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The Parkette and The Bobcat Body

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , , .
My beautiful picture

Paul Parker, maker of the Parkette bodies, racing up a hill climb in Calgary in the summer of 1970. Photo courtesy of Ed Bray.

This is a companion article for the Fred Weis and Bobcat Body post. Much of this history is built from conversations, emails and comments on eWillys. I welcome corrections and additions.

In the late 1960s Fred Weis, who I understand ran a fiberglass products company, experimented with a fiberglass jeep design until he found one he liked. At the time he had been jeeping and jeep racing for a decade as part of the Cascade 4×4 Jeep Club. His first complete body was completed in 1969. By 1970, he was ready to produce them for resale. Fred’s bodies were built to be rugged, using fiberglass and wood.

The body was not intended to be an exact replica of the original body; instead, it met the needs outlined by Fred, who styled them (i would guess) to make them a little cooler. For example, the side steps reached the length of the body bend. The rim around the body edge was wider. The dash came with no holes. At some point, the body could be purchased with or without a tailgate and with or without a floor.

Fred also came up with two custom fiberglass raised hoods that provided more room in the engine compartment. One was a teardrop design (few were made) and the other was highly recognizable.

Long time jeeper Paul Parker decided to get into the fiberglass body business about the same time as Fred, so according to Ed Bray, Paul joked about buying Fred’s bodies, adding a side stripe, and calling them Parkettes. Another source told me that Paul did indeed do this, which led to a falling out to some degree between Fred and Paul.

Paul, who had been in the jeep parts business with his brother in Georgia before moving to the Tacoma area, began to build his own Parkette fiberglass tubs out of molds he built. They were very similar to Fred’s body. The biggest difference was that Paul’s jeep included a side stripe, similar to a hockey stick, that was designed to make the body side more rigid and set it apart from Fred’s body. Besides the side stripe, the body of the Parkette was better designed to fit the curve of the CJ-3A windshield. Fred’s body did not support the windshield well at all (I know this from personal experience with my Bobcat body).

You can see the Parkette stripe “hockey stick” on the side of the body. This was likely just a racing shell, given the lack of a tailgate. 

A family friend ran into the windshield issue as well.  Jim Carter bought a Bobcat body in the early 70s. The body arrived rough. The Carter’s sanded and primered the body, but when it came time to mount the windshield, Jim discovered it didn’t fit. He was angry. Many phone calls ensued. Next, Jim turned to Paul Parker, eventually buying a Parkette body. Jim, Pattie, and their two boys raced, trailed and streeted the jeep for years.


Early 70s photo of the Carter family’s “Otis” not long after the new Parkette body was installed.

At some point, Fred passed the business and molds on to someone else. The Bobcat molds were divided into at least two groups. I have some of the molds. I hope some day to make my own Parkette body.


A Parkette racing shell mold sits in the middle. A CJ-3B shell is at the far side. A floor is shown in the foreground (I believe that’s a 3B floor).

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1945 Photo Correspondent Robert Massell on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

UPDATE: Here’s another photo with Robert Massell in it.

“An original to the WWII time period photograph. Measures approximately 2.5″ x 2.5″ inches. This photo belonged to US War Correspondent Robert Massell who reported on the war from overseas for ABC’s Blue Network Company. He traveled throughout Germany with reporters such as Howard K. Smith-CBS, Robert Barr-BBC, Noel Monks- London Daily Express, Frank Conniff INS, and Bjorn Bjornson-NBC. ”

View all the information on eBay


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Color WWII Photos

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

Blaine shared two links that show color WWII photos from 1943 Italy, including the one below.

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527908/Road-Rome-Rare-photos-chronicle-valiant-Allied-efforts-World-War-IIs-brutal-Italian-Campaign.html
  2. http://time.com/3881461/world-war-ii-in-color-photos-italian-campaign/


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Jeep Smoking Pipe on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Here’s another Jeep-smoking pipe. These jeep pipes don’t appear very often. You can view two other examples here.

“This little pipe looks unused and is a WWII souvenir brought back by a US GI. The wooden part is about 2.5 inches long. See photo. This was in my WWII toy display for many years. It would look great in your toy JEEP or real JEEP collection. Made in FRANCE!”

View all the information on eBay


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Dana 18 & OD Los Gatos, CA $200

• CATEGORIES: Features

This look like an inexpensive way to test out whether the BW OD works well in a flattie. That’s a short driveline!

“Dana spicer 18 with borg Warner overdrive and shortend drive shaft for Jeep works for cj2a mb gpw early cj5 or any other vehicle with a Dana 18. I never installed this was going to use it in my gpw but changed my mind. It has been sitting awhile”



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1951 DeAnza Trail Jeep Cavalcade

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

1951-07-motortrend-jeep-gymkhana-calvacade-pg1-1The May 1951 issue of Motor Trend captured the 3rd Annual DeAnza Trail Jeep Cavalcade. The author titled the article “Jeep Gymkhana”, possibly attempting to reference timed automobile or equestrian contents designed to test driving skill, though to my knowledge the Cavalcade was not a timed event.

