Unusual Research Archives

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The Lightweights: Ford, Crosley, Willys, Kaiser, Chev, Nuffield, & Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Airborne Lightweight Jeeps, Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

During World War II, trying to get vehicles, especially Jeeps, onto the ground where military personnel could use them was of paramount importance for obvious reasons. But, how to accomplish that goal was less clear. A variety of strategies were used. One idea that was opened up to bids by companies was a program to create an air-droppable Jeep, a lightweight jeep-like vehicle known as extra lights (EL) or lightweight jeeps or jeeplets that could be boxed and flown into areas where they were needed.

Similar to the original jeep prototype program, where multiple companies (in that case Bantam, Ford and Willys) submitted prototypes and pilots for review and testing, during World War II the military announced their lightweight jeep program and welcomed designs from a variety of manufacturers.

This program resulted in a variety of different vehicles that have been showcased across the web, mostly through old photos. In the article below I organize them using newer photos (whenever possible) to provide the most up-to-date look at most of these vehicles (I don’t have pics of all versions of every vehicle).  For a fuller story of the history behind the lightweights, check out this 1977 article from Hemmings.

The image below shows a photo taken by Patrick Coovert in 2008 at Hallsville, Ohio. In order, from left to right are a CT3 Crosley Pup, the Chevrolet Extra Light (CEL), Willys WAC (Willys Air Cooled), and a Kaiser Extra Light (KEL). These are just a few of the jeeps developed.

1. THE LIGHTWEIGHT CROSLEYS: (More info on the Pup here)

CT-3 Pup: According to Hemmings, 36 Crosley CT-3 Pups were built during 1942 and purchased for testing in several locations. of the 36, 6 of these would make the trip to Europe.  This would make the Pup the most successful of all the early lightweights produced.  The Pup had a 2-cylinder 13hp engine air cooled motor and weighed 1125 lbs. Hemmings notes, “they could only carry the driver and one passenger, and the military testers, initially enthusiastic about the Pup, found weak steering knuckles, weak springs and a weak steering column.

The Crosley Auto Club claims are at least 7 known to still exist (their text has since been updated to indicate that ‘several’ are known to exist).  One is housed at the museum in Ft. Eustis, Va, and one at the Mighty Eight Air Force Museum in Pooler, Ga.   These were taken by a Flickr User name Skeggy at the Mighty Eight Museum.

Here’s an image from the 2006 MPVA convention in Dayton, Oh, and uploaded to webshots by haasjo

2. NUFFIELD:

I have not located much information about the Nuffield, though it was featured in one of my early favorite book called The Jeep. I believe this was based primarily on Willys parts, though it was lightened as much as possible, with a removable steering wheel and fold down windshield to maximize compactness.  The tests of this were successful, though it was deemed unnecessary by the time it was completed in 1944. Nuffield would go on to develop another 4wd vehicle called the Nuffield Gutty.

Here are some images of an exact copy (as possible) of the Nuffield lightweight jeep from a british website.

And some photos of the original:

3. CHEVROLET EXTRA LIGHT (CEL): Hemmings reports Chevrolet developed 2 prototypes with an “Indian 90-degree V-2” 45.44 cid motor.  They adapted it from the Indian Military motorcycle. One prototype is located in the Militia Museum of New Jersey.  This image was taken by Bill Maloney.

This image was taken at the 2006 MPVA Convention by hassjo and uploaded to webshots.

Here’s an image of the CEL this is in a variety of places.

4. KAISER: There were several versions of the Kaiser Extra Lightweight Jeep.  Mark Askew in his Rare WW2 Jeep book has images of a couple different versions.  For example, the Kaiser ‘midjet’ weighed about 1370lbs and the ‘1160’ weighed 1520lbs.

Hemmings has several articles about the Kaisers, including Kaiser’s Jeeplet, Kaiser Lightweight Spotted, and a general article about the Search for Junior Jeeps.

The below pic was uploaded to webshots by haasjo:

5. FORD “JUNIOR JEEP”: This prototype still exists and is owned by Ted Wisniewski of Belleville, Michigan and was highlighted in an article at Hemmings. A commenter to the article noted he had done some jeep research in the Ford archives and uncovered a wooden model of this prototype, images of which I  have never seen.

From Fred Crimson’s Book “U.S. Military Wheeled Vehicles,”, via the Hemmings website, comes this paragraph explaining more about Ford’s prototype.

