Sunday, December 30, 2012

Website Finds, The John Jennison MB Conversion

Today I want to introduce a new section of How many websites have I and you and many other jeep fans Googled just in search of the random relatively unknown jeep photo? Now, I don’t mean the usual places like the CJ3B Page or G503,  and though while they are incredible sources of information, I mean the small little known sites that often contain random photos that you may never have before seen. Sometimes they are as simple as an photo of a GI standing by his MB on someones family genealogy site, but other times they are surprising and unique. I’ve stumbled across so many of them that I decided to create this new section dedicated to stuff that can be found online. None of this belongs to me and so of course I don’t own any of the rights to the photos. So please view and use these only as they are meant to be used, as entertainment or as the jumping off point for your own research. Please attribute the proper (original) sources for any of these if you re-publish them. I will also list the original urls to all of the photos. And of course, please don’t lift them for any commercial use. I’ve always considered anything that you can find online as fair game, but within fair boundaries and that doesn’t include straight reproduction. I think that when you post anything online that you should have a reasonable expectation that it won’t be abused.
That having been said, here you go! I’m grouping everything into folders according to the sites that they have come from if there are alot from one source. Random one shot grabs will be grouped into a miscellaneous folder eventually. The first grouping is of a number of photos of really great station wagon conversions of surplus MBs. The work was done by an Australian engineer by the name of John Jennison who had many passions, among them early racing cars, motorcycles, designing and created speed boats, these MBs and the first caravans (tow behind campers for we non-Aussies...) in Australia starting in the late 1930’s. The jeep photos can be found here and alot more info and photos on his tear drop caravans can be found here and here. The original site, vintagecaravans appears to be an Australian forum dedicated to the art of caravanning. The wagons were a great unexpected treat for me as I am really getting into conversions of MBs and early civilian CJs. The wagons looked like beautiful, stretched woodys that eventually evolved into an elegant rounded fender car.
Come back next week for lots more! If I can find the time though I may post more in the next day or two as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The 2012 Calendar- December

Merry Christmas from! For the December 2012 page of the calendar we have an old homemade photo card. I wish that I knew the history behind this family, the Hartley’s. The only clue that I have is that it came from Colorado. The photo was taken and then clipped out around the Hartleys and then probably reproduced through taking another photo of it and then included in their holiday cards. And I believe that its a Willys MA from the unique shape of the circular headlight guards. As always please contact me if you have any further info on the Hartleys @
I hope that this has been a great day for one and all and that you all have the opportunity to cherish time with your family and friends today! From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

They’re Not Rationing The Christmas Spirit!

From the pages of Collier’s in December 1942, a mere 70 years ago an ad definitively showed that Santa has more helpers at his disposal than elves and reindeer. From the looks of it Santa has a Ford GP to help deliver those presents to boys and girls around the world. I wonder if he has had many more jeeps in his stable over the years?
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas Eve and I hope that you are spending it with your family and friends. I’ll be back tomorrow for a short Christmas special- the December page of the 2012 calendar which is still available along with the 2013 (and even the 2011 one...) calendar featuring all new photos! I’m also going to be starting a whole new feature of for the new year, so stay tuned and come back for more!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Jeep By Any Other Name

A jeep by any other name, would it still be considered a jeep? Hmmm... ever since the jeep first became known to the general public, the name and its origin and what it was attributed to has been a subject hotly debated by everyone. It is generally well known that the comic strip and cartoon hero, Popeye may have been lent the name ‘jeep’ to the jeep. The ‘Eugene the jeep’ in Popeye was a strange looking magical creature seemingly capable of going anywhere via inter-dimensional travel. Some say that this ability to go anywhere may have perfectly paralleled the military jeep’s capabilities. Or ‘jeep’ may have originated in a slurring of the ‘G’ (Government use...) and the ‘P’ (standing for an 80 inch wheelbase vehicle...) in the Ford GPW. There are a few other interesting uses shown in this article such as ‘jeep’ as slang for a naive, inexperienced person that was seen in a 1938 Saturday Evening Post article. It also seems to have been slang for any untried or tested military vehicle or gadget.
But wherever it came from, I have seen many examples of the word ‘jeep’ as a ubiquitous reference to just about any military vehicle from a 2 1/2 ton 6X6 to gliders to tanks. But in my Popular Mechanics searches I’ve uncovered a few that I had never  seen before. From a super-heavy tractor and trailer hauler, a ‘snow-jeep’ on caterpillar treads (that was still being used in 1948 well after Willys had successfully filed for trademarked use of the name ‘jeep.’) and a ‘harbor jeep’ tug used after the Normandy invasion these were unique. As well as the ‘jeep’ there other designations as the ‘peep’ and the ‘beep.’ The ‘beep’ was a three wheeled motor scooter used for courier purposes as seen in one of the articles dating from 1942.
Of course, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, the jeep, an idea whose time had come, had imitators from the 1948 Land Rover Series 1 to a  two wheel drive Japanese scout car. As under-gunned as it was compared to the MB, the Japanese version did have some features that would be now considered forward thinking including side curtains, a small V2 engine, a hydraulic steering stabilizer and front coil springs. You can look at what I found right here.
Come back the next couple of weeks when I’ll be cruising through more Popular Mechanic articles in an effort to polish off what I have for the moment before starting something new for the New Year. There is also the December page for 2012 calendar to show off and while you can still buy it, the 2013 calendar is also available with 12 new never before seen photos. Its still not too late to check out the Zazzle marketplace for that perfect gift for the jeep lover in your family. From new holiday cards and ornaments to new tee shirt designs and more you’ll find something that you or a friend would love for Xmas! See you next week!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Those Ads In The Back Of Popular Mechanics

Like the ads in the back of comic books back in the day, the back pages of Popular Mechanics and Science carried a ton of ads for all manners of fantastical things. Some that you would see were seemingly come-ons for military surplus and the requisite jeeps for sale in a crate and some were for add-ons or modifications for the newly surplus MBs that were cropping up all over the place as well as the new CJ. Now you could find everything from scale models of the famous MB to reconditioned L-Heads from J.C. Whitney for under 200 bucks. Also note the proliferation of ads for PTOs, do it yourself dually kits and surplus items like jerry cans. But now you also had new retailers who were specializing in jeeps like the famous Berg’s of Chicago who carried a full line of jeeps and parts for them. 
Apparently he was located on the south side of Chicago in a not so nice area of town, but had an extensive, though crowded selection of jeeps and parts. An old press photo shows customers pouring over what many of us would drool over today, Ford GPs and the rarest of the rare Bantam BRC-40 and yes, BRC-60s! At the time they were just work trucks and scrap parts, but wow! Berg’s wasn’t the only one in the business as the 1949 ad for American Auto Parts in Kansas City shows. MB tops for under $40! 

So, check out the new section of the Pop Mech/Sci Ad section where I’ll be adding new ads soon. Thanks for hanging in there last week as well. I’m not sure what I’ll be moving onto next week, maybe some new post-war Popular Mechanics stuff or maybe something else! In the meanwhile check out the Zazzle marketplace. I’ve created lots of new things for you and the jeep lover in your life from new ornaments, holiday cards, mugs, t-shirts and the all-new 2013 calendar! There’s still plenty of time to get stuff in time for Xmas! Come back for next week for more from the wide world of This Old Jeep!