Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014- The Ladies In The Jeeps

You’ve seen plenty of photos of guys and their jeeps- the GIs, the farmers, the ranchers, the shade tree mechanics and restorers, but its alot less common to see women in them. Well I’ve seen more than a few of which I want to show you today. I’m sure that there is a story behind each and every one of them and I wish that as always that I knew more about that tale. Some are WACs during wartime maybe on a wartime fund drive, some are wives and girlfriends of those GIs and yes some are just plain eye candy. Enjoy them all here and come back next year, yep next week, that is for more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014- Milton Zink And Slat Grill Tests, 1940

Today we come back to yet more photographs by the Willys Overland favorite, contract photographer, Milton Zink. I’ve been bringing you photos from the Toledo Lucas County Library’s online collection for some weeks and Milton Zink keeps popping up. Other than being a local from the Toledo area with an established photography studio and brief bit of info on him and his family line I know little else of Zink. But I do know that he took many important historically important photos back in the early days of the jeep. As well he was a talented photographer, able to capture the playfulness, power and versatility of the jeep. He was able to photographically illustrate the uniqueness of the jeep compared with anything that had come before it. These photos are of an MB slat grill, which was the early standardized model by Willys that featured steel bars for a radiator grill and was replaced by a lighter stamped grill for subsequent years. 
A couple of questions are brought up by these photos. The stamped grill came from a Ford design that they used as a standard design in their GPW models that were built simultaneously alongside the MB. If this was actually shot in 1940 (and judging by the driver’s heavy overcoat and lack of leaves, it must be late fall time...) would this have been one of the first very early MBs built in 1940? The first 25,000 or so were indeed equipped with the steel bar ‘slat grill’ radiator guards. And of course, I also wonder who the test driver was. He certainly wasn’t afraid of putting the jeep through its paces judging by his wild jumps getting air at the top of the hill. Its hard to say for certain how inclined the hill was either, but it does look steep enough to be a cheek clencher (and this without seat belts or roll bars either!).
They are captioned as being shot down by the Ottawa River, a location that Zink had used before in photos of an early MA model. The Ottawa River is a tributary to Lake Erie that flows through the city of Toledo. I wonder if anyone knows exactly where these test sites were located?
Hope that you enjoyed the short update today. Visit our Zazzle store for the best custom designed jeep gifts around and come back next week for more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014- Milton Zink And The Front Steps Of The Willys Administration Building

And as in ‘didn’t they shoot an awful lot of press photos there?’ It seems that way, but I love this staged shot. I’ve already talked a bit about Milton Zink and what I could find on him, but it still surprises me how often he turns up as the photographer that Willys turned to time and time again. He was a local Toledo photographer with a studio located in the city, but I’d sure love to know more about his background and history with Willys.
These images turn up in the Images In Time online collection of the Toledo Lucas County Library and are a real treasure of historical photographs of the jeep’s early history up through the 1950’s primarily. Check them out and remember that everything belongs to them if you decide to share. Please credit them appropriately.
The couple of photos above playfully show an MB balanced on boards that are in turn balanced on a beer bottle at each corner. I’m not sure who the gentlemen were, but the ladies were most likely from the Willys Administration Building’s secretarial pool. I only wonder how they managed to get the MB up and balanced like that? As far as the exact date, the TLCP Library lists these three images as variously between 1940 and 1943, but given that the MB wasn’t produced until 1941, I’d say 41-43 probably as a publicity stunt. I also included two more below. One of an exterior shot of the same building (also taken by Zink...) showing the expansive Corinthian columns along the front of the building and another also shot on the front steps of the Jeepster along with three comely ladies. I’d like to think that it’s the same three women as in the MB, but who knows? Its dated as belong to 1955, but I’d say probably more along the lines of the Jeepster’s production years of 1948-50.
I also want to say thanks for sticking in there with me the past few weeks. I’ve been so incredibly busy lately that it was impossible to get anything accomplished to my satisfaction. I’m putting in time working in a new job with my local union as well as my regular 40 hour a week job. That and after years of doing this I’ve gotten just a bit burnt out. From time to time I may need to take a break. I’m looking forward to designing some new products for the Zazzle store too, but unfortunately nothing new is coming down the pipe for this year. But I will be back at it. Check out the store. There are always lots of great holiday sales going on and lots of great designs for yourself or any other jeep lover in your life. 
One more thing that has been taking up time in my life has been the fact that my wife and I are expecting our third little jeeper next month. Doctor’s visits and the usual planning and nesting have been occupying my time and thoughts lately. Its taken away alot of my focus on this site, but my wife and I have been looking forward to this for a long time now! But don’t worry, I’ll be back. Come back next week for more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014- Website Finds- The LA Times

Today we’ll have a short, but sweet update as I’m still working on the voluminous amount of material in the Toledo Lucas Library collection. Plus, I did promise you guys and gals an update. The LA Times is a pretty respected newspaper and has been since 1881 accumulating a grand total of 41 Pulitzer prizes. So in all that time its not at all surprising that a photo of a jeep or three has raced its pages and have been seen through the eyes of its photojournalists. Through the power of the internet, these images and thousands more are available through the LA Times’ photography blog, Framework, which is described as....