“For reasons which can only be speculated on, the little miniature Jeep was not entered in the competition, and the tests proceeded without Ford’s contribution. The engine for this vehicle was a 71 cubic inch agricultural tractor powerplant which produced good torque, but not much horsepower. Perhaps ford realized that the combination of low horsepower and downsized components resulted in an unacceptable vehicle. The other manufacturers did not seem to realize this until the tests were completed and all vehicles had failed. The tires were 5.00x17s with agricultural type tread. It was a clean and well integrated design, even if the offset grille looks a little strange. The radiator had been offset to allow clearance for the steering column. A blackout driving light is recessed below the left headlamp.”

6. WILLYS: Naturally, Willys also developed a series of light jeeps.  Here are a few. Mark’s Rare WW2 Jeeps has some pics of both the Willys MB-L and L2. From Jedsite.info had a photo of the first MB-L. It’s also known as the “Gypsy Rose Lee” Jeep (Unity Magazine, Dec 1947).

willys-mb-l-jedsite-info

Here’s a photo of the Willys MB-L2:

mb_l2_willys

and a photo of the MB-L2 next to a standard MB

willys-mbl-and-mb

Willys Pilot WAC or Jeeplet (harley davidson engine) uploaded to webshots by haasjo

Willys WAC or Jeeplet (harley davidson engine)

Willys Aero Jeep (bobcat).  This looks very similar to the CJ-4 prototype.

There were others too.  The Mighty Mite was a version of a lightweight Jeep.  A company that built German Krakas delivered a few hundred of these vehicles to bundeswehr for testing. And, South Africa employed an airborne jeep called the Jakkal. This 500lb four wheel drive folding airborne ‘jeep’ was tested. Pics appeared in the July 1958 Issue of Popular Mechanics (Pg 83).

The MB/GPW Glider (very unique story):

I’ve never run across another reference to this story, but Sam (who runs the Motor Pool) shared a story from his friend Lee (recently deceased) about an experimental Jeep Glider.  Not unlike the Rotabuggy, which was a jeep transformed into a helicopter, the Government also transformed a Jeep into Glider, built to carry 8 personnel plus the jeep.  The Army accomplished this by attaching glider pieces to a jeep.  The jeep was then pulled into the air, like any other glider, and it would fly to a landing spot.  Once down, charges would be ignited and the pieces would fall off. The Jeep could then drive away.

Unfortunately, while the tests were successful in the U.S. in anticipation of the D-Day invasion, a test of the glider system in Britain failed to the point that the army considered this idea unfeasible, with the differences in climate said to be the main reason they succeeded in the US and failed in Britain.

I have yet to run across any photos or drawings of this project, but perhaps someone else has?

General links

  1. Hemmings.com’s Search for the Junior Jeep is a good article for lightweight jeep history.
  2. Rare WW2 Jeeps, by Mark Askew, has a variety of lightweight photos.
  3. Jeeps 1941-45 By Steen Zaloga
  4. Jeep by Jim Allen
 
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“The Kitchen of the Undesired Animal”

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features, Industrial-Welder-Generator, International, Unusual • TAGS: .

Nicolle from Amsterdam facebooked me this morning. He wanted to share his jeeps, which both have tiny kitchens in the rear. Based on the food I saw on his Facebook Page, he doesn’t need a large kitchen to create great looking food. When I asked him to interpret the sign on his jeep, he said it translated as “The Kitchen of the Undesired Animal”.

nicolle-schatborn-kitchen-of-undesired-animal7 nicolle-schatborn-kitchen-of-undesired-animal2 nicolle-schatborn-kitchen-of-undesired-animal6 nicolle-schatborn-kitchen-of-undesired-animal5

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1944 GPW Woodside, CA $4200

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

Besides missing the rear of the jeep, it doesn’t have ww2 axles. So, I would suggest looking this over carefully.

“1944 GPW military flat fender Jeep – 5 new all directional tires (military stock) – runs perfect – 12 volt conversion – clean title and current registration –

contact casey 408-690-9183

PS: This is cash and carry ONLY – don’t bother me with the BS stories of being away, or being on an off-shore rig, or having your “agent” be in touch – I will not reply and simply forward your email to the scam and phishing folks at craigslist and local law enforcement.”

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/3663120802.html

1944-gpw-woodside-ca1 1944-gpw-woodside-ca2 1944-gpw-woodside-ca3 1944-gpw-woodside-ca4

 
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1974 CJ-5 Sandusky, OH $49,000

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Unusual • TAGS: , , .

Bob forwarded this unusual CJ-5. I think calling this a custom CJ-5 is an understatement. The price is surprising.

