History Research Archives

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1950 Cj-3A Worcester, MA **SOLD**

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

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $9300.

Travis spotted this nice looking 3A.

1950-cj3a-worcester-ma1 1950-cj3a-worcester-ma2 1950-cj3a-worcester-ma3 1950-cj3a-worcester-ma4

“Willys CJ 3A Jeep with original L134 4-cylinder engine, 3 speed transmission with hi low transfer case. The body is new. Rebuilt engine, transmission and transfer case. All new wiring, still 6v.  New tires, new brakes, new seat upholstery, no top but I do have the bows and door frames.  Original odometer shows just over 44,000 miles.

Here is a link of it running

I purchased this Willys to rebuild and use around my property mainly as a plow jeep. I ended up buying a 4 door Jeep to plow with and I need the garage space so I’m now selling this one. I have owned it for 5 years and has been stored inside.

I do have a clear title in my name but I have never registered it. I have only driven it around my property

The horn and vacuum wipers have not been hooked up and therefore do not work. It will need some tinkering to get it road ready, if that’s your intention. Please do your research . This jeep is now 68 years old and as such will be sold as is.

Let me know if you have questions. Please text or call to discuss.”

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The Glidden Tours — Early Convoys to Promote Automobiles

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

(This is an updated of a 2009 post, which was a very condensed history of the Glidden Tours.)

I ran across an early video from a 1905 Glidden Tour. It was fun to watch, but the information claimed that 1905 was the first Glidden Tour. That confused me, because I’d also seen the 1904 tour from Boston to St. Louis (World’s Fair) listed as the first Glidden Tour. In fact, that was only the “First Annual Tour”. Technically, the first Glidden Tour didn’t take place until, as stated by the movie, 1905. Which you consider first, their purposes were all designed to call attention to the poor roads and confusing interstate issues of the time. Here’s what that 1905 First Glidden Tour looked like (click here or on image to see video)



The AAA website describes the turn of the century road situation:

“… There were no paved highways between cities and no maps of existing wagon roads. Automobiles were not dependable for trips of any length,and motoring laws and regulations reflected the general public’s attitude that automobiles were toys of the idle rich and should be severely restricted,if not totally banned. Fortunately, there were small numbers of those who owned and believed in the automobile. Sharing a common interest, they began forming motor clubs to combat the mounting number of unjust motoring laws and regulations being enacted against them and their automobiles and to fight for better roads….”


Early automobile owners faced forgotten challenges. For example, there was no reciprocity between states, so if you planned to drive your new horseless carriage over state lines, you had to have registered and paid a state tax in both states.  Here’s more from the Short History of Highway and Vehicle Regulations:

“…. Actually, the turn of the century did not mark the beginning of political regulation of conveyances. Local and municipal governments were already regulating and licensing bicycle usage within their jurisdictions during the 1880s and 1890s. (Mason 42) For example, the city of Chicago had a “Wheel Tax” ordinance in effect in 1898, which required an annual license fee from all wagons, carriages, coaches, buggies, and bicycles. The year 1901 marked the first attempt at levying a registration fee specifically on autos (New York State-annual revenue for the year -was $954), and at the same time the first law regulating the speed of an automobile was passed in Connecticut (12 mph in the country, 8 mph in the cities). (Labatut 95, 99) By 1907, 31 States required registration of men-or vehicles, the fees vary ing from 25 cents to $25 per vehicle. (Dearing 250) The first traffic code in the world was adopted by New York City in 1903. (Labatut 454) Many “municipalities had their own ordinances regulating speeds, parking, the use of bells, horns and gongs, the making of unnecessary exhaust noise and the emission of noxious gas, smoke or steam, and they imposed fines for violations. These regulations varied widely from city to city and, especially in the smaller municipalities were often enforced in a discriminatory way.” (AMER. HWYS. 57, 60) “Speed traps” were often operated by local police officers in rural communities “with fines going into the local treasury or the pockets of the police, justice, or magistrate. The speed trap racket was so bad in New York prior to 1910, that the Legislature passed an act that year requiring all fines imposed for violations of the motor vehicle laws to be turned over to the State treasurer. This reduced the fines collected from motorists to a mere trickle….”