“Framework, the photography and video blog of the Los Angeles Times, celebrates the power and explores the craft of visual storytelling. The blog highlights the work of Times photojournalists who frame by frame, document the drama, the emotion and sometimes the humor of life. Framework also aims to serve as a resource hub for photography, multimedia and video enthusiasts who share our passion.”

Today, we have five of those images. The first are a series of desert training photos with Major General Patton in the desert of California in April 1942. In them you can see MBs as well as many left over Ford GPs and Willys MAs that were widely used stateside during the war. The next photo, which features a script tub Willys MB, is from a sad chapter in America’s history- the internment of Japanese- Americans in 1942.  Finally, a 1948photo of a CJ2-A that was being used to spray DDT in Santa Monica as part of an insect control program. Enjoy these and click here to see the entire album of photos and come back in two weeks when I hope to have a fuller update of the Images In Time collection. I won’t be in town next week so unfortunately I won’t be able to get to it then. In the meanwhile try to stay warm out there!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Toledo Lucas Library Images In Time- Milton Zink And The Willys MA

Hi guys and welcome back to another installment of the wonderful treasure trove of images that can be found at (and are obviously the sole property of...) the Toledo-Lucas County Library collection, Images In Time. Its a collection of historical photographs of the Toledo and northwest Ohio areas. Naturally containing images from Toledo it also contains a great many of the historical past of Willys-Overland and the jeep. The images that I’m presenting today are solely of Willys offering to the Quartermaster’s call for a quarter ton vehicle. The Willys MA was the first standardized pre-production model that was offered up for testing right after their first prototype, the Willys Quad. 
The photos here were shot by a fellow named Milton Zink. I’ve tried to find anything on his photographic and life history, but have only come up with a few leads and dead ends at that. I’m fairly certain that this Google Sites webpage details Milton Zink’s ancestry. His ancestors emigrated to this country from southwestern Germany in the early 19th century. Settling at first in western New York they bought land and farmed near the Erie Canal. Later they moved westward as far as Michigan leaving many descendants along the way. In 1933 a book was published detailing the Zink family history. It was coordinated by a Milton Zink of Toledo, Ohio through a series of questionnaires that he sent out to the widespread Zink relatives.
Besides the numerable attributions to the “Zink Negative Collection” from the Images in Time collection, I’ve found quite a few other random mentions of Milton Zink or the Zink Photography Studio as being the creators of photographs of various Toledo area architectural landmarks. Derek Redmond of the CJ3B Pagementions him only as “Willys photographer Milton Zink.” If you have any further info, please email me I’d love to find out more and let you know about him. Photography is a side interest of me and well, Zink was fairly involved in recording alot of the jeep’s early history.
Most of these photos are only credited as “circa 1940” and sometimes with a question mark, but I’d imagine that they were shot sometime around late 1940, early ’41. The first MA’s out of the 1,553 built were delivered in June 1941 for further testing alongside the Ford GP and the Bantam BRC-40. Of course many of these 4,500 or so pre-production models were used on military bases well after these early years, but I’d hazard a guess that Willys shot the majority of the photos I bring to you today in that summer of 1941 for publicity shots or documentation. Most of the photos were according to the TLC Library are credited as “A photo of a Jeep being maneuvered in the Ottawa River near the Bancroft Street Bridge in Toledo, Ohio, as part of a demonstration.” Whoever the test driver was they certainly wanted to show off the versatility and water fording abilities of the Willys jeep. I just hope that they drained all of the oils in the diffs, transmission and transfer case afterwards! The two factory floor images are interesting as well. They show the MA rolling off the assembly line floor alongside the Willys Americar that was produced from 1937-42. They are dated 1942 as is the neat photo of the ice skater jumping the MA on an ice rink. It looks like a close call.
Come back next week for more of the best of the jeep since 1940 and please remember to support our sponsors, Extreme Terrain and Montana-Overland. Check out the full album of photos right here and remember to credit the Toledo Lucas County library if you share!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014- Toledo Lucas County Library- Images In Time