“For Sale by owner. http://www.MyJeepForSale.com. 1974 CJ5 Classic Jeep. One of a kind Jeep. $49,000. Mileage: ~ 15,200. Original Owner. Stored in Heated Garage. Recently restored/repainted. Different from every other jeep in the world! Significantly different dual rear wheels. Call Sheila at 419-626-1979 x200 .

See us at YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxaGHeYApjA

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/3609650386.html

1974-cj5-dually-sandusky-oh3 1974-cj5-dually-sandusky-oh2 1974-cj5-dually-sandusky-oh1

 
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1942 MB Monster Truck in Australia $3500

• CATEGORIES: MB, Unusual

Josh spotted this Monster jeep.

“1950s willys jeep , monster truck
steel body
suit restore
350 chev v8
toyota differentials
truck drum brakes
custom suspension set up ,long coils ,long shockers anchor points for multiple shockers
custom jeep wheels mated to excavator rims with bridgestone excavator tyres
possible trade or swap”

View all the information and pics at Carpoint

mb-monster-truck-australia

 
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Article about ACF Brill Model C-10 Bus built on Willys Chassis

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, Unusual, Willys Wagons

UPDATE: Guy found some great links regarding this Bus, which was also known as Jitney (see Steve’s links in the comments).  According to a New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center report dated September, 2010, there is no known C-10 in any collection.  The ATHS society believes at least 25 buses were built.  The Chassis is Willys, the Body is from ACF-Brill, and the model is C-10.  

1949-acf-brill-c10-willys-bus-aths-org

This picture from Flickr shows the bus was branded Willys on the front. I was surprised to see that.

1949-acf-brill-c10-willys-bus-flickr

From 02/07/2013: This 1947article shows an example of ACF Brill Model C-10 Bus built on a Willys Chassis. Anyone heard or seen one of these? At least a few went to Atlantic City. These were designed as small, inexpensive buses for marginal lines.

View all the information on eBay

1949-ACF-brill-jeep-chassis-article1

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1948? CJ-3B Lake George, NY **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, CJ-3B, Unusual • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $2000.

(08/15/2012) Take a close look at the pics of this. It’s unusual.  I like the body work on the hood which more tightly fits the old mb/gpw grille.  It appears to be a CJ-3B body.  I’ll bet completed this might look good.

“1948 CJ3B Custom Off Road Body(solid) Built like a tank!!The back corner of the frame is bad but can be welded. The rest of the frame is fine. 255 Buick V-6 Motor. Runs and drives. Been sitting for 2 years but all body work is done. Just needs paint. I hate to part with it. No time to fix it. Needs to be put back together. $3000 or trade o/b/o.”

 
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1952? CJ-2A Central City, NE **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Unusual • TAGS: .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $2000

Ducks on a hood? That’s a first for me.

“1952 Willy’s Jeep
4 cly. 3 speed
New Starter,wheel bearings,and tires
Runs great, Asking $2000 or best offer. No title”

 

1952-cj2a-centralcity-ne

 
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1948 Custom CJ-2A Alpena, MI **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Features, Unusual • TAGS: , , , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was Make Offer

This is different.

“This willys jeep has an all alumium body which will never rust or corrod and since it is made out of alumium it is a lite ride. The body is on an s-10 sand blasted frame with a 96′ wheelbase. It is 2 wheel drive with a 305ci v-8 in it, it has a 30 over Big cam with a 700 R4 trany behind it. It has 13,500 miles on the engine and tranny, was never used for drag racing. It gets around 20 miles per gallon on the highway.”

 

1948-flattie-custom-alpena-mi2 1948-flattie-custom-alpena-mi3 1948-flattie-custom-alpena-mi4 1948-flattie-custom-alpena-mi5

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1965 CJ-5 Reading, PA **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: CJ5, Unusual • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $5000

Steve spotted this unusual CJ-5. Is that a raccoon hanging from the mirror?

“This is 1965 CJ-3 new paint ,new floor ,motor and transmission in great condition 4×4 work perfect clean title”

1965-cj5-reading-pa1 1965-cj5-reading-pa3 1965-cj5-reading-pa4 1965-cj5-reading-pa6

 
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1984 Jeep Cake Pan on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

I had no idea there was a jeep cake pan!

“Awesome find! 1984 Wilton rare Jeep cake pan. Love, love, love it. Used, normal wear and tear but great condition! Measures 16” x 9” clean, smoke free home.”

