. Eventually, White allied with Kaiser and began making tops. White filed for incorporation in 1959. One of the company’s earliest products was a white soft top for jeeps.

The next year, in 1960, Richard T. Bingham filed a patent for a pair of locking hubs. One set would automatically shift into gear when it sensed the axles were being powered (i.e., when the transfercase was shifted into four wheel drive). The second set of hubs added a dash-mounted button to allow for control of the hubs from the driver’s seat (assuming I have interpreted the patent correctly!).

The interesting thing is that Bingham never assigned the patents to the White Automotive Company. Instead, the patents and hubs ended up being used by Thor Products, which also operated out of Colorado Springs (though sometimes the address is Manitou Springs, a small town just west of Colorado Springs).

thor-automotive-logoThis suggests that Bingham had some time of relationship with Thor, but his exact connection to Thor isn’t known at this time (my guess is that it was a subsidiary or sister company of White).

1. The Thor auto-matic hub patent vs. the finished device:

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1942 Jeep Comic Book

• CATEGORIES: Comics, Features

This 1942 souvenir Comic Book titled JEEP was spotted by Micah on eBay. It sold for $22.50 (not to me). It also included the mailing envelope, which I’m amazed still existed. Here are some pics:

From the eBay Ad:
1942 Jeep Willys MB cartoon comic Book US Army WW2 Rare Vtg Ex++ Truck Croft 40s.

Front cover has one small blemish on Bottom edge, otherwise the pagers are mint, no creasing or foxing or any signs of use, very crisp and edges nice, spine tight. 
Has been sitting in a drawer for 75 years.
Comes in the original paper sleeve.
Sleeve shoes wear and splitting but still displays nicely.


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Revolution in Pleasantville Video

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos

UPDATE: Barry worked with Periscope Films to get a higher quality version of the film and preservation of the original film. Read more here: https://www.farmjeep.com/revolution-in-farming/

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2021 Northern Ohio Flatfender Willys Gathering, Sept. 12th

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

UPDATE: This event is this weekend.

Bob Christy’s 2021 Northern Ohio Flatfender Willys Gathering takes place September 12, 2021. It should be another great event!


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2021 FC Jamboree September 10-11

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

UPDATE: Dan’s event is this weekend!

Dan’s FC Jamboree is still happening in Lake Mills, Iowa, September 10-11.


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1955 Article About Traveling in a Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old News Articles

James B Barber had this article published in the August 14, 1955, issue of the Carlsbad Current-Argus. He’d had his time in jeeps and was preferred a smooth running car.


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Instructions For A Jeep-A-Trench

• CATEGORIES: Documents, Features • TAGS: .

Thanks to Scott for scanning and sharing this rare set of instructions from a Jeep-A-Trench manual. I know there are a few of you who are interested in this.

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Go For Digger Instructions Data Plate on Ebay

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Here’s a useful item for a Go-For-Digger trencher owner.

View all the information on eBay

“Up for sale is a subdued brass plate from a Go For Digging Machine attachment for a military issued Willy’s Jeep. This brass plate 8″ x 5″ and is a really cool piece of military and Willy’s Jeep history.”




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1951 M-38 Colfax, CA $6500

• CATEGORIES: Features, M-38 • TAGS: .

This is awesome! Lots of interesting mods on this gas/service station vehicle.


“1951 Willys CJ2a
Chevy v8 conversion
Was converted to a service vehicle by local county
Has air compressor and tank, water tank and oil tank with hoses.
Everything works
Jeep runs and drives”

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Making Shop Progress II

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: A few more pics .. .made some more progress hanging tools and also built a way simple way to store cans of spray paint. I even cleaned everything out around the race jeep, so it won’t be too long before I can address those spacers again (that should answer your question Mark). Over the next few days I hope to complete the rolling work table (and removed the long narrow table). I’ve also ordered some LED shop lights, which have received favorable reviews on Amazon. I’m hoping them will give better light and be easier to hang than the big florescent ones I already have. I will report on those when I get them.

The tables with the paint on them are the free tables given away by the local high school. I scraped the gum and washed them up. I also painted the legs on two of the tables black, as they were pretty scratched.

Here, I’ve started experimenting with hanging some of the tools. The wrenches on the right are standard, while the ones on the left are metric. The peg board on the left will have wood-working tools for now. We’ll have another load of dad’s (and grandpa’s) tools in a couple weeks, which will add to the boards and the tool boxes.


The race jeep is ready to receive some attention now that it is freed from stuff.



Originally posted August 19, 2021: In between everything else, I’ve been slowly working on my workbenches and places to hang tools, etc. One bench is about 8 ft long and the other 14 ft. They are made almost entirely out of recycled wood and reused screws. Now, I can start hanging tools and organizing the remainder into tool boxes.

My next project is a large, rolling work bench that will be the same height as the work benches. After that, I need to hang some lights over the benches to provide better light. Here’s a quick look.

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Epic Willys Crew Making Progress ….

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

UPDATE: The Crew made it to Ontario, Oregon last night. They should have some beautiful weather for the remainder of their trip. Unfortunately, the group will not have the time to swing north to our place. Having done our fair share of trips, we totally understand and wish them luck!