1951-07-motortrend-jeep-gymkhana-calvacade-title1951-07-motortrend-jeep-gymkhana-calvacade-text-lores 1951-07-motortrend-jeep-gymkhana-calvacade-pg1-2 1951-07-motortrend-jeep-gymkhana-calvacade-pg1-3



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Conch Jeep Train Key West, Florida

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Mark shared this closeup photo of the Jeep Train ‘Engine’.


Original Post — Jan 19, 2013: Here’s a jeep train out of Key West, the ‘world famous ‘Conch Tour Train‘.  You can still find the Conch Tour Trains wandering Key West.  Here’s a picture of one.  It looks to be a CJ-5.  Here’s an article about them.


Vintage Conch Tour Train Pics:  Check out all those shrimp boats in the background. you can just make out the jeep trapped under the shell of the train body.

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/77312.  Picture taken by Barron, Charles.


State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/77286.  Picture taken by Barron, Charles.


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Jeep Promo-Kit Sammamish, WA $50

• CATEGORIES: Features

Ted shared this one. It’s on the newer side, but for $50, seems like a cool thing to have in your jeep (old or new).

“Jeep promotional toolkit from 2006. In a plastic case with hatchet, multitool, knife, etc.”




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1943 Photo of Slat Grille in Italy on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Not much info on this road’s location other than Italy.

“1943 Press Photo A jeep rolls up the newly finished Italian Road. This is an original press photo. A jeep rolls up the newly finished Italian Road Photo measures 7.75 x 7.25 inches. Photo is dated 10-15-1943.”

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1954 Photo of Early Mighty Mite? on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Mighty Mites, Old Images

The hood and windshield on this jeep are different from the standard Mighty Mite. This may have been an early prototype. See the photo at the bottom for another view of a vehicle that may be one until earlier than the vehicle in the press photo. (the one in the press photo is #179849).

“1954 Press Photo Jeep being loaded into Sikorsky XHR25 helicopter, Connecticut. This is an original press photo. Three loaded jeeps or 26 men can be carried by a new giant helicopter demonstrated at Bridgeport, Connecticut, Monday. The Sikorsky XHR25 is being built in quantity for the armed forces. It has twin engines, retractable landing gear and rotors that fold, making it easy to handle aboard aircraft carriers. It will fly faster than 150 miles an hour. (Aero-Helicopter) Photo measures 10 x 7 inches. Photo is dated 01-19-1954.”

View all the information on eBay

1954-01-19-mighty-mite-prototype1 1954-01-19-mighty-mite-prototype2

This is #197848 (from G503): http://forums.g503.com/viewtopic.php?t=195524



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Willys Rally May 18th-20th

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

Casey shared this followup reminder about the Willys Rally. They expect a bigger crowd this year due to the recent JP Magazine article.


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1952 Story About Boy Scout Trip in a Willys Truck

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Scott shared a link to this 1952 story about eleven Boy Scouts who drove for 73 days across the country and back in a single Willys truck. It’s worth a read:


Here’s how the story begins: “In the summer of 1952 I was one of 11 Boy Scouts from Glen Ridge who joined Troop 3 Scoutmaster George Gimbel on a 73-day cross-country adventure. The trip took in 22states and two Canadian provinces. Nineteen fifty-two was years before the construction of the Interstate Highway System, so all of our travel was via state and local roads. We saw the country up-close. We camped out every night in national parks, state forests, and Boy Scout camps.”


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4 Door Wagon w/ Suicide Rears

• CATEGORIES: Features, Willys Wagons • TAGS: .

Scramboleer Dan shared an Old Willys Forum thread that has pics and a discussion of a 1954 four door wagon that has two rear suicide doors. Later on, the thread contains a video link with Paul Barry sharing a photo of a 3 door wagon with one rear suicide door. At this point, the unknown question is … was this modified at the factory, at Fairmont, or somewhere else? In the meantime, we all seem to be unanimous in our jealously of the new owner 🙂

http://www.oldwillysforum.com/forum/showthread.php?13094-Suicide-door-Wagon-Does-exist (there are more pics in the thread)

1954-wagon-4dr-suidicide-doors3 1954-wagon-4dr-suidicide-doors2 1954-wagon-4dr-suidicide-doors

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Maury’s New Batter Topper

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Maury share how he tackled making his new-style battery look old school. you can follow the thread at earlyCJ5.com.



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1943 Photo of China/Burma/India Theatre on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

This is nicely framed.

“1943 Press Photo Chinese Soldiers In American Jeeps On The Move In Jungle Road. This is an original press photo. Chinese soldiers in American Jeeps on the move along a jungle road. Photo measures 9 x 7.25 inches. Photo is dated 10-22-1943.”

