“For Pete’s sake”

I recived an email a while back from a fellow with a very low mileage CJ3B and a WW2 Jeep.  He wanted me to come and look over the CJ3B with an eye to making it roadworthy again and look over his WW2 Jeep just to let him know what he had.  The result was meeting a wonderful fellow who has inherited a Jeep and a passion for Jeeps from his father.

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The story of the jeeps began back in 1943 when the father, Pete, shipped out with the merchant marine delivering cargoes of Jeeps to Italy.  When they had shore leave Pete would keep a spare rotor in his pocket (in WW2 Jeeps did not have keys so the men would take the rotors out of the distributors to keep Jeeps from being stolen) and he would seek out a Jeep for his weekend on the town.  Pete became very fond of Jeeps during the war.

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When he returned from WW2 Pete bought a 1947 CJ2A, and then in 1960 purchased the CJ3B pictured here.  The 1959 CJ3B came from a quarry where it saw few miles, and it moved to Pete’s 60 acre farm where it roamed the woods and made occasional forays into town. Pete’s sons grew up driving the Jeep around the farm when it was running.

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Over the years the Jeep had many periods of downtime and so with mainly driving on the farm and then sleeping for periods the CJ3B only racked up 1,795 miles.

When Pete passed away his son, Jonathan, spent alot of time sorting out the estate.  The jeep went to him.  As Jonathan put in long hours a friend suggested that when all was said and done he should buy something nice for himself.

Jonathan already had a plan, as his father loved WW2 jeeps so much Jonathan wanted to buy a WW2 Jeep and name it something like “battling Pete” or “For Pete’s Sake.”

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It turned out the owner of his favorite gun shop had just acquired a WW2 Jeep.  Jonathan and he chatted about it and the owner brought the Willys MB to the shop for him to see.  Jonathan said he teared up because the Jeep already said, “for Pete’s sake” on the side.  It was like his father was talking to him he said.

Jonathan offered to buy the Jeep then and there but the owner wanted to keep it a bit longer.  As it goes when things are meant to be Jonathan received a phone call four months later that the Jeep was his if he wanted it.  And you can see how that went!

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The 1943 Willys MB is the nicest I have ever seen.  The restoration was impeccable and it retains its original tub.  Jonathan is the owner of two real gems and I am sure his father is proud of how he carries on this family tradition.

We will be working on the CJ3B to make it roadworthy and reliable and I will post more when it comes to the shop.  I was honored to hear such a wonderful story and see such examples of Jeep history.

9th Mason Dixon Willys Jeep show and Gettysburg tour

Nine years now……nine!!  Thanks to Mike Hardesty for arranging this show 9 years running, almost the entire time I have lived in Westminster, MD around the corner from where the show takes place.  This year the weather was great for us again, both days.

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Saturday we gathered at the outlets in Gettysburg, PA for a battlefield run.  A handful of Willys Jeeps representing the array of models from the 1940s to the 1960s, and a couple newer models, traveled the battlefield for an artillery tour arranged by Mike Hardesty.

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It was a great time to catch up with the regulars and meet some new folks including a couple fellows from North Carolina.  While I have attended the Sunday show for years I never was able to drive in the Saturday tour.  I had fun following a Willys Wagon owned by Bruce Kieta, we overhauled everything mechanical in this wagon last year for him.

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As we drove around the battlefield we made various stops to learn about the type of artillery scattered all around Gettysburg.  And of course this made for some great photo ops.

20151024_134424[1]20151024_143353[1]The tour went on until 3:00 and folks gathered later at 6:00 for craft beer, food and jeep stories.  The weather sounded better and better for Sunday as we kept checking updates. Sunday morning dawned and I pulled our 1941 outside, was met with a quick light rain and then that was it.  With the help of friend Richard Bleser we packed the 1941 Willys and picked some items for sale to load in Richard’s truck then off we went.

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There was the usual wide and colorful array of early jeeps.

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And some new and different ones including this 6 wheeler, number 9 out of 13 prototypes made.  It was brought by Oliver Davis who is interested in selling it.

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Another neat vehicle for sale was this 1959 CJ5 with 8,000 original miles.

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We had “Mortimer”, our 1941 set up with British equipment and tools beside other military Jeeps. (this shot was before everyone else rolled in)

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And among the military Jeeps was this midget built and brought by Bill Shaw.

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A really interesting piece this year was the Empire tractor, these were built with Willys engines and drivelines.

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In the words of one of our North Carolina visitors, this is a “down home” type of show.  And it is a wonderful way to wind down the Jeep season.  Thanks to everyone who organised the gathering, and everyone who came.  I am already looking forward to next year.