On another note, I finally officiated the wedding this past Saturday. It went off with only one hitch … that would be me hitching them together 🙂 … this is why I never went into comedy … so, becoming a minister and marrying someone can now be checked off my bucket list!


Originally Post August 18th –The Epic Willys Crew (view on Facebook) has made considerable progress, reaching deep into Wyoming (last I saw). Despite several unscheduled stops (err .. breakdowns), the group has soldiered forward through temps reaching 100 degrees.

We expect they will arrive here in Prosser sometime midweek next week, so we’ve been making sure the place is ready. The small house has new floors and (hopefully, new interior paint). I’ve made progress on the shop and (again hopefully) I will have it somewhat organized by their arrival. With no heat domes forecast for next week, the weather should be warm and dry. Apart from preparations, Ann’s surgery recovery, her mother’s doc appointments, presiding over a wedding (this weekend) and unexpected dog issues have kept me from providing any eWillys updates.

Here are some pics from the Epic crew so far (in a fairly random order) …


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1953? Topeka Hi-Way Mower Missoula, MT $3500

• CATEGORIES: Features, Other 4x4s • TAGS: , .

Steve spotted this Topeka Hi-Way Mower. It runs and plows.


“Topeka Hi-Way mower with plow. Willy’s jeep frame. Continental motor.. Professionally rebuilt radiator, reupholstered seat, previous owner rebuilt the motor. Starts right up and runs smooth.”

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French Inventor Claims He Invented The Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features

Sam shared this interesting historical article from Hemmings. As Daniel Stroll notes, it seems odd that the inventor, Albert-Paul Bucciali, chose to sue Willys-Overland rather than Spicer. Moreover, my argument would be that it was the transferase, and not the front pinion, that was the unique key to what became the jeep, so his lawsuit was misguided no matter who he sued.


One of the vehicles Albert-Paul constructed: The Buccali TAV8-32 …

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1941 Ad Published in Time Magazine – 3 Prototypes

Mario posted this ad to Facebook. It was published September 22, 1941, in Time Magazine. It’s unique in that it shows three of the prototype jeeps .. The Bantam BRC-60, The Willys MA (2 of them), and the Ford GP. The ad was created by DeVilbiss Spray Systems of Toledo, Ohio.





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2021 Heritage New Jersey Jeep Invasion September 18th

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

Kyle let me know about Heritage New Jersey’s first Jeep invasion for pre-1986 jeeps. Learn more at the event’s website: https://www.njjpinvasion.com/heritagenjjpinvasion


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1960 Willys Motors Mailer Brochures

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

This photo shows the full set of 18 Willys Motors Mailer Tri-Fold Brochures for the year 1960. I have most, but not all of them. I did not expect that these would sell for $160 on eBay late last week!


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Garton Pedal Jeep Portland, OR $475

• CATEGORIES: Features, toys

Blaine shared this refurbed pedal jeep.


“Up for sale is a wonderful old vintage 1950’s era Garton Pedal Jeep. This was restored about 2 years ago and is in very nice shape. This is the Army version. Garton also made an Air Force version. Pedal Jeep is in great working order. It measures approx. 40 in. long x 16 1/2 in. wide x 15 in. tall. (not including the windshield frame). Overall, just a super cool and very rare Pedal Jeep”

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Garton Pedal Jeep North Branch, MN $340

• CATEGORIES: Features, toys

It needs some work.


“1950’s USA Army Jeep good condition rare”

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Unusual Clutched Hub; Possible Prototype?

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Brian posted these pics of a hub he has to FB’s Flatfendering Aficionado Monthly group. It’s not something I recognize. The work looks good enough to have been a prototype hub that never made production. It may have been an auto-engaging hub? Some commenters suggested a type of limited slip hub, where when a wheel begins to slip it auto-engages.

Brian wrote, “Has anyone ever seen these locking hub contraptions? Were these produced or is it a one-off? It appears to use 3 clutch plates and the ring in the center moves down over the roller cams to apply pressure to the plates. The covers look to be welding bottle caps that have 2 access holes to pry the collar from the outside.”

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1960 San Juan Rockies Jeep Cavalcade Brochure

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE II: A July 23, 1960, article in Grand Junction’s Daily Sentinel newspaper included a variation of the map that was published in the 1960 brochure:



UPDATE: (See the 1959 Cavalcade brochure here). 

Originally Published December 23, 2018: Many thanks to Chris for sending this wonderful Christmas present: An original 1960 3rd Annual San Juan Rockies ‘Jeep’ Cavalcade brochure he bought off of eBay. It was completely unexpected!

This tri-fold brochure opens to an 11″x17″ size, with photos, information and a map. Anyone know offhand if the entire route is still jeepable?
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Unusual Summer Hubs Redlands, CA $40

• CATEGORIES: Features, Parts • TAGS: .

These are an unusual set of Summer Hubs. I suspect they were custom made.


“Selling this pair of free wheeling hubs “summer hubs” for dana 25/27 front axle. Asking $40 plus shipping”


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1946 CJ-2A East Arlington, VT **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

This jeep recently sold, but the ad included several good photos of a Worman hardtop. Based on the door rivets, this might be the “mail carrier” model, which included roll up windows.


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