Sunday, January 27, 2013

Website Finds, History Link 101

I stumbled across History Link 101 awhile ago and have enjoyed it immensely. It features hundreds if not thousands of historical royalty free photos online meant to be used for research and as an educational tool. I can identify with that as that is part of my stated intention for starting If you like old military oriented photos, this site is a gem! I hadn’t been back for a few months now, but pleasantly surprised by a nice stockpile of photos from the the Battle of the Bulge. There’s something for most people here and definitely something for jeep lovers. Alot of photos from Follow Me Jeeps in color to an MB outfitted in 1952 for fire fighting duty are things that I had never before seen.
But History Link 101 isn’t only military oriented. It was started by world history public school teacher, Eric Rymer as an educational resource for teachers and as such covers all sorts of topics from ancient cultures to modern and short lessons.
You can check out the full album here and come back next week for more!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The 2013 Calendar- January

Well, its time to start yet another calendar for the year and today on this holiday (that hopefully you will have off too...) I bring to you the January page for the 2013 calendar. This photo was a natural to present as the January page. Unfortunately I have no idea where or when the photo was taken, but maybe Alaska? In any case the two GIs were ready for anything with their MB and those cool snow goggles!
The 2013 calendar is available from the online marketplace and features 14 all new never before seen photos of the timeless jeep and its admirers. Click here to be taken to the calendar and lots more cool jeep related products. There’s something for anyone! Start the new year off right and spend the year with these vintage photos of the jeep. Come back next week for lots more at!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Forward Control Across The Web

The Forward Control was an idea that really has it admirers, but despite the love for it, it wasn’t one of Jeep’s most successful vehicles. It was introduced midway through 1956 for the following model year and only lasted until 1965. Nine years is a short life span for many of the jeep’s cousins. The FC had a mystique and sort of big ugly Saint Bernard charm. In its forward over operating setup the driver and passenger sat over the front axle. Its designer Brooks Stevens took styling cues from truck designs of the time and it had a lasting influence in the later design of the modern day minivan. 
The Forward Control began its humble life based upon a simple CJ-5 chassis, the T90 and F Head, but a year later gained a stretched cousin, the FC-170 and engineering improvements of its own. It was also available in fire engine, dump and tow bodies as well as with a pickup and stake bed that stretched the appeal of its useful design. It also saw short term use as a military vehicle as the M676, 677, 678 and 679. But as wide spread as the variants for the FC were, it never saw wide use or real acceptance.

Though its promise never fully came to fruition in the states, the FC achieved a more lasting influence overseas where it was produced under license by Mahindra in India and Viasa in Spain. It was also in Spain that a concept, the WideTrac FC saw the light of day. The WideTrac appears to have come about as a result of an design for the IVI (the International Vehicle Investigation program...) that looked for ideas for low-cost vehicles for third-world countries. I couldn’t find too much supporting info on the WideTrac, but it seems that it was designed at least in part once again by Brooks Stevens for Kaiser and produced by the Crown Coach Corporation that was in the  business of building buses. The WideTrac was built in 1960 with an all-aluminum body possibly for military consideration, but its pointed out that based on the looks of it in photos that it was strictly meant for civilian use. Who knows? And unfortunately, who knows where it may be or if it even still exists.

The WideTrac may have been influenced by the rendering on the top of a proposed FC facelift by Brooks Stevens. On the bottom, the WideTrac.

It was at about the same time that the Kaiser subsidiary VIASA (Vehiculos Industriales y Agricolas, S.A.) that produced jeeps under license in Spain started building the SV, a small cab forward van that was available in van, pickup and minibus configurations. The SV saw production lasting until 1980!
Stevens was also busy designing a van type concept of the FC which in 1958 incorporated a sleek and modern look. The picture below shows the 1958 Commuter in its natural environment that was identified as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was also near where Stevens called home. You can read and view alot more photos of it at the FC Connection here-

And so, the FC soldiered on until it was dropped from Kaiser’s lineup after the 1965 model year.

PS. Anyone have any info on this articulated FC? I have only come across this one photo of it, with no supporting info other than it is believed to be a 1959 FC.
Check out the full album here and come back next week for more from the rarely seen archives of jeep photos from across the internet!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Website Finds, Tahiti-Pacifique

On this cold January day I needed to delve into more website finds from Tahiti, yep, Tahiti, South Pacific paradise where not only the HMS Bounty landed, but the painter, Gauguin retired to. Tahiti is just one island in a larger chain, collectively part of French Polynesia, in an archipelago of islands sweeping out into the southern Pacific Ocean about 5 hours south of Hawaii. It was long a French colony and is still a protectorate of France where its inhabitants can apply for French citizenship. During the Second World War, it was part of the Pacific Allied defense when the island of Bora-Bora was used as a military supply post. Apparently many of the jeeps stationed there were not surprisingly left there after the war, being too expensive to bother with shipping them back to the states afterwards. And so they were used as many a jeep was to its best advantage, as a workhorse and jack of all trades, for the local gendarmerie, merchants, doctors and just as a fashionable means of transit. An open topped jeep was perfect for island life. But not only MBs made their way to French Polynesia as seen in the photos there were CJ2-As and even a Jeepster!
These photos came from the local magazine, Tahiti-Pacifique that has covered Polynesian life, culture and society since 1991. All of the images are to be considered copyrighted and belong to the magazine and are presented here as research tools for entertainment only. You can view the photos online here as well as a nice modern rebuild of a 1944 Navy MB here. Come back next when I’ll have more and maybe even an extra update tomorrow if I can get over this cold that I’m feeling lousy with.
Santa didn’t bring you what you want? Check out what we have to offer every jeep lover at the marketplace! Come back and keep warm!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Website Finds, Walter Schweitzer, 107th Cavalry

In 1938 just as the idea of the modern military jeep was in its very infancy, Walter Schweitzer joined the recruit class of the 107th Regiment Horse Cavalry of the National Guard. He grew up listening to the sounds of the milkman, the baker and the grocer making their rounds with horse-drawn wagons and naturally gravitated towards horses. And in the next couple of years, the Horse Cavalry became a horse and mechanized cavalry outfit with the advent of the jeep and the greater mechanization of the army. Despite this, Walter Schweitzer remained on horseback stationed at Fort Ord, California after the attack on Pearl Harbor where his duties included patrolling the coastline in search of Japanese subs and invasion attempts and desert maneuvers. His was one of the last of the old guard who still rode a horse in the cavalry and Fort Ord was the last remaining example of cavalry stables and blacksmith shops before they were sadly, torn down in May 2011.
In May 1942, Fort Ord was responsible for shooting this series of publicity shots of Schweitzer and his horse, Big Cain jumping the jeep. That was what attracted me to this site, but the full story is a great one that I found here. I loved the irony of the horse cavalry jumping the ‘newcomer,’ the jeep that eventually helped make the horse based cavalry obsolete.
This will be an ongoing series of installments in which I want to highlight these miscellaneous photos found that feature the jeep in websites that most people would probably not know about or have seen before. These are not my photos and should be regarded only as references for research or entertainment. Please refer back to the original url source if you reproduce these. You can view the full album section here.
I’ll be back with more next week. I hope that everyone had a happy and safe new year and is enjoying this last of the big holidays until spring. I also wanted to update the look of the What’s New section slightly for the new year. What do you think? See you next week with more of the legendary jeep!