View all the information on eBay

1943-10-22-china-burma-india1 1943-10-22-china-burma-india2

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Hemet Jeep Club Cavalcade Photos

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Old Images Jeeping

These photos appeared in the 2008 book HEMET, part of which was scanned into Google Books. In this case, the captions suggest that these were photos of the first cavalcade (listed in the caption as ’48, but ’49 according to a long-tim club member),

To me it looks as if there’s at least two M-38A1s, but I can’t confirm that with this lo-res image. The year credited is 1954.

The caption suggests this was taken in 1948, but the CJ-3A shown at the front places the next two photos later than that. In fact, the CJ-3A pictured appears also appears in the 1949 photos from Life Magazine. So, these were most likely taken in April of 1949.2008-hemet-book-cavalcade-photo22008-hemet-book-cavalcade-photo3

An M-38A1 (or CJ-5) can be seen in the background, suggesting this is at least 1952 or later.2008-hemet-book-cavalcade-photo4


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Walt Disney’s Gem Mineral Club Decal

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features

This 4″ Walt Disney gem hunter’s decal is on eBay (I offered $20, seller countered with $25). Apparently, this may have been tangentially connected to the Mineral King project. Unbeknownst to me, in late 1965 Disney was awarded the right to develop the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park. Originally, this area was at the edge of the park, but now the NP encompasses that valley and more. It’s a pretty interesting story. Fun fact: The Country Bear Jamboree was originally designed for Mineral King. The Audio-Animatronic bears were planned as entertainers for one of the restaurants.

View all the information on eBay


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Vintage 4WD Hardware Sign in Ohio on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features

UPDATE: Still Available for $250.

(12/08/2018) Steve spotted this cool sign. Has to be picked up in person. Has a little bit of damage.

View all the information on eBay



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Throwing Wrenches: A New Youtube Show

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos

Merlin Hanson, Mike Gardner, and Joe Beadenkopf will be headlining a new youtube show called Throwing Wrenches. Merlin and Joe joined us for the trip to Alaska. Most folks probably don’t know Joe. A testament to Joe’s mechanical ability is that he’s driven his modified CJ-3B across the US and back (a couple years ago) and all the way from Maryland to Alaska and back (via Portland) last year without issue. He also drove farther in his jeep than any other Alaska Or Rust participant.

Here’s the inaugural video. Mike tells a nice story while driving at the end of this episode:

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1945 Early 2A Press Photo on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Another introductory press photo of the CJ-2A.

“This Press photo measures 8×10 inches. Date 7-20-1945.”

View all the information on eBay



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Aluminum? Body Willits, CA $2500

• CATEGORIES: Body Parts, Features

Bill spotted this one. Seller indicates it is aluminum, but to me it looks more like stainless and galvanized steel parts. I’d be the body is a little longer than standard, too. It includes a variety of other parts.

“Hi, I have an Aluminum Jeep Body the body and the frame are in good condition. Motor ran when I pulled it has been sitting out in the weather for a couple of years has been tarped only the past 2 years has it not been tarped. Some of the parts I think are rusted too use any more. Most of the ports in the motor have been taped over. I don’t know the year of this jeep body. No title. 2,500 O.B.O. Please do not email me. Feel free to call or text me with any questions and I will get back to you as soon as I can.”


year-body-stainless-aluminum-ca0 year-body-stainless-aluminum-ca1 year-body-stainless-aluminum-ca2 year-body-stainless-aluminum-ca3 year-body-stainless-aluminum-ca4

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Lawrence Elliott’s Jeeps

• CATEGORIES: Features

Maury spent some time with Lawrence Elliott, a retired jeep mechanic, and took a few photos of him with his jeeps. Lawrence also re-manufactures bell cranks with bearings, so Maury was curious about that, too (see an example here). I’m hoping to visit both during my trip east this May.

Maury writes, “Lawrence thinks he’s owned about 28 jeeps over the years. Now, he has an early 1960’s(?) jeep truck that he has turned into a nice restomod, with a Chevy V6 engine and Ford 9″ rear axle, among many other modifications. He also has a CJ6 under build, as well as an M38A1, which have Chevy motors as well. On the CJ6, he created an adapter to mount a Ford Ranger steering box to replace the original Ross gearbox.”

Blow are a few pics of Lawrence and his vehicles.

2018-01-20-lawrence1 2018-01-20-lawrence2 2018-01-20-lawrence3 2018-01-20-lawrence4


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1944 Photo of Allan Robertson in Florence, Italy on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images

UPDATE: This one is back on eBay.

(11/05/2017) Seeing that “Beware” sign has got to be intimidating!

“1944 Press Photo Private Allan Robertson drives a jeep in Florence Italy

This is an original press photo. Driving this jeep through a street in Florence, Private Allan Robertson, Birmingham, Ala., pauses to read a “Beware Enemy Snipers” sign on the side of a building. Photo measures 9 x 7.25 inches. Photo is dated 8-19-1944.”

View all the information on eBay

1944-08-19-roberts-italy1 1944-08-19-roberts-italy2