Quite a few years back now I stumbled across the Toledo Lucas County Library’s online collection of photographs and its what you’d expect of an online collection based in the hometown of the jeep. Its a true treasure trove of images. When I began looking it was far more than I had ever hoped to find and it was hard to pull myself away. There’s everything here from the turn of the century historical images of a young Willys-Overland company straight through and detailing alot of early jeep images that are hard to find anywhere else. There is a ton of jeep stuff here and so I want to slowly present it to you guys, starting today with some of the earliest images, the pre-jeep Willys-Overland that emerged at the turn of the century to sell some 4,000 cars a year by 1910 and was one of Toledo’s largest employers. Willys-Overland and its subsidiary and auxiliary businesses that supplied it at the time employed a full third of Toledo’s workforce! That amounted to 18,000 employees in Toledo alone with a further 20,000 in Elyria, Ohio, Buffalo, New York and Flint and Pontiac, Michigan.
John NorthWillys grew up in Canandaigua, New York, in the western end of the state. He was an enterprising young man who eventually started out selling and manufacturing his own line of bicycles. That is, until he saw his first automobile in 1899 while on a business trip in Cleveland and grew convinced that this was the future of transportation. He became a dealer at first using a Pierce that he bought to use as a demo model. He eventually sold Ramblers as well and being the turn of the century it started off slowly with only a few sales per year. Ever onward, Willys began selling Overland autos until he took advantage of financial difficulties in that company and acquired it in 1907. It became of course, the proto-Willys-Overland Motor Company.
Willys shifted his production facilities to Toledo when he bought yet another bankrupt car company, Pope. It was a success. He sold more than he could nearly produce and by 1909, the very same year that Henry Ford introduced his Model T, the Willys-Overland Company unveiled the Overland Model 38. “For the model years 1910 through the end of the Ford Model T production in 1927, the Overland car was second in production only to the Ford.” ( By the end of 1910, Willys-Overland was producing over 4,000 cars per year, all of which were pre-sold as they were produced. He ended with a profit of $1 million within one year of nearing bankruptcy. In the five years between 1910 and 1915, production increased by tenfold from 15,500 cars to 150,000. Its pretty amazing what he accomplished- and all this way before the jeep was dreamed of.
Things went on from there in a pretty steady rate. It was in 1913 that he acquired the rights from a British manufacturer, Charles Knight to produce under license an engine that used something called the sleeve- valve that replaced the traditional valve system still in use today. It was innovative, but not as efficient as what it led to, the Go-Devil 4. By 1917, Willys-Overland Motors (as it was now called...) produced 1,000 cars in a single shift!
Willys was incredibly active, gobbling up smaller and less successful companies and adding to his holdings. Among them, were the Moline Plow Company (which later became Minneapolis-Moline and during WW2 made tractors which the Navy used as tugs moving aircraft, which were coincidentally nicknamed ‘jeeps’!), Duesenberg and the New Process Gear Company of Syracuse, NY (which, of course, also coincidentally produced many, many transfer cases which modern jeeps used... he later had the sell the NP company. But this leveraged debt and labor troubles forced him to dump off alot of it as well, but there are interesting connections. 
John North Willys never seemed to slow down. He died of a heart attack in 1935  at the young age of 61 after saving his company from bankruptcy. He was driven, working 12-16 hours a day sometimes seven days per week. After his death, the company was reorganized as the Willys-Overland Motors, Inc. and was helmed by chairman, Ward Canaday, who along with Joseph Frazer as president and Barney Roos, the engineer became familiar as some of the early names behind the jeep.
Come back next week and I’ll continue showing off these photos which are courtesy the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, obtained from http:/// Check out the full album here and enjoy!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday, October 5, 2014- Bantam Photos From WW2Jeep/ GPortal

Just a short update today. I was planning on a longer article along with a short history, but that will have to wait until next week. I was battling through an early fall season cold yesterday and the usual assorted weekend responsibilities and just ran out of time after starting the project. But we’ll shoot for next week on that. Today is another website find- WW2Jeep.GPortal. I’m not exactly sure if its independent of or linked up with the always excellent all military site or not, but WW2Jeep is a wealth of photos and info. There is a ton of stuff there though the site is a bit difficult to navigate unless you speak Hungarian or allow Google to translate it for you, but check it out. 
These images are a smattering of what I started to find there about 5 years ago or so. Well nowadays there is a ton more! This is mainly Bantam stuff and alot that I hadn’t seen before (and some I have) so I thought it was pretty neat. Bantam photos are always fairly rare when compared to the standardized MB and GPW shots that you find. There are standardized prototype BRC-40 photos (the 1,500 units that the Quartermaster ordered from Willys (the MA) and Ford (the GP)) as well as photos of the original Pilot/ Old Number One that Bantam turned out first of all back in 1940 and as well a four wheel steer model. Most are original photos with some screen shots from a film thrown in here and there. Check out the full album here.
Come back next week when I’ll plan on having a fairly more substantial update. until then don’t forget to visit and support our sponsors, Extreme Terrain and Montana Overland. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014- A Little Bit Of Jeep Humor

On this dreary rainy early fall day and the last day of summer I’ve decided that I needed to dip into a special folder that I’ve kept that has sorta surprisingly filled up not so slowly over time. The jeep and its near invincible reputation has lent itself to humor and exaggeration greatly over the years. Its ability to do near anything has been a great source to poke fun with in these images. Hope that you enjoy and get a laugh or two. Come back next week and I’ll try to have a longer writeup. You can view the entire collection in the Website Finds folder here.
I’d also like to take this time to thank our sponsors, Extreme Terrain and Montana Overland for their continued support of Both have decided to renew their commitment to helping me bring you the best of the jeep since 1940. Please take the time to check them whether you need a part for anything from the full sized jeep pickups, wagons and Cherokees and Wagoneers from 1946 through 1988 to your YJ, TJ and JK parts. Whatever you’re driving, restoring, wheeling, working with or on, check them out. Extreme Terrain and Montana Overland have you covered! Click on their links above or call 1-406-741-5337 to reach George at Montana Overland or talk to Extreme Terrain’s Jeep enthusiasts at 1-855-556-8044 Mon-Fri 9-8 EST. Remember, their support is what keeps this site online, so please support them.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014- 1950 CJ3-A Camper Conversion