To address and call attention to the issues described above, and more, in 1902 the AAA was formed in Chicago by nine automobile clubs. In 1904 the AAA organized an automobile rally that started in New York, went north to Boston, and ended 18 days and 1,350 miles later in St. Louis at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Here’s a 1904 photo from that first tour:


View of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Glidden and motorists posing in Napier car during the 1904 St. Louis Tour. The tour covered a route across five states from New York, New York to St. Louis, Missouri. Handwritten on back: “Tours–St. Louis Tour, 1904.” – See more at: http://digitalcollections.detroitpubliclibrary.org/islandora/object/islandora%3A198273#sthash.gG76AREM.dpuf


The company that became Pierce Arrow used the Glidden Tours to demonstrate how well its cars performed. Here’s a list of accomplishments from The Old Motor website.


These facts are particularly interesting to me as my great grandfather had a Great Arrow delivered to him in Salt Lake in 1905, the first one in the valley. Here’s a photo and article about it.


1905 Salt Lake City. Fritz Eilers (my grandfather) is in the passenger seat. Farny Eilers is standing with his back to the camera. Their driver’s name was Grady. . . .  and, NOPE, the car is no longer in the family :-(.



The Glidden Tours were popular for a short time. The photo below shows a huge gathering of automobiles. Below that is a map of their tour.


http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2007663496/ Library of Congress. Photo Circa 1909.

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Kempner Power Wagon Museum

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

Originally posted June 15, 2009 (See, there is even a Power Wagon Museum!)

At some point early in his driving life, my dad owned a red Dodge Power Wagon.  I’ve never ridden in one myself, however I found a place where I can explore several different models: The Kempner Power Wagon Museum.

The Kempner Museum is an owner-owned museum, with the owner displaying vehicles and other items he has collected over the years.  Recently, the owner, with his wife’s blessing he notes, built a building to house the trucks and other related materials.

This museum does not take a ‘hands off’ approach, rather people can climb into these vehicles, touch and explore them.

The museum is located in Kempner, Texas (museum info), which is roughly 150 miles south of Dallas.  I’m adding to my list of places to visit soon.

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More Jeep Pics from Life Magazine

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: , , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.


There’s many more jeeps pics at the Life Magazine Photo Website.

Here’s how the Navy transported their rowing shell.


An MB or GPW pushing a Midget car to start it


An early CJ-2A and a post hole digger


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Around the World in a SEEP called Half Safe

• CATEGORIES: Books, Builds, Features, GPA (SEEP), Unusual • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

half_safe_9FEATURED IN MAY 2009

The next time you are in Perth, Australia, make sure you stop by and see Ben Carlin’s SEEP named Half Safe.  Ben Carlin and his wife navigated their SEEP around the world back in the 1950s.  I found two website’s that chronicle the adventure:  David Brooks shows pictures along with the story and Leisure Wheels has a large article with a single pic.  Below is the beginning of the story and below that are a few pictures.  Ben Carlin also wrote two books about his adventure “Half Safe” and later ““The Other Half of Half-Safe”.

half_safe_8FROM DAVID BROOKS WEBSITE:  “Ben Carlin (1912 – 1981) was born and attended school in Western Australia. While awaiting demobilisation after service in India in World War II, Ben noticed a US amphibious jeep among other war debris, and remarked “You know, Mac, with a bit of titivation you could go around the world in one of these things”. For some never-explained reason, Ben was not certified insane on the spot, and eventually fulfilled his dream ….”


Half Safe Pages

SEEP Pages:

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Aerial Jeep from Life Magazine

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


UPDATE:  I found a long discussion, details and the pic below at this website:

From this website, vectorsite.net, I’ll put some of the content just to make sure it isn’t lost.


“The AirGeep was first flown on 12 October 1958. Apparently it proved grossly underpowered, barely able to fly over a fence, and it was sent back to the shop, where the piston engines were replaced by a single 317 kW (425 HP) Turbomeca Artouste IIB turbine engine. The upgraded AirGeep flew in late June 1959. It weighed 1.1 tonnes (2,500 pounds) and could carry a payload of 550 kilograms (1,200 pounds), including the pilot.

The AirGeep was put through trials for both the Army and the Navy over the next few years. The engine was upgraded again to a Garrett / Airesearch 331-6 engine, which had a higher power-to-weight ratio. For Navy trials, which began in June 1961, the rotorcraft was fitted with floats, and redesignated the “PA-59 SeaGeep”.

* Piasecki wanted to build a bigger and better AirGeep, and the Army Transportation Research Command obliged them by issuing a contract for what Piasecki called the “Model 59K” and what the Army called the “VZ-8P(B) AirGeep II”, which made its first flight in the summer of 1962.

