Features Research Archives

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1947 Empire Tractor (uses Willys drive train) Drexel, Mo **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Machinery, MB, Unusual • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

1947_empiretractor_drexelUPDATE: **SOLD** Was $3500.

Empire Tractors were built from parts that are also used by Willys, such as the transfercase (spicer 18), transmission (t-90), differential (spicer 25) and more.  You can learn more about the specs for these tractors here.  Note that the seller claims these were built out of surplus WWII jeeps, however the t-90 was a CJ-2A tranny, so it seems more likely to me that they shared parts with the CJ-2A rather than built from the MB.



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Reader Builds — All Jewels Flattie

• CATEGORIES: Builds, CJ-3A, Features, stainless/jewels This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

A reader wanted to share a pic of this beautiful all Jewels Flatfender he built over many years and recently sold.  He says he already is at work on another jeep.  Hopefully, he’ll provide us with some updates as works on his new project.


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Reproduction Data Decals for CJ-5

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Features, Website This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

28_autod300wWhile looking up transmissions for the T-98 post, I came across a website that has CJ-5 decals you can purchase.  The website offers VIN Stickers, Data plate decals, Tailgate decals,  and more.  The website carries a wide variety of data stickers.  Check it out.

If I wanted to use a sticker, the one to the right would work perfectly, even though it’s designed for a “3 speed Auto D300 Twin”.

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My call with Don Prine about Stainless Steel and More …

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Body Parts, Features, stainless/jewels This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I spoke with Don Prine today (12/24/08).  Don lives and runs a shop outside of Tacoma, Washington.  I quickly learned that Don is quite the character.  If I remember correctly, Don said he’s 91 years old and it’s clear to me he has no plans to retire.  He’s at the shop regularly and he’ll be there on the 26th, he told me, snow permitting.

Don’s been in the jeep business for 40+ years.  He told me stories of purchasing surplus jeeps in lots (one time 80 m38a1s), or as he put it, ‘the bank and I purchased them’.  We talked about some of the other jeeps he had purchased and  we exchanged some names of people we both knew in the Jeeping world.  Then he kindly provided me several contacts of his own in the Boise area he said I should call.  It did not take me long to figure out that Don has friends  everywhere.

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Brian goes to Vienna and all we get are jeep pics ;-)

• CATEGORIES: Features, MB, Museums This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Brian, who’s now our Visiting European Correspondent (did I mention it’s a volunteer position?), found this beautiful MB in Vienna at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum while visiting Vienna, Austria.  Brian mentions that this museum of military history contains ‘everything from 1600 on up’ that’s war related.

Brian writes:

“This jeep was extremely clean. It is in such great condition that I wondered if it is a repo-tub.   The only thing missing was the radio that mounts behind the driver.  They indicate this jeep was used for patrols.  Note the four allied flags: Russia, British, American and French; the jeep was issued to all four allied forces policing Austria and the flags denoted that no one country was ruling Austria.”



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Volkswagen Jeep Kit Sun Valley, Ca eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual, VEEP (VW Jeep), Scamp, Others This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE:  This sold for $810 on Jan 1 2009

Maybe there are more of these VW kits than I realized.  This is the fourth I’ve seen for sale this year.  While the seller claims this is a 1942 body, all the kits, including this one, appear to me to use a version of the M-38 body (or replica body).


View all the pics on eBay

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Reader Question: Wiper Shafts Too Long … Options?

• CATEGORIES: Features, How To This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

A reader wrote to me asking for some input regarding some replacement electric windshield wipers.  I couldn’t answer his question and, in fact, I’ll have the same problem once I install my electric wipers.  Here’s what he wrote:

” I just bought the electric wiper conversion kit from Omix-ada, but the instructions are limited to the wiring diagram. As you can see from the picture, the shaft length would seem to cause a problem in a direct exchange. I have thought of cutting down the shafts(inner and outer) but wonder if I’m missing something easier. I have Googled the web to see if any one has discussed the conversion, so far no luck. I wonder if you or any of your readers has used these. Any help or comments would be appreciated. Thanks Phil”

So, if anyone has any ideas, we’d both appreciate it!

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Before there were Paddle Tires

• CATEGORIES: Features, Tires and Rims This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I was looking to see if anyone has generated a list of the top 15 things (or list of some kind) you should look at when evaluating the purchase of an older flattie for an upcoming post.

