Miner Research Archives

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1954 CJ-3B Auburn, CA $11,000


UPDATE: Still Available.

(06/03/2020) It’s been a while since a jeep with a miner on the hood has hit the market.


“1954 Willys Jeep!!! 3B High Hood with original F Head motor. Mostly stock except for a 3 inch lift and tires. Only has about 2000 miles on the drivetrain after it was rebuilt 5 years ago. Custom rack with custom, tow bar and hard, matching yellow, winter top.”

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1948 CJ-2A Orangevale, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $5750.

It has a miner on the hood.

“The Jeep is is great shape for being almost 70 years old. It has a Chevy 350 in it, aftermarket steering, new tires and winch, new seats. This Jeep has the original three speed so it’s just a cruiser on the road. Needs a little love here and there. I would love to trade for something in the Offroad world. Ideally a wrangler or something a little more kid friendly.”


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1947 CJ-2A Folsom, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $6500.

(06/26/2018) Has the miner hood ornament.

“The Jeep is is great shape for being almost 70 years old. It has a Chevy 350 in it, aftermarket steering, new tires and winch, new seats. This Jeep has the original three speed so it’s just a cruiser on the road. Needs a little love here and there. I would love to trade for something in the Offroad world. Ideally a wrangler or something a little more kid friendly.”

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1949? M-38 Lincoln, CA **Status Unknown**


UPDATE II: **Status Unknown** Was $7500.

UPDATE I (04/08/2018) I did some research on the miner hood ornament. You can see a result of that research on this post.

This has the hard-to-find miner hood ornament. Bill shared this ad.

“1949 Willys M-38
Motor 225 CI Buick V-6
4 Barrel Holley Carb
1 piece windshield with center vent
Transmission T-90
Transfer case Dana 18
Front Axle Dana 25
Rear Axle Dana 44”

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The Placer Gold Miner Ornament

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

NOTE: This post was formerly part of the JEEP-HERDERS MOVIE and EL DORADO JEEPHERDERS post, but I’ve split that post into three, each updated with some new info and/or pics.


Over the last decade, I occasionally saw vintage jeeps with bronze casted placer gold miners on the hood. For years I’ve wondered about where these originated. They turn out to have an interesting history. Moreover, different castings over the years has led to slightly different designs.

It was a member of the El Dorado Jeepherders who first began selling them. From Ken Hower on Pirate 4×4:

Gold Miner Hood Ornament History:
In 1970, Mike Arnold opens Arnolds For Awards in Shingle Springs, CA (Acrylic Awards | Crystal Awards | Glass Awards | Corporate Plaques).

– In 1970, Mike Arnold goes to Alaska to a Gold Rush Event, since the history of gold mining in California looking for a tie in for his business. At the event, Mike finds an artist who has cast these Gold Miner statues. Mike buys a handful and returns to California.

– 1971, Mike installs the Gold Miner on his hood for the Jeepers Jamboree. Mike is a member of the El Dorado Jeepherders, the first organized 4-wheel drive club in the United States. He brings a few statues on the Jamboree to sell, and a few are bought.

– El Dorado Jeepherders adopt the statue for their club and nearly every member of the club, now has a Gold Miner statue hood ornament.

– Ken Collins is the owner of Placerville Jeep. He is also, one of the founders of the Jeepers Jamboree, along with Mark Smith. Ken buys statues from Arnolds Awards and begins giving them away to customers who buy a jeep.

– Chuck Walker. Yes, the Walker behind the famous Walker Hill on the Rubicon, is a sales man at Placerville Jeep. He is there, when Ken Collins is giving them away. Chuck decides to split from Placerville, and open his own dealership in Sacramento, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. He also begins buying the statues and giving to his customers, this is why you see them on Dodge and Jeep around Sacramento.

Back in the day, the retail cost of the statue was $20. It costs far more than that now, simply to make them.

Merlin Scott (a Rock Award winner for lifetime achievement of service on the Rubicon Trail had his Dodge truck stolen a long time ago. They recovered the vehicle. The only damage, his Gold miner was ripped off the hood of his truck.

I want to thank Kevin Arnold and Mike Arnold of Arnolds Awards for telling the story this morning. I want to thank Merlin Scott for telling me who to call. So many of the old timers that pioneered wheeling are passing away, so I think it’s important to preserve that history and those stories. Also thank John Arenz, President of RTF for filling in the names that were forgotten.

I put the link already, but Rubicon Trail Foundation has taken it upon ourselves to be the custodian of that history. Spend some time and go to the website and read through the history of the Rubicon Trail.


After posting this original post a couple days ago, I began looking more closely at the photos of miners I had. Moreover, Mike shared a photo of his miner that includes “Placerville Hardware” on the rear. That got me thinking: given the miners have been produced and sold over the past 50 years, there could be several variations. Then, I found a reference from Jim Allen that some special promo miners had been produced. Here’s what I found among the miners I have documented:
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El Dorado Jeepherders Jeep Club

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

In 1945, a movie called the Jeep-Herders was released. Not long after that (most likely between 2 to 6 years), several folks formed the El Dorado Jeepherders jeep club in the Placerville area of California. My assumption is that the name of the club came directly from the movie.

