Monday, May 27, 2013

Willys-Overland Industrial Equipment Book, Part Four- Bodies And Enclosures

Let’s jump right into the update today because its a big section. Back in February while writing the evolution of the hardtop I mentioned that I had checked something that I’ve had for a long time but hadn’t looked at for awhile. This Industrial Equipment binder was it. Back in 1952 just before Kaiser Industries bought out what remained of Willys-Overland and continued the production of the jeep, this three-ring binder contained a wealth of info on what was available to the dealer as optional equipment for his customer. Previously we’ve covered the farm implements, accessories (and surprising accessories they were, back up lights, windshield washers, a second brake light!), the Warn hub set up and today we have the Body and Enclosure section. The Body and Enclosures section contains everything from the expected stuff like info on the big hardtop and half top manufacturer of the day, Koenig of Houston, Texas to the unexpected stuff like their body extensions that are pretty rarely seen nowadays.
And it wasn’t all for the CJs. There was equipment for the pickup trucks from aluminum body enclosures making it into a sort of cargo truck and the Dump-O-Matic which was also available converting the truck into a dumper for only about $350! But then again that same $350 had the same buying power as about $3,000 today! Its great to see that stuff like this and all of the hand typed notes are still there.
Koenig, of course, wasn’t the only hard top manufacturer out there, there was also Beck. I was going to check on what Derek Redmond of the CJ3B Page had to say about Becks as I hadn’t heard much about them before finding these pages, but his site seems to be down today.
And if you didn’t want a hard top there was still a soft top available as optional equipment, though for the princely price of about $95 in 1952 dollars that amounts to $833 today (?!) according to the consumer price index, it seems like a hard top may have been a better bargain!
Lastly, there was the still mysterious Worman company who had the aluminum pickup enclosure, the aforementioned Jee-Cab as well as the Parkway conversion as offerings. I’ll be honest when I say that I don’t know if I fully understand the Parkway conversion. I believe that it was just the conversion of the sedan wagon from a rear drop down tailgate and lifting hatch to two swing away doors making it easier for deliverymen. The page states that it “adds” four large windows, but didn’t the station wagon already come with four rear windows? Though there was a big price difference between the station wagon with four windows and the sedan delivery wagon with no windows depending upon the year. So the price of just $65 ($570 today) possibly was a bargain versus the $100 to $400 ($877 to $3500 today!) of a station wagon plus you got the swing aways. Again not much seems to be known about Worman of Toledo, Ohio as a whole. Anyone have an idea where the name of ‘Parkway’ came from?
In doing some poking around the web for info on the Beck’s hardtop, I stumbled across this R/C website and this guy’s absolutely incredible 1970 CJ-5 with hardtop R/C! This is simply amazing. Check out the thread here and watch this and more of his videos on YouTube. He’s also built an FC-170!
Thanks for your patience in waiting for the update today. Lots going on around the house yesterday and I just didn’t have the time or energy to finish it to my satisfaction. Come back next week for more of the Industrial Equipment binder! And have a good Memorial Day. Please take the time to remember all those vets who have fallen in the line of duty and thank a living vet too! Check out this CBS story from their Sunday Morning show about Staff Sergeant Blakey of the 82nd Airborne who was a part of the D-Day invasion. His story is worth hearing!

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