While looking for such a list, I ran across this article by a Willie Worthy (it turns out he wrote a number of tire histories), a writer for Four Wheeler Magazine. He takes a quick look back at how his life has changed and how it has remained the same. One of the more interesting descriptions he provides are the old school paddle tires.

Willie writes, “my first Jeep came with some military nondirectional 6.00-16s that were replaced with some 7.00-16s in a heavy-lugged mud and snow pattern. When I bought my new CJ-5 in the fall of 1962, it came with some 7.50-15s, which I quickly sold. By now, I was into tires and building rims. The tires of choice were some passenger-car 8.20-15 recaps spread out on my homemade 8-inch-wide rims. Later, I, and just about everyone I knew, was using Armstrong’s flotation tires, or similar versions of them that were originally designed for farm implements. Traction didn’t come from the straight grooves running the circumference of the tire but from their ability to conform to an obstacle. Soon we found that cross-grooving made for much better traction. The Pismo dunes, and those at Glamis, were wide open with no restrictions, and by the mid to late ’60s, we needed more traction than these tires would provide. Before the advent of paddle tires, we would cross-groove drag slicks in various patterns and mount them on 12- to 14-inch-wide homemade rims.”

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Reader’s Build: Michael’s 1957 and 1955 Trucks

• CATEGORIES: Features, News This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Michael writes that he’s owned several jeeps through the years.  Currently, he’s got two willys trucks he’s fixed up, a ’55 and a ’57 .  As you can see from the right and the first large pic below, the ’57 seems to have wings.  Most recently, he’s purchased a couple slat grille jeeps and is looking for info about and parts for them.

“Just wanted to say thanks for all the awesome info on your website! I learned to drive at the age of 10. My parents had a 1969 Jeep Gladiator Pickup. I used to fourwheel all over in it. It was given to me on my 12th birthday after I had blown up the motor wheeling in a rock canyon very similar to the Rubicon. What a time. We towed it back with a 56 Willys Wagon.

I currently own a couple Willys pickups a 55 and a 57. I’ve owned a couple 2a’s in the past and always kick myself for selling them! I am back though and looking for any info. on parts for a couple of slat Willys. That’s how I found your website. Thanks again. I’ll send you a picture of my 57′ “treading lightly?” Also pics of both are posted on car domain under the user name of UNIVERSALWILLYS1 (although it was hurriedly done so not very prof. looking.I need the time to fix them)”

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Book Review: The Jeep (book) by the Olyslager Organisation

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Books, Features, Unique Jeeps, Unusual • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I don’t know when or where it came from, but at some point my parents obtained a book simply titled “The Jeep“.  It was mostly a picture book, which as a young kid was perfectly fine with me.  I open and looked through it many, many times. Ok, I still open it ….

However, it wasn’t just a book with a few pics of jeeps you see everyday.  Instead, it’s a slim book full of a wide range of pictures.  Of course, there’s the standard bantam, mb, seep, gpw, etc. But, there’s also, for example, 3 images of the Willys/Nuffied modified airborne jeep, seen to the right (though not from the book — it’s from a russian site — the book images of the Willys/Nuffield are at the bottom of this post).

I bring this up, as I ran across a copy of the book at the Boise Library today.  So, I snapped a few images of the pictures with my digital camera (hence the poor quality – purchase the book to see them sharply) and will post a some of them.

I haven’t asked for permission to post them (I TRIED to, but can’t find the contact info for them), so I’ll add this pitch for the book.  This book is a must for any jeep nut.  While it’s a fairly small book with only 64 pages, the collectors prices (at amazon) were hovering around $45. It’s a perfect size for your kids.  The organization responsible for publishing the book is the Olyslager Foundation (link?), which has published a number of other cool books listed at the Open Library Project.

Now for some cool, but poor quality pics to wet your appetite…

One of my favorite sections of the book show how quickly a crate jeep can be put together.  The book documents this particular group only took 3 minutes and 31 seconds to put it togther.

Check out the rest of the pics …..

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South Webster High School “Jeeps”

• CATEGORIES: Features, News This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Who woulda thunk it?  It turns out South Webster High School in Ohio adopted the Jeep mascot more than 50 years go.  Though it’s not jeep the vehicle, rather it’s Jeep from Popeye, it’s still cool in my book.