Like so many things in life and in the history of the jeep there are mysteries. This, for me is one of the big ones. The first half dozen negatives showed up on Ebay about last year or so and it was intriguing. They showed a converted CJ3-A that looked as though it had its front end grafted onto a large camper trailer. There was no further info in the listing other than its date 1950. It was a mystery. Who made this? Where was it and why? Did it still exist? How did something like this handle on the road? What was it powered by? Certainly I would think not the original flathead Go Devil 4? Inside the photos showed a pretty standard camper with sleeping berths, gas stove and a refrigerator with a basic utilitarian driver’s cockpit. It was pretty unique to say the least.
A few months later another contact sheet of negatives showed up again on Ebay. They showed a further ten negs with people inhabiting the camper making it look like posed commercially shot photos for a future advertising campaign. The only other info that was supplied was that it was again from the 1950’s, but also that the camper was pictured in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. Certainly this wasn’t the first time that someone envisioned a bit more comfort while using the jeep in the wilderness or as a camping/ hunting vehicle. A 1952 Motor Trend article shows off one hunter’s modification of his Willys pickup.
Much later on in 1969, Kaiser introduced the short lived Jeep Camper which was designed to be piggybacked on the back of a modified CJ-5 (that is with the Buick 225 V-6 and 4.88 gearing... but they would fit any CJ-5.) They made only 336 of them and are pretty rare nowadays. You can read a bit more here Was this a mockup of something that Kaiser was envisioning a decade before the production camper? There are many good questions and if anyone can supply any answers or would be willing to share higher resolution scans of these negs please contact me @ You can view all of the negs in the website finds album here. Enjoy this end of summer fun and come back next week for more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014- Jeeps On The Farm

Happy Labor Day to everyone! I had wanted to get this up yesterday, but it was a very long day trying to squeeze as much as possible into a three day weekend. Regardless, today is more fitting as I wanted to bring to you a selection of new images that I’ve found of the jeep hard at work. Specifically of the jeep at work on the farm. Post-war, Willys-Overland targeted farmers as an important market for the new jeep CJ2-A. I won’t go into a whole history lesson, but W-O test marketed the jeep in farms across the country and had them photographed by the press while performing various tasks such as hauling hay and milk to running agricultural devices with the rear power take-off. Many of these jeeps were the first CJ’s, the CJ-1 which were slightly modified MBs and then the next incarnation, the CJ-2, the famous “Agrijeeps.” These photos represent them and mostly the years of 1944-45, though some are undated and represent the years of the CJ2-A production. There are also a Bantam BRC-60 being used to tend to the cows and a Ford GP hauling milk cans as well as a couple of GIs lassooing cattle from the seat of an MB. There are also some fanciful photos of a CJ2-A and as well the first introduction of the CJ-5 in 1954 being shown in a pastoral landscape. You can view them all right here in the album section of Website Finds.
I’d also like to take the time to thank Extreme Terrain for their continued advertising support of Its due in part to our sponsors like Extreme Terrain that I’m able to keep this site up and running year after year. Please take the time to support them by clicking through their link at the bottom of the page. Enjoy your holiday and we’ll see you next week with the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014- Wrecks And Stucks, Part Two

As August is very nearly coming to an end and as well with it, the symbolic end of summer, I want to hope that everyone has had a great summer. Not that the year should all be downhill after summer, but it has always seemed like a big turning point when kids start going back to school and the days are shorter and crisper and somehow sweeter. Its time for apple picking and seeing school buses on the road and possibly even putting up the top on your jeep. So at this crux of the season I thought it appropriate to dedicate this update to more wrecks and stucks. I started this topic last year and for many reasons its always easy to find more whoops! moments with the jeep. I think that it has something to do with the fact that while the jeep seems unstoppable, we’re all human and the jeep, too is unfortunately fallible.
And so I hope that you all have had no wrecks, and only as many stucks as it took to learn something from it and maybe even have a little fun laughing at yourselves. Click right here to see all of the images plus everything from the original post in the Website Finds section. See you guys next week!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014- Website Finds-