View all the information on eBay

jeep-cake-pan

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The Double Wide Wrangler

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

Maury forwarded this link about the double-wide wrangler.  Someone else did too, but I’ve managed to misplace that email.

http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/double-wide-side-side-jeep-wrangler-puzzles-world-172326623.html

double-wide-wrangler

 
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Fast Eddie’s Jewelry on Facebook

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

Gerald spotted this jeep ring sold by Fast Eddie’s Jewelry.  You can find them on Facebook. They will custom make all kinds of rings.  Hmm .. not sure I have a category for this topic!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fast-Eddes-4×4-Jewelry/303572349674185

jeep ring

 
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1962 Economite 6×6 Amphibious Prototype Atlanta, GA, eBay

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

I’ve never heard of this M-274 replacement.  Looks like an interesting project.

“6×6 Economite Amphibious Prototype
US-ARMY
Built 1962
Serial #1

All Aluminum hull, amphibious all terrain vehicle.

Tested by
U. S. Army Transportation Board
&
U. S. Army Tank-Automotive Command
during 1962-63
as mentioned several times in report

Designed to replace the M274 Mule
Will carry 800 lbs at 25mph over land and 4 mph in the water.
Don’t have time due to new business venture”

View all the information on eBay

1962-economite-6x6-atlanta-ga0

1962-economite-6x6-atlanta-ga4

1962-economite-6x6-atlanta-ga5

1962-economite-6x6-atlanta-ga1

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1955 Jeep Rod LA, Ca eBay (Featured in JP Magazine article)

• CATEGORIES: Jeep Rods, Unusual

UPDATE:  This was for sale back in August of 2010.

You might have read about this Jeep project in JP Magazine. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

“I am selling/trading my Rat Rod Jeep. It was built by the one time editor of JP Magazine and its build has been fully documented in JP Magazine. The jeep is currently registered and insured as a 1955 Jeep because of the frame. Everything works, runs and drives. Please refer to the below list of parts, used to build the project. If you are looking for more information and photos please type in “Sloppy Seconds Jeep,” into a search engine like Google to learn and see more about the Jeep.

Parts List:
Frame: 55’ Jeep M38A1
Body Tub: Late 1940, CJ-2A
Rear Suspension: 1955-1975 stock CJ front leafs
Front Suspension: 36-inch MAS Hairpins with Speedway Motors hardware shackles, and leaf springs.
Engine: GM 194 inline-six, possibly from a 1964 Chevy II
Transmission: 1947-1968 GM SM 420
Clutch: Early 1960’s 11-inch GM truck clutch
Front Axle: 1948 Willys truck housing with 1973 Jeep J-2000 knuckles, brakes, spindles, bearings, and hubs
Rear Axle: 1974-1979 Ford F-150 2WD Camper Special or 4X4 or 1978-1979 Bronco
Brake Master Cylinder: 1955 M38A1
Alternator: Typical GM 1 wire Superior PN7127-1W
Radiator: Early Dodge car. Unknown year or model
Radiator Hoses: Copper pipe (upper), Napa Gates PN 21631 (modified lower)
Belt: GM 1964 Chevy II
Steering: 1948 Willys truck box. Column shortened 4 inches
Tie Rod/Ends: 1948 Willys Truck
Drag Link: 1955 CJ-5″

View all the information on eBay

1955-jeeprod-jp-magazine

 
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2 M29C Weasels Bakersfield, CA **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Other 4x4s, Unusual

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay

I don’t know if the price is good or not, but you don’t see one of these very often, let alone two.

“Listed are two M29c Weasels Amphibious ATV cargo vehicles for parts or restoration.”

2-m29c-weasels-bakersfield

 
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WWII Military Stamp Kit on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

The seller claims these were used for stamping Willys, MBs, Dodge during WWII.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but it is a neat kit.

“Found in estate sale, ww2 military metal stamping kit, all the numbers and letters are there with extra stamping tool. look at my other action for moor military items, thank you”

View all the information on eBay

metal-stamp-kit-gpw-mb-dodge1

 
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Bear Lake County Jeep Patrol Patch on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

We can add Bear Lake County, Idaho, to the list of Jeep Patrol or Jeep Posse groups.

“Vintage Bear Lake County Idaho Sheriff’s Jeep Patrol Patch

This is a vintage Bear Lake County, Idaho Sheriff’s Jeep Patrol Patch. The patch measures 4 3/8 inches in height by 3 5/8 inches in width. The patch is unused, shows medium wear and is in good condition.

Shipping is $.80 Will combine shipping with other items.”

View all the information on eBay

bear-county-idaho-jeep-patrol

 
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1943 “Woodie” Wagon Goldalming, Surrey, UK **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual, Wood bodies • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE: This has been rebuilt. See this post.

Vince spotted this unique bit of jeep history. It is beautiful! For us history nuts the seller has included some helpful information, too.