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9th Annual Mason-Dixon Willys Jeep Gathering

9th annual

9th Annual Mason-Dixon Willys Jeep Gathering
Sunday October 25, 2015 (10:00 am – 3:00 pm)
Historic Union Mills Homestead
Westminster, Maryland 21158

Bring your vintage Willys (or Kaiser) Jeep to historic Union Mills Homestead for this special gathering! Civilian and Military Willys Jeep vehicles are welcome and encouraged to attend! (MB, GPW, CJ2A, 3A, 3B, M38, Forward Control, Willys Wagons, Jeepsters, Willys Pick-ups, etc.) 5 Trophies to be awarded, including Best Work in Progress!

Where: Historic Union Mills Homestead 3311 Littlestown Pike (MD route 97 north) Westminster, MD 21158.
(7 miles north of the City of Westminster, MD and 17 miles south of Gettysburg, PA.)

General Information: This free, annual event is for Willys Jeep owners, Jeep enthusiasts, and the general public to share information and view a rapidly disappearing piece of American automotive history! Union Mills Homestead is a beautiful park setting rich in Civil War History, so be sure to take the tour! Pit Beef and refreshments will be available!

Gettysburg Battlefield Run: For those interested in making this a weekend event, we will hold a Gettysburg Battlefield run (paved surfaces) on Saturday October 24th (Day before the Show), weather permitting. We will meet at 12:00 noon at the Gettysburg Outlets (US 15 and PA 97) by the theater complex. After the Battlefield run, we will meet at a local restaurant / tavern for food and drink, and the opportunity to tell Jeep stories!

Registration & Questions: For more information or to register your vehicle, send an e-mail to admin@jeepchasm.com with the type of Willys vehicle you will be bringing. If you need a place to stay, we can recommend several Motels and Hotels.

Sponsors: Len Stoler Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Know Where 2 Jeep, Hanson Mechanical, PA Jeeps, BTW Off-Road, Off Road Consulting, Quadratec,Jeepchasm.com

1948 Willys Jeepster for sale $7,500 or best offer

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This 1948 Jeepster has been with the same family since 1950.  The father bought it from the first owner that year.

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One of the sons tells the story of he and his buddies driving to Williamsburg in the Jeepster back in the 1950s.  They were pulled over by a State Trooper.  They were puzzled as they knew they were not speeding.  The trooper explained that they were going too slow.  The son explained that he was going as fast as the Jeepster would go and with that they were let to continue on their way.

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The seats are in good shape as is the carpeting.  The steering wheel is obviously quite wrong and the former owner dismantled the speedometer for some reason.  Currently the state of the other gauges is unknown.

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The engine bay is very complete but due to a damaged block we overhauled another engine for the Jeepster.  The replacement engine received one new piston, all new piston rings, new bearings, seals and gaskets.  Currently we are only waiting on the starter rebuild to have the Jeepster running.

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The Jeepster also has a convertible top and all the side curtains.  Top and sides should probably be treated with a coat of water sealer.

The body is good, though you can see where some bondo may be hiding.  The paint is thorough but has some drips in areas.

For $7,500 or best offer you get a nice Jeepster in running condition that will just need some detail work.  That work you can either do on your own or hire us to do for you.  Cash or bank check only, no trades, no overseas sales.  Buyers have to arrange their own shipping.  Vehicle can stay one week after sale after which it accrues a $100 monthly storage charge.

If interested email me: merlin@hansonmechanical.com

So you want an early Jeep??

Every now and then I receive an email from someone who loves the look, feel and sound of the early Jeeps, and would like one to tool around with reliably and keep in their garage.  And they are a nice, reliable antique vehicle to have as any Jeeper reading this knows.

Well I received another one of these emails a couple days ago and started to reply and then realized I may as well write the reply up as a brief primer on early Jeeps.  I am sure this will replicate what many folks have written, and if I am wrong about something then for the love of all that is good and holy please correct me.  But this is just a very basic piece to introduce those who are thinking of an early Jeep to their various options, the costs etc..

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The WW2 Jeep (MB/ GPW)

These were made from 1941 to 1945.  Willys Made the MB, Ford made the GPW with the goal for all parts to be interchangeable.

They are darn cool and everyone wants one.  The reenactors want one so they can carry their gear, maybe mount a machine gun and drive in reenactments and parades.  Plus they fit in a regular garage unlike a half track or a truck.  The military history buffs want them for similar historical reasons and so they can drive a piece of the machine that helped win the war.  The Jeepers want one because it’s the first Jeep.

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What does this mean?  They are expensive as heck.  When folks approach me about restoring one I usually work with them to find an older restoration that we can overhaul and make new and spiffy again.  This can cost less than shelling out upwards of $15,000 for a really nice one.  (and definitely costs less than a $25,000 or more restoration).