Hi again everyone. Sorry about the delay over the last couple of weeks. But I’m back today with a short update for your enjoyment. There is SO much over the last couple of years that I’ve discovered online relating to the jeep. Its not hard, they’re beloved and ubiquitous, just everywhere and a part of alot of people’s everyday lives, so its no wonder. But sometimes they pop up online in unexpected places and the focus of today’s update is the website find of Ipernity is to be a photo sharing site and so you never know what you can find there. Last summer I found a number of really interesting photos that I had never before seen. They seemed to be someone’s personal collection or maybe what they had found online and posted there. Its hard to tell, but it was a nice little find that mainly focused on military men posing around a multitude of jeeps. Like I said a short update, but some interesting photos!
My wife and kids and I went to a friend’s wedding yesterday and the reception was held at the local AAA baseball team’s stadium with a game following (which the home team won in the tenth inning with a tremendous home run with bases loaded!). So its a bit of a quick update today but I hope that you enjoy it! See you next week and you can view the entire album right here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Jeep And Automobile Design At The MOMA- 1951

I’m sure that you’ve heard of the phrase that “form follows function” before. I’m a firm believer in it. The jeep is a perfect example of it. The form of the jeep was derived from the functions that it was necessary to provide for the US Army Quartermaster Corps. When the call went out for the vehicle that was to become the jeep in 1940 it was heeded by very few companies. Very few companies either had the engineering talent necessary to create something from scratch and/or they just didn’t need the contract. American Bantam Motor Car had both. They had Karl Probst, a freelance automotive engineer, who reportedly drafted the design in two days in June of 1940, along with Harold Crist, Chet Hemphling and Ralph Turner. But they also had the need. 
There has been alot written about Bantam’s solvency versus Willys-Overland and the overall strong points of both companies and frankly I don’t know what to believe. But the important point was that Bantam responded to the Army’s unrealistic 49 day time frame for a working and running prototype to be delivered to Camp Holabird, Maryland by September 1940. So while some say that the Army contract saved Bantam for a short while, it was more likely the other way around. Bantam saved the Army’s bacon and helped in a very key way to create a very necessary piece of war equipment. Bantam’s design was aped and copied by the final two manufacturers, Willys and Ford and it was this design that has influenced every jeep made since. From these beginning requirements that the military set down, the form was derived.

- The weight was not to exceed 1200 pounds (increased to 1275 lbs 1 July and then to 1308 lbs).
Carry six hundred pounds of payload in cross country operations.
- Wheelbase not to exceed 75 inches (increased to 80 inches 1 July).
- Height not to exceed 36 inches (increased to 40 inches 1 July).
  1. -Ground clearance of 6.25 inches at a minimum.
- Approach angle of 45° and departure angle of 40°.
- Four wheel drive with a two speed transfer case, geared for up to 50 mph on-road and down to 3 mph off-road.
- A mount for a .30 cal. machine gun.
- A rectangular body and folding windshield.
- Seating for three.
- Blackout lights.
From this humble beginning the jeep was born. And if you’re like me as I’m sure that you are, you appreciate the jeep’s relatively simple boxy design. But it turns out that not only the jeep’s normal fans that were impressed by the little jeep. In 1951, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC decided to hold a series of exhibits that showcased examples of what they considered timeless examples of automotive design. It was the first real example of a new thought along the lines of what constitutes not just auto beauty, but overall auto design. It wasn’t a new idea for the museum actually. Since the early post-war ideas through the mid 1950’s they had begun asking the question of ‘what is good design?’ as regards everyday things from home goods, appliances, furnishings and sporting goods. The shows ranged from coffee makers and cheese graters to Tupperware. And like these humble daily objects the jeep was chosen in its fall show of 1951 for its practicality and purposeful design. 
The jeep chosen was loaned from Kaiser Willys, an M38 and it sat in the museum. I wish that I had been able to find the whole catalogue for it, but instead I have only sections, but at least the page for the jeep is able to be found online. You can see the image at the top of the page and the catalogue entry reads as follows:

“1951 (model first produced in 1941). Manufactured by Willys-Overland Motors, Inc., Toledo, Ohio. Overall length 10 feet 3 inches.
The admirable Jeep seems to have the combined appeal of an intelligent dog and a perfect gadget. It is an appeal so vast that this wonderful tool for transportation has won approval for much more that its practicality, though the engineers who perfected it worked without the concern for style with which other automobiles are designed.
The Jeep looks like a tray, or perhaps a sturdy sardine can, on wheels. Part of the top appears to have been cut open and folded up, to serve as a windshield. From it a canvas canopy can be stretched over some metal struts to the back of the car, thus affording temporary shelter from rain. large wheels dominate the design, and insist rather than suggest that the Jeep’s primary purpose is transportation.
One of the most striking illustrations of its direct design is the front fender. It is composed of two rectangular platforms placed at the best angle for preventing mud splash. The two sections are connected by an overlap, left plainly visible, and the lower section is joined to a small step. The side walls are low enough for passengers to step in, thus eliminating mechanically troublesome doors. Even refinements of contour grow out of practical considerations: the fenders have rounded corners to avoid cutting passengers as they get in.
With its wheels removed and the windshield folded flat the jeep fits into a shipping case. Uncrated and on the road it can maneuver its way through spaces blocked to larger vehicles. It can be stood on end and pushed through narrow passages; it has on occasion been dismantled and carried, piece by piece, over unmanageable terrain, and with suitable equipment it can be driven underwater. Bolts visible on the wheels and the body facilitate either the removal of parts or periodic tightening.
Those who have used the Jeep will recall certain limitations of comfort. Yet there are few automobiles that give their drivers so exhilarating a sense of speed and control. The Jeep substitutes for a deliberate esthetic program the formative principles of construction; its design is unified by the economy, (disdaining the merely decorative with which each part is fitted for its purpose. It is one of the few genuine expressions of machine art.”