The AirGeep II was similar to the AirGeep, except that the aircraft was “bent” in the middle so that the rotors were tilted fore and aft, it seems to improve forward flight characteristics. The AirGeep II used twin 298 kW (400 SHP) Turbomeca Artouste IIC turboshaft engines, once again linked so that if one failed the other would drive both rotors. One engine could also be coupled to the landing wheels to drive the machine on the ground. The increased power allowed a maximum take-off weight of 2.2 tonnes (4,800 pounds). The pilot and observer had “zero-zero” ejection seats, allowing safe escape if the machine was on the ground and standing still, and there were apparently seats for additional passengers.

As we learned, the rotabuggy was a bit of a failure. However that didn’t stop the military from investigating some type of ‘flying jeep’.  Now, I don’t know if the military really called it the Aerial Jeep or whether it was Life Magazine’s attempt to sell magazines, but the result is a pretty unusual flying machine:


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Wayback Machine: Old Jeeping Photos from late 70s

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

Here’s some great old photographs from the 1970s.  They document some of the events attended by the Good Time Four Wheelers.  The image below was from the 3rd Annual Green River Valley Jeepers in 1976.  I attended one of their playdays in 1981 (I think).  It was located between Black Diamond and Enumclaw;  I wouldn’t be surprised if the area is full of homes now.

I’m suprised that as late as ’76 they weren’t requiring cages to race.  It wouldn’t be too long before they were required.  View all the pics (lots of desert dogs) at the pnw4wda forum.


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M-38 Pilot models from the CJ-3A info site

• CATEGORIES: Features, M-38 • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Bob Westerman has written a detailed overview of the M-38 pilot models.

From the website, Bob writes:  “NEW: 1/1/2009 In the time since this web-page was published some new photos of the Pilot Models have surfaced. The photos reveal that the pilot models were in a constant state of change as different features were implemented and tested. The new information shows that some previous assumptions are no longer valid. See the MVPA’s magazine Army Motors #126 for the latest information.

Visit the CJ-3A.Info website to learn more about the M-38 Pilot model history.


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The German Schwimmwagen

• CATEGORIES: Features, GPA (SEEP), International, Other 4x4s, Unusual • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

On the heals of yesterday’s GPA, I thought I’d do a brief shout out to the Schwimmwagen.  You can read more and see more pics about the Schwimmwagen at Brian’s site. Here’s a pic (below) from July 12 1944 (from Brian’s site as well).  Here’s some youtube videos.


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Rotabuggy or Blitz Buggy — The Flying Jeep

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

interior_rotabuggyOn some post somewhere I have an image of the flying jeep.  I recently found a trove of information and images of the Rotabuggy, (actually, I just did a google image search of a rotabuggy) including pictures of a recreated model.  One of the more unusual images is an interior shot, which I show to the right.

From the willys-mb.ru website:

In the early 1940s flight tests had been carried out on a number of one-man gliders known as Rotachutes. During this time Raoul Hafner decided to apply the same principle on a larger-scale military vehicle. On 3 April 1942 the Rotary Wing Section of the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment AFEE) at Ringway, Manchester, submitted a proposal for the application of the system to the Blitz Buggy or Jeep.

The Unreal Aircraft website records an eye witness account of one flight, which left the driver exhausted.




Here’s an image of the Rotabuggy Replica


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WWI Four Wheel Drive Star — Nash Quad

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

It was one of those days where I was searching for one thing and found another:  The Nash Quad Truck (the truck to the right is a 1919 Nash Quad, Owned by Bruce and Melanie Rice #8880).  These are 4wD with four wheel steering.  (see the video below to see a quad and its steering in action)

It turns out, these were a big hit during World War I.  In the Story of the Jeep, Patrick Foster writes that the Quad ” … dramatically proved it’s worth … and proved the value of four wheel drive …”

Here’s a brief history from the Pioneer Flight Museum:

The Nash Quad was first manufactured in 1914 by the Thomas B. Jeffrey Company, which was located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It became quite popular during World War I and was used by the armed forces of not only the United States, but also Russia, France and Britain. One of the first motor vehicles to offer four-wheel drive, the Quad proved very suitable to the rough, unpaved roads of the time. In 1916, Jeffrey sold the production rights to the Nash company. Because of its popularity, it was produced in large numbers, including license production by Hudson, National, and Paige-Detroit. Exact numbers aren’t known, but apparently over 11,000 were produced in 1918 alone.