“Before 1940, South Webster High School athletic teams had no official name, although local sportswriters sometimes referred to them as the “midgets.

However, in 1940 the rules of basketball, by accident, helped to produce the mighty JEEP. By the rule in 1940, coaches were not permitted on the playing floor to instruct players. Coaching had to be done prior to the start of the game or at half-time. During rest periods between the first and third quarters of play the team manager at South Webster would roll a small box onto the court to supply players with refreshments and first-aid materials. However, the coach at South Webster was accused (and rightly so perhaps) of sending in plays and instructive notes in this little four-wheeled box. Local fans were positive that when that little box was sent onto the floor, players were getting more than refreshments. Everyone knew that the box contained answers to the problems being presented by the opposing team.

Also in 1940, a favorite comic strip contained a character who knew everything. In 1936, the charater of “Eugene the Jeep,” a small bright-eyed creature from Africa who was all-knowing, was introduced into the “Popeye” comic strip. Popeye gave the Jeep to his girlfriend, Olive Oyl, as a birthday gift. The Jeep, whose diet consisted of orchids, helped popeye solve many difficult situations in his comic strip career.

Since the JEEP was all-knowing, some local South Webster people associated the coach’s box, containing messages to his players, with the comic strip character.

According to, what is now legend, the late Mayor of South Webster, Mr. Gilbert Havener, is credited as the first person to label the box as the “JEEP BOX.” The sports editor of The Portsmouth Times (now Daily Times), Lynn Wittenberg, picked up the term and used it in describing South Webster’s 1940 Scioto Country Tournament team.

The mascot was never officially adopted, but has been, since 1940, generally accepted….”

Learn More Here

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Flatfender Brewing Company

• CATEGORIES: Features, News This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Here’s a jeeper who turned 2 passions (beer and jeeping) into a business.  Learn more about Flatfender Brewing.

“We are an online,  local, & delivery service for all of your homebrew needs. We are located in Crescent City Ca . This is 15 miles south of the California Oregon border & about 1 mile from the pacific ocean. Our town is surrounded by huge redwood trees & one of the cleanest rivers in the United States. We can order anything you might need that we do not stock.  I am Brian & i am know as “jeepguy” on forums & in a pc game i play called battlefield 1942. I also like jeeps & like to build & wheel them.”

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• CATEGORIES: Features, Website This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I stumbled upon the farmjeep website this morning.  It includes two extensive rebuilds, one about Ole Blue and one about Old Yeller.  Both appear to have been in poor shape when they ‘retrieved’ them.  Fortunately, the site authors have documented the restorations well.  Also, a nice jeep family history is part of the site, including an image of a jeep with side skirts, something I’ve never seen before.

For those into farm jeep implements, the site includes a great list of vintage farm jeep ads and an overview of farming aides for the jeep, including PTOs, lifts and more.


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Increasing old Jeep Sales and the Economy

• CATEGORIES: Features, News This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Christopher made an interesting point in one his comments.  He mentioned that he’s seeing more jeeps for sale.  Well, oh boy, did this get me thinking ….. and while this is tangentially related to jeeps, it more about my thoughts on the economy.

I agree wholeheartedly with Christopher.  I believe the number of flat fenders appearing for sale is greater now, and the prices better, than I’ve seen since I started following them (which is only 2 years mind you).  Most of the ads appear to have the same theme, ‘don’t want to sell but need the money’.  Now, I don’t keep actual stats on this, but I have been pondering ways to do this without it being a time burden …

Combing Trends

When I combine the jeep sale trend I see with the recent October filings for unemployment insurance (highest in 16 years) and the record drop in October US house sales (worst in 50 years), plus the number of job applications per job here in Boise, I get the feeling the economy is still heading downward.

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Reader Builds — More on Paul’s 1944 MB

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Paul has supplied us with some additional pics and an explanation of the mounting system.  You can view the full article about Paul’s jeep here.