Well said, the only part that I disagree with is calling it a ‘car.’ I just wish that Jeep still designed at least one of their vehicles this way today.
As recently as last year the jeep has found its way into a museum space with the last MOMA exhibit, Born Out Of Necessity, which is as good a way of any of describing the genesis of the jeep. Though this time the jeep featured was a 1952 M38A1. The jeep rubbed shoulders with a 1959 VW Bug and a 1961 Jaguar E-Type and made its way into the MOMA’s permanent collection in 2002.
 Here are a couple of good write-ups on the series of exhibits (though not specifically jeep related...) here and here and for more on the last exhibit, Born Out Of Necessity see here and here. I also found a magazine article from an undated copy of ‘Auto Sport Review.’ It talks about the various vehicles in the exhibit with no mention of the show at the MOMA itself. I think that I can forgive the article writer for misdating the M38 as a 1941 as he/she hits the mark by identifying the jeep as having an “appearance and its purpose” that are the same. Again, its very true and what endears the jeep to millions. There’s nothing frilly or unnecessary about it.
 You can download and read a PDF of the magazine article here- Auto Sport Review-WIGD.pdf, the MOMA’s press releases may also interest you here- 1951 MOMA Press Announcements.pdf as well as a PDF of the catalogue cover and the page on the jeep itself.
 Come back next week. I haven’t an idea right now of what I’m going to write about, but I also said that last week and then realized that this was something that I had wanted to put the time into researching for some time now. Hope that you enjoyed it and see you next week with more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A New Era, The YJ

This is going to be the first time that I’ve written or presented anything related to the YJ at For a long time I simply didn’t like the looks of them- the new sorta funky and modern looking dash that was a long ways from the simple flat dash that generations of jeeps had succeeded in just being awesome machines with, the padding everywhere, the just plain... modernity of the YJ that truly set it apart from any of its predecessors. But worst of all were the square headlights that replaced the familiar and comfortable face of every jeep since 1940. But in reality, those were some of the things that have allowed the jeep to continue until today. It succeeded by adapting as we all must evolve. Nowadays, a couple of years back I had the realization that I sort of liked the YJ, it was finally become ‘classic’ looking in the intervening years! And so today, we have the last of the brochures from the car enthusiast website, a “web magazine/blog” Lov2xlr8.
On May 13, 1986 the newly named moniker of ‘Wrangler’ made its debut. Aside from the newly designed front end sheet metal that carried the square headlights there were many other details that were subtly new. The rear gate was new as was the swing away tire carrier. The hood was now beveled with rounded edges that was supported by the new front grill. Little touches like flexible fender flares and built in splash shields that wrapped back from the front fenders were added. The soft top was entirely new making it a truly better design that incorporated half doors and soft uppers. As well now you could remove the side and rear windows for a bikini top.
The AMC 258-6 was still doing the power chores as an option for the YJ with the 4 cylinder 2.5 liter as the standard. Also, the Sahara edition showed up as a special edition with leather wrapped wheel and heavier carpeting and other khaki trim. It all went for a base price of $8795. As far as it was from the original CJ2-A that debuted in 1945 with two color choices, the 1987 YJ Laredo also had a mere two color choices available- Olympic white and Classic black (though other additional colors were available as extra cost add-ons...)
The YJ went on with small changes here and there, but the biggest to come was the introduction of the new 4.0, the newly designed high output 180 horsepower fuel injected straight six that replaced the AMC design, the 4.2 liter/ 258 cu. inch six. The YJ went on along with the begrudging respect from Jeep fans eventually gaining standard stuff today like OBD II systems and anti-lock brakes, a newly designed cage and third eye brake light. It continued until 1997 when it was replaced the all new TJ, which is a whole other story! One little detail that I didn’t know until I was doing the research for this article was the fact that there was no actual 1996 YJ. It continued instead an ‘old’ tradition of retitling the previous year’s 1995 built jeeps as a 1996.
Well, this wraps up the 1980’s and other than a few miscellaneous ads, the end of material from Lv2xlr8. I’m not sure right now what I’ll present next week, but I’ll figure out something. Or drop me an email or at our Facebook page with a suggestion. Tell a friend about us too and Like us. We’re nearly at 1,000 likes! Have a great summer weekend and come back for more of the best of the jeep since 1940!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Jeep In 1985