Here’s a video of a Nash Quad being started and driven:

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The Evolution of Water Fording

• CATEGORIES: CJ-3A, Features, Old Images • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

One of the more interesting early modifications for water fording is visible  in the picture below.  Note how the jeep facing the reader has the exhaust vented out the front of the grill with the muffler laying parrallel to the grille.  I can’t say I’d ever seen that before.

The CJ-3A.info page notes: “The recommended maximum fording depth of an unmodified jeep was 21 inches. That is about the height of the fuel pump and transfer case vents. Any deeper and things would start to fill up with water. Even at this relatively shallow depth the Technical Manual (2) advised that the generator brace should be “pulled up to release tension on the fan belt and stop the fan from throwing water over the engine”. That would be important in order to keep water off the ignition system. During a combat landing the 21″ maximum fording depth was not adequate.”

Read more about the Evolution of Water Fording here

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Old Willys Image Archive — Brian finds a treasure trove

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Website • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Our eWillys Michigan bureau, lead by Brian (and staffed only by Brian), uncovered a treasure trove of images, most I haven’t seen before, of early jeep demonstrations, publicity images and more.

Brian writes, “the source is the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and, best of all, it is free!!!   Here is the Search link  To Link to the library image collection explanation, go here http://www.toledolibrary.org/collection/images.asp.  I think one of the best sets are the Farm Jeep trials in New Hudson Michigan..Wow”

Here is some of the searches he has done: (Willys jeeps) (willys workers) (Jeep automobiles) (farm Jeep) (Willys factory) (Military).

Here’s some of the images found using the search term “jeep” — note that the term search term jeep doesn’t yield other pictures that I saw while surfing this site this morning.

I’m not sure I’d want to be in the vehicle in the pic below….

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Austin 7 — Grandfather of the Jeep?

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

So, I’m doing my best to avoid going out to my parents very cold, damp garage to finish fixing my mom’s car.  Of course, the internet is one of the best avoidance tools ever invented.

On a lark, I typed in ‘Flat Fender Babes’ into google just to see if anything came up.  While most of the links were garbage, one link lead me to a list of significant production automobiles, created by Angry Stan at AngryStan’s blog.  Naturally, one of the vehicles listed was the Willys MB.  What was interesting about the MB’s inclusion was Stan’s comment that the MB was “very loosely based on the Austin 7”.

Whoa .. news to me.  What you talkin’ ’bout Stan?

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The History MB-CJ3B Willys-Viasa

• CATEGORIES: CJ-3B, Features, International • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Here’s a good history of the MB-CJ3B Willys-Viasa with a variety of pics.

In the late 50’s, Willys Overland gave the rights to the V.I.A.S.A. firm to allow them exclusively to build the Univesal Jeep in our country. In 1959, the first permit to import parts and machinery is given by the Trade Ministry, in order to assemble the first units  in the V.I.A.S.A’s factory located in Zaragoza. These units weren’t launched until 1960.

It seems that that permit let V.I.A.S.A build the CJ3B model, with different engines and features from the original American model …”

Learn more about the Viasa here

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Fred Smith, Rare Jeep Collector

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, GPA (SEEP) • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

While reading through the extensive history of the half track, I stumbled on the fact that the owner of the rarest of these half tracks was Fred Smith of the UK.  Having recently read that Fred Smith also owned and nicely restored the Ford Budd prototype, I got curious about who Fred Smith is.  At this point, I don’t know anything about him other than he’s got quite the jeep collection.  Here’s an approximate list (this list is a guess based on what I’ve read online):

  1. 1940 Ford Budd Prototype
  2. T-28 Half Track
  3. Willys MT-TUG 6×6
  4. 5 or 6 Ford GPs
  5. Ford GP four wheel steering
  6. Ford GPA (seep)
  7. Willys MA
  8. Willys MB

Not a bad collection!  Apparently, Fred shows these on occasion (or often) at the War and Peace Show at Beltring in Kent, UK.

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The 1940 Buddy (a Ford Pygmy/Budd prototype)

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

1940_budd_ford8In late 1940, after testing the Bantam prototype BRC (the Mark I) for one month,  the Quartermaster Corp Technical committee was impressed enough to ask Bantam for 70 additional pilot versions to test (these would be the BRC-60 or Mark IIs).  They also asked Willys and Ford to submit prototypes.  While Willys submitted a two wheel Quad for testing (they made another prototype: a 4 wheel steering Quad), Ford built 2 prototypes: one is the Pygmy (still exists) and the other was a Pygmy/Budd prototype called a Buddy. (Note that I attempt to use the same designations for pilot/prototype that Frederic Coldwell uses in his Preproduction Civilian Jeeps book.)