The internet claims that the El Dorado Jeepherders is the oldest jeep club in existence, however I could find no dates to confirm this. One claim puts the club’s roots in early 1950. By the early 1950s, there were several clubs in existence in the West, including the two earliest that I know of: the Yakima Ridge Runners and the Hemet Jeep Club. A copy of the club’s original bylaws can be found on eBay. Here are pics of them:

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1948 CJ-2A Newcastle, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $5500.

This has one of the rare miner hood ornaments. I’ve run across a couple others on jeep hoods.

“Some restoration, engine, transmission, interior, body and paint. Has been parked, covered and stored inside the barn for the last 15 years.”


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1948 CJ-2A San Clemente, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $6000:

This has one of those rare miner hood ornaments.

“350 Chevy Crate motor
Muncie Rock Crusher 4-speed
Summers Brothers 1-piece axles
Detroit Locker 538 Gears
New battery
New bikini top
New tonneau cover
Beard suspension seats with new Master Race covers
Runs well”

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Day 36 – Apr. 24th: Tire’d of Reno

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

<– Day 35 – Apr. 23rd: Over the Sierras | OVERVIEW | Day 37 – Apr. 25th: Carson City –>


No, not nap time . . .

The good part about Reno is the room rates during the week: $26 a night at the Circus Circus (great rooms for the price, too). The bad part is that Reno eats tires for lunch, which just so happens to be the time of day that we discovered one of our tires was flat.


Today we stayed in Reno, visiting the National Automotive Museum, then Les Scwab.

We were pretty lazy Thursday morning. By the time we were heading to Reno’s National Automotive Museum it was noon. On the drive over I though the handling on the jeep seemed a tiny bit odd. When we arrived at the museum, I got out to check the tires. Sure enough, the front right tire was approaching flatness.

Now, you might say to me, “Dave, didn’t your fancy new jeep have a tire pressure sensor?”

By Joe, you are right! But, last winter the tire pressure sensor came on for a while, due to the severe cold. Well, yesterday the tire pressure warning lit up as we dropped down off the pass into Lake Tahoe. I pulled over to check the tires, but nothing seemed amiss. So, I figured it was a cold/altitude thing. It appears I was wrong.

So, on Thursday we found ourselves at the museum with a flat tire. Some threatening rain clouds loomed overhead. What did we choose to do? Well, visit the museum of course! I figured we could unpack the jeep to pull out the spare tire later.


Ann got all dressed up for a ride in one of the cars. Too bad they wouldn’t let us take it out for a spin.

The museum turned out to be outstanding. The collection represents only part of William F. Harrah’s overall collection at the time of his death in 1978, but it is still outstanding. Harrah’s collection strategy was to find cars of which only a few were made or of which only a few existed. The result is a collection that is unique and diverse. Both Ann and I had a good time looking at the vehicles, watching the demonstration engines, listening to the tv shows and music that acted as background, and reading some of the stories. I took a bunch of pics.


An 1892 steam powered Phillion. There was room for a chauffeur in the rear (who also stoked the fire) and a rider in front. Off to the left is a photo of the Phillion in action.


Lots of early cars.


Note the crushed rock underneath the cars. I thought it helped to make the cars really standout. Nice earthy touch.


This area was not only full of cars, but contained an array of females dresses. It was both a reminder of the times and gave the room a classier feel.



A video of the Milton Berle show was playing in this small display area.


This depot wagon was used to ferry visitors from the train to Harrah’s retreat along the Salmon River in Idaho.


The body of this Rolls Royce was built from copper.


This is Tucker #32.


Duesenbergs, Cords, Auburns, Kaiser’sand more filled this room.

The museum had several jeeps, including a few for a WWII exhibit. The Jerrarri (Wagoneer plus Ferarri) was in the museum, but I figured there are enough pics of that online.


This 1944 GPW appeared to be a mis-identified MB, given the flat tool box covers in the rear. However, on closer inspection I spotted the “Higgins” plate on the dash and the GPW cross member in the front. Thus, it is a remanufactured GPW.


Good looking Seep. According to the information aboard that accompanied this GPA, the nickname “Seep” was given to the vehicle by some of the builders who witnessed the seep leaking water into the cab while it was in the water. That’s not a story I’ve ever heard,


The 1972 CJ-5 behind this sand rail was bought to be used as an off road vehicle as part of the Jeepers Jamboree.


This is one of the finest examples of the miner hood ornament that I’ve seen. It’s a rare piece. I’m wondering if it was somehow related to the Jeep Jamboree or Jeepers Jamboree? I’ve only seen a couple of these. [Ed Note: more information the miners here]


This beautiful NellyBelle pedal jeep was part of a pedal car display when we first walked into the museum.

This very famous Thomas Flyer vehicle had it’s own extensive display. Neat rig and great history about the race from New York to Paris.


We only had one bad experience at the museum. That’s when Ann’s camera phone slipped from her hands while she was taking a photo. She reached to grab the falling phone, but hit it forward instead. The phone sailed through the air toward a vehicle that shall remain unmentioned. Fortunately, it narrowly missed the car, landing with an odd thud on the crushed rock. Whew!