The 1980’s were a tumultuous time for the world and for Jeep. In 1985 the CJ was nearly ready to end production. At this time the CJ-5 was no more and the CJ-7 was the lone survivor in the CJ camp. But it went on proudly through its final year in 1986 after the decision was announced by Joseph Cappy, the executive VP of operations in November of 1985. Another old veteran, the Gladiator was scheduled to be phased out in 1987. In ’85 their lineup was pretty slim with the J-10 not being manufactured (but for some reason it made its triumphant swan song return in its final year, 1987...). The J-20 with a 131” wheelbase was the only offering in its base level or the Pioneer package that for an additional $475 gave you floor carpeting, fabric door panel inserts, a wood grain instrument cluster overlay, decals, wheel covers and an Extra Quiet Insulation Package that included a custom headliner and dash insulation along with other sound deadening materials for that rumble of the 258 inline 6 or AMC’s 360 V-8.
But as the 1980’s were about the fear of nuclear mutual assured destruction they were also about hope for the future and this was embodied in the Cherokee and the Commanche pickup. The Cherokee had been remodeled the year before in 1984 and it was a hit. The Cherokee had been named 4 Wheel & Off Road magazine’s “4 X 4 of the Year.” It was an exciting new step in the right direction and as the brochure illustrates the “Innovation and Technology Only In A Jeep.” The new Commanche expanded Jeep’s marketplace footstep into a new area, that of the burgeoning market for the smaller and more affordable import pickup truck. It debuted officially as a 1986 model and if you look carefully, you’ll realize that its basic design was taken from the Cherokee sans enclosed rear. It never quite developed a following in the day and by 1992 after some 164,000 units made it ended its run.
But like any jeep that had seen better days, a new star was on the horizon, about to shine and where we end up next week will be the first glimpse of that star.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

1982 CJ, Scrambler, Wagoneer And Select-Trac Brochures

Welcome back and this weekend brings us to the end of the 1982 Jeep brochures. I hope that everyone had a good Fourth of July holiday weekend. The early 1980’s were a pivotal time in the history of the jeep. The last days of AMC ownership saw the jeep evolve once again firmly into a role that saw it as a recreational as well as practical vehicle. Gone were the days of just three decades ago under Kaiser ownership that stressed the role of work horse. The jeep was still a work horse, but increasingly the focus was on play, efficiency and reliability as AMC saw the market getting more and more crowded from domestic and foreign competition.
One of the innovations that came about in this decade was the era of the CJ-8, the Scrambler. Debuting in 1981, it was a stretched wheelbase CJ that saw its best sales in that very same first year. In the days of the larger modern stretched four door jeeps, this seems prescient, but 33 years ago this was daring. Approved as a model in 1979 the first CJ-8 rolled off the assembly lines in January 1981 and began sales in March. It was America’s only roadster pickup truck in soft top form and equipped with a five foot pickup truck bed, the wheelbase went from 83” in the CJ-5 to 93” in the CJ-7 and 103” in the CJ-8 (even longer than the CJ-6’ 101”!).
In 1985 the last Scrambler rolled off the lines in Toledo. They weren’t as accepted as AMC had hoped for (despite Ronald Reagan famously owning one on his ranch in California...) making them one of the rarer finds nowadays. They were also AMC’s next to last new model before the Commanche thundered out in 1986 as a challenger to imported pickups that picked up steam in the late 1980’s.
Come back next week, we’re winding down the 1980’s and things are changing! Click here to be taken to the full album of brochures from 1982 and click here to view a supplemental brochure on the Select-Trac.
I also wanted to take the time to promote our friendly, helpful forum over at If you’re looking for a new jeep forum to post on, show off your ride, ask questions, advice, etc... or just plain look at our projects this may be the one for you. Check us out!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

1982 Jeep Pickup And Cherokee Brochures

With the large weight saving gains in 1981, the jeep lineup for the following year was largely unchanged. There were a few details here and there including the addition of a tilt steering option for the Wagoneer and Cherokee, but they mainly soldiered on. Big changes were to come later in the decade as we all know with the demise of the CJ and new owners by the end of the 1980’s. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about them, but perhaps as we should have back in the day, let’s just appreciate these classics while we had them. Enjoy the brochures (click here to be taken to the full album...) and come back next week when I’ll finish out 1982. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jeep, The Legend Lives On, 1981