“1943 Willys Jeep “Woodie” Stationwagon. Purchased by Willenhall Coachcraft in 1947 from Military surplus sale. Converted to current condition and sold to the Earl of Shewsbury in June 1948.

It was sold in 1961 to Victoria Garage in Stoke on Trent, who then sold it to a Harry Hughs of the same town and then it later changed hands to an AD Broom of Norwich, where it laid in a shed which then became derelict.

In late 2004, the jeep was finally discovered by Fred Smith, a very prominent and recognised Jeep collector, who sold it to the current owner for restoration in 2005.

It has undergone a very thorough restoration, including complete remanufacture of all woodwork, back to the exact specification matching the original condition it left Willenhall Coachcraft in 1948.

There were 95 conversions of this type carried out by Willenhall, and this is the last known example, making it extremely rare indeed.

All woodwork, engine, chassis and fabrication was carried out by the current owner. Paintwork by Andy House Body Repairs of Liphook, Hampshire. Chrome by SilvaBronz of Alton, Hampshire. Trim by Jeff Mussell and Son, Godalming, Surrey.

The jeep is being sold as new since being restored by myself. V5 present, taxed, MOT’d. Registered with the plate now on 125 YUP.

Included in the sale of this vehicle is as follows:
· Photographic history of restoration
· Buff logbook (dating back to first registration)
· Photography of original vehicle and Willenhall Coachcraft History by Archie Templeton-Dick, Historian.
More photos of the jeep and the restoration can be found on Universal Jeep Supplies’ facebook page.

The number plate, NRF 9 is not included with the sale but im offering this for £10,000 separately.”

 

 
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1945 GMC Air Compressor and Sandblast Truck on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual

This is such an oddball, that I thought if it was military, someone might see value in it.

“Here we have for your bidding pleasure is a 1945 GMC Military Truck equipped with an original Leroi Air Compresser unit and a sandblast pot, we were told from a person who has had some knowledge of older military trucks that there were just under 1100 of these units built for the war and they were used in the construction and maintenance of bridges during that time. As far as we know the truck is all original as it was made and as we were also told that they where constructed between the years of 1940 to 1942, we do have the original books for the aircompresser unit and some other literature pertaining to the truck itself, it has been sitting for about 7 years and we were told by the facility we received it from that it was in running condition at that time, as of right now you are buying it not operable, as one can see by the pictures it is all complete including the front winch, all tires are in fair shape, we have filled the front tire up that was flat in the pictures and it has held air for a couple of weeks now, this truck we feel is very rare find and how many are really left?? We do have a transferable registration, we can also load on any truck or trailer that one may have. If any one has any questions please do not hesitate to call 315-635-9981 and we will answer and or return all calls, cash upon pickup or bank wire transfer is the only means of payment we will accept so thank you for looking and good luck!!”

View all the information on eBay

 
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Claude D. Pepper’s Campaign Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, MB, Unusual

This pictures tells the tale of Senator Claude Pepper‘s bid for re-election as a Senator from Florida in the 1950 race.  Like his jeep, Senator Pepper’s campaign crashed that year as well.

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/36090

 
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Ringling Barnum Circus Uses PTO to Build Grandstands

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, Old Images, Unusual • TAGS: .

I spotted this 1950 picture on the Buckles Blog, a blog that presents circus history from all over the world.  I with this picture was bigger.  According the blog post, “Here we see a Jeep with a power take-off in the process of raising the sides of each seat wagon. The outer corners were supported with long braces and then the front end of each vehicle would be lowered to form a grand stand.”

 

 
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Hurricane Sandy Takes Out a CJ-5

• CATEGORIES: Features, Last Ride, Unusual

Peter forwarded this casualty of Hurricane Sandy. Ouch! It gives a new meaning to “ran when parked”

 
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Custom Flattie Honda Mower Bridgeton, NJ **SOLD**

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

I don’t know if this seller has made others or if this is a one-off custom piece.

“Built from the ground up.  All steel components to include the drive train and axles.  Durable 3/4″ plywood body finished with automotive paint.  Honda GZ series gas engine (200cc) for great performance and efficiency.  Rechargeable AGM battery for the headlights.  Padded leather bench seat with automotive carpeting on interior surfaces and the under carriage finished with undercoating. ”

 
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Zamboni Ice Resurfacer Livermore, CA eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

This Zambonia Ice Resurfacer is old enough to be built on a jeep frame.

“We have a used Zamboni that needs a new home.  In good used  condition,  4wd jeep frame with 1600 VW engine.    Located in Livermore CA….  may trade for WWII Stuff.”

View all the information on eBay