“The first pic with the hood open shows the two Dzus (brand name) (learn how to pronounce Dzus) fasteners which help hold the hood down when inserted into the brackets shown in the 2nd pic.  The brackets are just above the yellow ignition coil and next to the master cylinder.  I also use another fastener (for a total of 4 to hold the hood) on the back side of the flat fenders.  The last image shows another view of the ½” pipe as it is bolted to the top side of the flat fenders. ”

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Jeep Thrills visits the Jawadhu Hills

• CATEGORIES: Features, News This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Siva has updated his blog with a recent trip to the Jawadhu Hills by a few members of the Jeep Thrills jeep club.  One of the more interesting differences between jeeping in the U.S. and jeeping in India may be summed up by Siva,  “Jawadhu hills has around 270 mountain villages, people in these villages needs to walk for 4kms to 20kms to reach the main road.”  So, the terrain may be remote, yet you may still find yourself passing the occasional pedestrian or stopping for lunch at a local village after traveling over difficult terrain.  Thanks for the update Siva!

I tried to locate the Jawadhu Hills, but instead found the Javadhu Hills near Vellore that lie between two rivers, Ponnaiyar and Palar.  Is that the correct location?  Vandavasi, where you had breakfast, is near there.

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My Build — The Seats

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

A reader just received a 1951 CJ-3A. Since the seats in it weren’t something he wanted, he asked what I had done for seats. I realized I hadn’t really covered the topic, so here’s what I did and why I did it.

As you probably know, my first jeep was built from an ex fiberglass racing jeep (oh where oh where did those pictures go). From that jeep I used the body, frame, roll cage and seats as the foundation for what became my first jeep (which I called the ‘great escape’). The fiberglass seats were mounted on a 2 1/2″ pipe that was welded to the frame. A hole was cut through the bottom of the body and the pipe stuck through the body (not only did the thickness of the body help keep the pipes from moving, but the pipes held the body in place — a nice synergistic effect). On the upper end of the pipe were threads. Onto those threads a square platform was screwed onto the pipe. The seats were screwed onto the platform. It’s a one size fit’s me approach that works for me and people of similar size. The back of the seats were then bolted to a plate that connected to a bar that was part of the rollcage. So, those seats did not move. They were solid, despite their thin profile.

Because the seats were already there and they seemed to fit me fine, I went ahead and used them as is. As I raced, drove it every day, and used it in the trails, the positioning of the seats was perfect. I felt secure and tight when I raced, I never got uncomfortable during long drives, my back never got sore, and there was enough padding for enduring the trails. For me, those were some of the most perfect driving seats I have ever used.

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Preproduction Civilian Jeeps — A Great Book!

• CATEGORIES: Books, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

After reading the book review about “Preproduction Civilian Jeeps” from Jim Allen on Derek Redmond’s CJ-3B site (scroll to mid-page), I decided to purchase the book.  While I’m hesitant about purchasing jeep books, due to the fact that the images are often reprints of images I’ve already seen or that the text isn’t all that informative, Jim’s review intrigued me enough to spur me to action.

Thankfully, I was extremely happy with the book I received.  Frederic Coldwell’s Preproduction Civilian Jeeps manages to avoid the traps I mention above, producing a text that’s rich in information, details and images that are both unique and investigative.   In fact, the book is down right humbling.  I thought I knew jeeps pretty well, but reading this book taught me what I didn’t know about what I didn’t know.

Though each chapter is full of information, I think my favorite chapter was the final one, where Fred reveals how photographs have been altered by marketing staffs during the 40s so that the jeep that’s pictured in the photograph looks more like the Willys being sold to the public.   In some ways it’s a test; by the final chapter, has the reader learned enough to tell what the marketing department did to change the original images and why they did it?

I’m thinking I will paint in white ‘X2008’ on the rear bumper.  Read the book to learn why 🙂

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1977 Russian UAZ 469-B San Diego, CA **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay

For that 4×4 collector that has almost everything?

“You are bidding on a very hard to find 1977 UAZ 469-B, 4X4, Ex- Russian Military Jeep VIN# 203815. The 2.5 L gasoline motor with only 40,000 KM runs very good. It has a 4-speed manual transmission with a high, neutral and low range transfer case. These trucks are rugged and simple 4X4’s, very popular in the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.”