My turn to get dressed up and drive.

With our museum tour finished, I had to face unpacking the jeep to remove the spare tire. Really, in the scheme of things, it wasn’t that bad, but still a pain.

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After competing the swap we drove over to Les Schwab to see if they could fix the tire. After finding the leak, it was clear the tire was toast. Because the jeep is all-wheel-drive, we were forced to buy four new tires, setting us back $1000. You can imagine that hit the travel budget! Ann claimed we are the only people who can go to Reno and lose $1000 without ever entering a casino.

So, we spent the afternoon at Les Schwab waiting for our new tires to be installed. That’s not quite how we saw our day going. Our evening did end with one high note. We found a great and inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant called the Golden Flower right next to Circus Circus.

Tomorrow we plan to tour Virginia City and then drive south to Carson City to see the Nevada State Museum.

<– Day 35 – Apr. 23rd: Over the Sierras | OVERVIEW | Day 37 – Apr. 25th: Carson City –>

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1978 CJ-5 Carpinteria, CA **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $5500

(02/17/2012) I’ve only seen this one other ornament on this other jeep.

“This jeep is not for everyone.  This lifted 4×4 off-road machine is built to play.  Setup to handle rough terrain and climb any obstacle. When responding to the ad please include you telephone number so that I know it is not spam.

Currently registered PNO with no back fees.

California Street legal with all CA smog upgrades done

304 V8 engine with 67,000 original miles

The drivetrain and suspension has been upgraded with Lincoln locker rear axle

AMC Jeep classic M8274 Winch made by Warn

On Board York air compressor

33×12.5 Tires on newer steel rims

Cobra CB

CD Player

Auxiliary electric fan, secondary fuel pump, ralle 1000 lights, dual rock lights.

And the list goes on!

New mechanical fuel pump, fuel lines, alternator, Die Hard Battery.

Comes with matching off-road trailer with leaf suspension, and tires with matching bolt pattern as Jeep tires. Special articulating hitch that is awesome to bring your extra gear, jerry cans and more on the trail.  $500 off if you want the jeep without the trailer. I will not sell the trailer until the jeep is sold, you are welcome to email me to join the waiting list.

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1953 CJ-3B Wanship, Ut **SOLD**


1953_cj3b_wanshipUPDATE: Steff notes in the comments below that the gas line has been fixed.  As I mentioned below, the gas line broke prior to my visit so I wasn’t able to hear the engine run.  Was listed at $3000.

See another example of the miner hood ornament here.

My son Karson and I drove to Wanship to check out this CJ-3B.  The jeep is located high up on a hill overlooking the rockport Reservoir — the view was worth the trip alone.

While checking out this jeep, I snapped some pics and talked with Darrel and Arne.  If you call on this jeep, you’ll be emailing Arne’s wife, then meeting up with one or more of the three to look it over. So, that’s just to clarify if you get confused about whom are are dealing with.  The actual owner of the jeep is Darrel.

On this day, I didn’t get to listen to the jeep start as one of the gas lines had sprung a leak at one of the places where the gas line is clamped.  This caused some gas to leak into the garage which stank up the garage pretty good.  At the time of our visit, the garage was nearly fume free, but we didn’t want to take  a chance so we rolled the jeep out of the garage.   You can see the end of the line sticking out from underneath the passenger side of the jeep.

While this CJ-3B does have some wear, you can easily see this was a classic 80s flattie, especially with the padded rollbar.  Darrel said that this jeep lived much of it’s life in the Tahoe area, and it looks like it was built for the trail.  I forgot to ask about the differential ratio and whether it had posi/lockers in either differential.

One of the more unusual features was the emergency brake (at least I have never seen this mod before).  The emergency brake is located very nearly where you’d install an overdrive shifter, and looks like one too, but instead has a button on the top of the shifter.  To engage the emergency brake (located on the back of the dana 18) you pull the lever towards you.  To release it, I believe (didn’t test it) you push the button on top and it releases.  I really liked this idea and think I’ll try to implement something simlar for my back emergency brakes.

Karson’s evaluation was “it was cool”, which was followed by ideas about where we could go jeeping once I got the roll cage put on the jeep.  Then he said, “Dad, just let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do to help you with your jeep museum project”.  I think he’s got the jeep sickness 🙂

The front of this jeep has a Miner hood ornament, though the miner’s pan has fallen off (Darrel sill has the pan though).  I did a quick search on Miner hood ornaments.  According to this thread, “from 72-86 there were specials built for different states and promos.  You can research online through books written by Jim Allen.”

“1953 WILLYS JEEP – HIGH HOOD, 350 Chevy Engine, 4 – Speed Transmission / 4 Wheel Drive.  4 Point Harness Seat Belts, Tilt Steering Wheel, Ragtop + Side Doors + back seat, Padded Leather Seat Covers, Chrome Wheels, Holley Headers, Mickey Thompson Baja Tires, MOAB READY-Come See for Yourself!, Legend has it this Jeep won some title in the Rubicon Run, and was featured in a Hot Rod Jeep Magazine, + it has a cool Miner dude for a hood ornament”




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