While the Ford Pygmy was submitted to the Quartermaster for testing, the Pygmy/Budd hybrid was not.  The history is hazy, but the original Budd disappeared into the California desert at some point. Miraculously, it was relocated by Jeff Polidoro in 1998.  The rumor is that is sold for $50,000 and was restored in 2005- 2006 by owner Fred Smith. There’s more about Fred Smith and his restoration of this vehicle.  The Buddy is now located in the UK.

The biggest difference between the Pygmy and Buddy, to the best of my information, was that the body was built by the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing and looked fairly different from the Pygmy.  Below are pictures I’ve collected across the internet about the Budd. Apparently, Budd also designed the KubelWagon body prior to WWII.   And, apparently, Budd had a role in designing the M151.

Here’s before and after pics of the Pygmy/Budd that I’ve found across the net:

Before Restoration:

Pic below found here


Pic below found here on the CJ-3B site


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Spicer & Dana: Where did the Spicer 18 come from?

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

spicer_manufacturingI spent some time earlier to day trying to track down what came before the Spicer 18 transfer case.  Unfortunately, I can’t find anything such as a Spicer 12 or a Spicer 3 anywhere.  If the Spicer 18 was the Dana Corp’s first try at a transfer case, then it’s entirely reasonable to say they hit a homer with it, as it stayed in the jeep (though ratios and other minor changes were made) from 1941 to 1971, when the jeep started using a center pumpkin and the Dana 20 transfer case.

So, here’s some interesting facts I learned during my searches.

  • The Dana Corp was originally founded as the Spicer Corp by Charles Spicer in 1904 when he was 29 to manufacture universal joints.  Here’s an 83 page PDF book of the first 100 years of the company.
  • The Spicer Corp’s success seems to be the result of the industry standardization around their products due to their high quality and competitive pricing.
  • In June of 1940 during a meeting between Bantam, government, Spicer and Timken representatives, Bantam and Spicer worked out the details of the drive train, for which Spicer received 130,000 for the tooling costs. (from the m38a1 site).  The front end was also worked out during this meeting by an engineer from Spicer.
  • While the Willys used the passenger side drop transfer case (a spicer 18), the Ford Pygmy (Ford’s prototype jeep) and the Bantam BRC Mark I (the very first jeep prototype) and the BRC-60/Mark II (Bantam’s 2nd prototype) relied on a driver side drop transfer case from spicer that was also a Spicer 18. (Here’s more about it)
  • I could only find 4 spicer transfer cases.  The Spicer 18, 20, 23 (for Chevrolet 4wd conversions) and 24 (for Ford 4wd conversions) (see Napco history).  There’s likely more, I just didn’t find any info about them.
  • Charles Dana joined in 1913, injecting money into the company.  In a couple years, Charles assumed the presidency.
  • In 1946, the company was officially renamed the Dana Corp, which by that time was a holding company for Spicer as well as Parish, Salisbury, Brown-Lipe and others.  The idea was to continue using the brand Spicer for the drive train products due to the strong brand name.  For some reason, that’s not clear to me, over time the Spicer brand name seemed to disappear in favor of the Dana name.

Here’s some other links about this early history:

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1946 CJ-2A (ex race jeep) Wallowa, OR **SOLD**

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

UPDATE:  Since I was heading to Seattle, I decided to stop by and check out this old racer (Also, it was a great excuse to head east out of La Grande, Oregon; Great drive!).

This is a total old school racing jeep.  The builder took a stock jeep, threw on some desert dogs, upgraded the engine with a buick v6 (leaving the stock exhaust manifolds), threw in a roll cage, vented the carb into the cowl, and that’s about it.  The builder’s son felt that there was a dana 44 in the rear that had posi, and maybe the front too, but he didn’t know for sure. Unfortunately, the weeds kept me from being able to get a jack under the jeep to test whether it had posi or not.



racejeep_dash racejeep_desertdogs racejeep_enginev6 racejeep_front

“46 willys,231 buick v6,full cage roll bar,ex race jeep,needing alot or a wealth of parts $400”