Its 1981 and as the caption on the brochure states, “The Legend Lives On...” In a time that gas prices were reaching near record highs, the jeep, that forty year old soldier was still moving along and selling. The sales figures were down from the prior year by nearly 15,000 units, their market share went up by 21% as they became the go to brand for a four wheel drive SUV whether you were in the market for a spartan CJ or a top of the line Wagoneer Limited that sold for the kingly sum of $15,164! It included among other appointments bucket seats with leather trip, extra thick carpeting, leather wrapped steering wheel, wood grain trim inside and out, Quadra-Trac, AC, power windows and locks and even power seats! Pretty plush for a jeep but AMC had taken the jeep line far beyond anything that anyone could have imagined back in the Willys Overland days and as well helped push the jeep along its evolutionary line.
Helping out sales was the newly redesigned straight six 258 that in 1981 was 90 pounds lighter thanks in part to the substantial use of aluminum. It became the standard engine choice in the CJ, trucks and Wagoneer and Cherokee lineup. The engine block itself was made 30 pounds lighter by miscellaneous reductions in wall thickness and flange reductions. A new cam also found its way into the 258 giving it a lower idle speed and increased low speed torque. The 1980 six weighed in at 535 pounds and the new 258 was just 445 pounds. Thats quite a bit. And it was important as gas topped around $1.35 a gallon that year. Adjusting to today’s prices that was around $3 per gallon- something that we are all too sadly used to by now.
No one, of course, knew it at the time, but the CJ was nearing its long run. But in the meantime it was still a spartan ride. As standard equipment the CJ was equipped with free wheeling hubs, a 42 amp alternator, ashtray and cigarette lighter, steering damper, glovebox, gauges for oil pressure, temp, amp and fuel level, single note horn, rearview mirror, exterior mirrors, dual sun visors and a swing away spare tire carrier that was available only on the CJ-7 as opposed to the CJ-5s fixed rear carrier. There’s more, but its fun reading what considered a bit of luxury just 30 years ago.
There’s lots more from 1982 up next week and probably continuing into the following week so come back for the best of the jeep since 1940! In the meanwhile click on any of the thumbnails above to be taken to the full albums of images. And I included a couple of spare ads from 1980 as well. I absolutely love the red Gladiator ad!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

1980 Jeep Lineup Brochure

Ah, the 1980’s... they seemed to be a continuation of previous decades in many ways, but in reality they were a wolf in sheep’s clothing, changing the landscape and subtly altering everything that went before them. Ronald Reagan, the end of the oil crisis, the Iran hostages, the Cold War, a time when everything seemed to be teetering on the brink. Jeep was slowly but surely evolving into the forms that we associate with the modern day jeep. Maybe it has to do with me being a teenager in the 1980’s, but the jeeps of the 1980’s seem to be the modern jeeps with everything before them a sort of older ‘vintage’ jeep. Maybe I consider the technology to be the apex of the jeep, maybe to me these were the vehicles that adults drove when I was becoming a young adult. 
In any case the 80’s were a time of technological changes for many of the jeep models. The 4 cylinder “Iron Duke” was offered for the first time after the concerns of oil shortages. The CJ became the first conventional four wheel drive to break the 20 mpg barrier with an estimated 21 mpg/ 25 mpg highway. The emphasis on the pickups was also to make them more fuel efficient. Alot of it came in the form of weight savings along with the introduction of Chrysler’s new TorqueFlite automatic, the substantial use of aluminum in the components and for the first time the use of New Process (the wholly owned subsidiary of Chrysler...) gear boxes.
The Wagoneer and Cherokees received the same weight slimming treatment. The 3 and 4 speed Borg-Warner cast iron cases were replaced with a new syncromesh 4 speed T-176 with an aluminum case that were mated to the New Process 208 that replaced the Dana 20. The TorqueFlite was also available in the Waggy and Cherrys, but apparently not without some grumbling, but it was a lighter design.
This brochure is a gem of info as well as some beautiful photography. It seems to more than likely be a European sales model. Check out the Cherokee in front of the Arc de Triomphe! You can view the whole album here. Keep coming back for more. I have some things to share with you that will take us through the end of the 1980’s. Enjoy your summer and enjoy your jeep and don’t forget your dad today!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

1979 Jeep Wagoneer Brochure

The last of the 1970’s brochures is a brochure for the Wagoneer dating from 1979 and coming from Germany. Sorry, its all in German, obviously, but at least its visual enough to enjoy! And speaking of the visual, 1979 marked the year that brought a bit of a visual change for the front end of both the Wagoneer and the Cherokee in the form of a new single piece grille with horizontal bars and a swap to square headlights as well as a new more substantial aluminum bumper.
Couldn’t find a ton more of interest as regards this year so here’s a few option package prices. I always enjoy being reminded of how different they are from 35 years ago to what you could expect today.
The Cherokee S Package- $699
Cherokee Chief Package- $624
Cherokee Golden Eagle Package- $970
360 V-8 in the Cherokee- $274
A Turbo Hydramatic/ QuadraTrac for the Cherokee- between $396 and $549
Free Wheeling Front Hubs (Cherokee)- $105
Limited Slip Rear Diff (Cherokee)- $85
Bucket Seats With Armrests (Cherokee again)- $48
Convenience Group (Included remote control left exterior rearview mirror, electric clock, lights-on buzzer and intermittent windshield wipers...)- $83
Air Conditioning- $586 (!)
Power Steering- $226
Tinted Glass- $51
Roof Rack- $100
Tilt Steering Wheel- $76
Cruise Control- $105
AM/FM Stereo Radio- $241 (!!)
AM/FM/CB Stereo Radio with Tape Player- $367 (Wow! No 8 track?)
Enjoy and come back next week when we’ll get into the 1980’s with a more substantial offering! Check out the full brochure in the old jeep dealer items album here. Keep checking back for new t-shirt designs coming soon to the online store.