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Brian’s Military Jeeps has moved to WWIIJeepParts.com

• CATEGORIES: Features, Website This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Brian’s Mililtary Jeeps website can now be found at http://www.wwiijeepparts.com/.  If you haven’t visited the site, you really should.  Brian has a wealth of information and details throughout the site.  For example,’What is Cosmoline?‘ is a question I never thought to ask, because I’d never heard of it; However, Brian not only knows to ask, but also has a ready answer! Below is Brian’s description of his website.

“The WWII Military Jeep Website – Dedicated to restoring WWII Jeeps – the MB, GPW – mfg. by Willys & Ford from 1941 – 1945, and outfitting them with proper parts, accessories, accouterments and militaria. MB/GPW, Slat Grill, “F” Script and other Rare Parts For Sale & Trade. “

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Four Wheeling Plus in Ellensburg, Wa

• CATEGORIES: Features, News This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Four Wheeling Plus owner Ron Dunn Jr. is moving his shop to a smaller location, so he says he has some great deals on a variety of products.  You can learn more from the PNW4WDA website or go to his website.

“Yes I am selling my shop but NO I am not going out of business. I am selling my 6000 square foot shop that is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere and I hope to buy/lease a smaller building in town where I will get more foot and drive up traffic.”

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My Build — Oops, My Alternator Bolt is a Bit Too Long

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Well, the best laid plans… While puzzling through the charging system, I decided I needed to pull off my alternator so I could determine exactly which kind of alternator I had (Delco 10SI 63 Amp — Determine your GM alternator).  As I pulled out the long bottom bolt upon which the alternator pivots, I discovered a problem: There wasn’t enough room to pull out the bolt.  Even after clipping a hole in my electric radiator framework, I still ran directly into the radiator (see the pic to the right).  Fortunately, I discovered can undo the radiator, shift it somewhat, and then can pull out the bolt far enough to let the alternator slip away.  So, at least I have a method, though elegant it isn’t!

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Fiberglass Race Body and Desert Dog/Coop Tires Eatonville, Wa **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Body Parts, Features, Racing, Tires and Rims • TAGS: , , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.


If you are doing some PNW racing, here’s some good stuff for you.  Plenty of tread on those tires.  The body comes with fenders, hood and grille.

“Bobcat willys flat fender race body complete with seperate fenders hood and grill. Has removalable tailgate and no floor. Very good condition.$700.00

4 co-op front tires. 2 are brand new, 2 have 1 race and 1 spare. 10 desert dogs 2 are brand new and the rest are 60% and 85-90%. $1000.00 for all. Must take all tires. Will not separate.”

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My Build — Progress: Wiring & Lights

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Over the past couple of days I’ve continued to make progress.  I’ve got the headlights and taillights installed.  The headlights had an unexpected complication:  It turned out the modern 5 1/2″ bulb wouldn’t sit correctly into the 50 year old mount, so I had to encourage a better fit with my grinder.

NOTE:  One set of items I don’t seem to have are front turn signals.  I’d like to find a set of the cone turn signals that I believe were on a mid 60s Willys truck like these.  If you know of any, please let me know where I can find some.

With the lights attached, I started the wiring process.  My main goal is to make it as easy as possible to unattach the body for painting or repair purposes.  So, for example, after installing the taillights I ran a flexible tube along the body using some sheet metal screws so that all the rear lighting stayed attached to body.  Anytime wiring needs to cross from the body to the frame, engine, etc, I’m trying to bridge it with some kind of plug.  So far so good.

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My Build — Front Shocks and Shock Mounts

• CATEGORIES: Biscuit, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

I stopped by Buck’s 4×4 shop here in Boise yesterday and picked up some BDS Shocks.  My measurements showed I needed a pair of shocks that had a compressed size of approx 15″ and a maximum size of approx 25″.  It only took them a few minutes to find what I needed.  Best of all, the price was right — under $100.

Now that I had shocks, I could finally create the front shock mounts, something I’ve put off for a few months. I knew I wanted something similar to what I used last time for shock mounts.  On my last jeep I took some 1/2″ steel that was 4″ wide and bent it using a 10′ tube pipe and dad’s huge vice (firmly attached to a 1000lb bench).  The result were mounts that attached to the side of the frame, rounding up and out.  I liked the effect, so for this jeep I wanted to do something similar.  Instead of the steel I used last time, I took a piece of 1/4″ x 5.5″ x 6′ piece of steel I salvaged from my sisters’ farm and created my shock mounts from that.

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