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!