So we know they are cool and expensive.  Happily due to their popularity almost everything is available for them.  The main downside I find to them is the somewhat finicky T-84 transmission though once they are rebuilt right and settled in they seem to do quite well.  Another issue I run into is the fuel system which involves many connected lines and hoses which allow for leaks to sneak in and then you lose fuel to the carburetor.

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The CJ2A 

These were the first production civilian Jeep built from 1945 to 1949.  They do not have all the grab handles, tool mounts, jerry cans and other such bells and whistles.  But you can add power takes offs as they were designed to run all sorts of farming implements  (as shown in this video with friend Mike Hardesty’s Cj3A)

They are down to earth utilitarian machines which are the same amount of fun off-road as a WW2 Jeep.  As the first civilian Jeep these are quite popular, and the black model pictured is a somewhat early one with parking lights inset into the grill.

The CJ2A’s have the T-90 transmission which is bulletproof.  They are simpler than the T-84 and a bit easier to work on.  The fuel system is simpler too providing a more reliable feed with less lines and hoses bopping about through the engine compartment.

A CJ2A in nice shape can run around $5,000 to $10,000 depending on what you are looking for.  Many folks modify these as well for off roading like this one restored and modified by Mike Gardner.

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The CJ3A

The CJ3A was the next modification of the flat fender running the same four cylinder engine.  These were produced from 1948 to 1953. There were some changes for growing Americans like the seat was moved a wee bit further back.  And there was an air vent in the windshield!! (this is far more exciting if you have a top and doors on the Jeep).  A fun slightly customized example is Dan’s CJ3A.  The prices on these run similar to the CJ2A’s

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The M38

This model was produced from 1950 to 1952. This was the last military version of the Willys Jeep using the venerable and reliable L head flat four.  These have the desirability of being a military vehicle, and the reliability of the flat four and the T-90.  Due to the dual desirability factor prices on these can run similar to the prices of WW2 Jeeps.

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They have a slightly different dash than the CJ3A, and they do have a bunch of the cool wizbangs and gadgets you expect on a military vehicle (tool mounts, special light switch, handles etc..).  M38’s were produced as a 24 volt vehicle but many that you find nowadays are converted to 12 volt.  The engine compartment is more complicated than a CJ3A as there were modifications for military specifications.

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Parts are readily available for all of these models through a variety of specialty companies. Around the country there are several early Jeep shops that can help you restore or maintain your flat fender.  Thus the parts and support are out there.

Whichever model you choose, they are great fun to have, and like no other classic car.

(in the shot below are Henry Welch’s and then Bill Reiss’s Jeeps with my 1941 in the mix on an outing)

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A million Jeeps

Well, not really a million.  But there were a heckuva alot of them.  I had a chance this week to travel with a friend to see the Top Kicks Military Museum in Petersburg, West Virginia. If you are a Jeep fan and want to see alot of Jeeps this is one place to go with an owner who has dedicated his time since 1982 to saving and preserving what seems like as many Jeeps a he could find.

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I had a chance to go through the Jeeps inside and out.  Gerald Bland restored many of these, and went through all of the engines.  He keeps them pickled but ready to go.  From what I found a battery and some gas will start these Jeeps right up and send them out into the wild.  I was particularly fond of a row of Civilian Jeeps with US Navy dataplates, two CJ3A’s and one 3B.  You do not see these too often.

20150716_121105[1]There was a nice array of World War 2 Jeeps as well, many with photos of how they were found, and of the restoration process.  The effort Gerald went to to save the Jeeps and other WW2 vehicles is quite impressive.

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Among the World war 2 Jeeps were some nicely dressed examples as they may have rolled through Europe, some early script examples, a slat grill, and a Navy Jeep with PTO driven generator for radio equipment.

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The Jeeps continued up through the M151 era. As if Jeeps were not enough there were a wide array of other vehicles from World War 2 through the 1970s. These were in a variety of conditions from ready to drive inside the museum to peacefully slumbering under a blanket of patina outside on the museum grounds.

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The museum also has displays of weapons, uniforms and equipment.  Gerald is wonderful to talk with and has a passion for history.  Make sure to take the trip and visit soon as gems like this museum will not be around forever.  Also, if you want to see many more photos from the museum collection be sure to follow us on Hanson Mechanical’s Instagram as we will post many more photos there.

Thanks for being a great host Gerald!

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Model T’s Visit Hanson Mechanical

I have loved antique cars since I was very little.  One of the first cars I fell in love with and obsessed over was the Model T Ford.  I loved that for most of the time they were produced they were only made in black, I loved how many were made, I loved the look and the sound of them, I loved how a blacksmith could repair them.  Sitting on the floor of my grandparents’ house when I was nine I remember watching a documentary on PBS about the Model T which just furthered my obsession.

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I met Mike Silbert of the Model T Ford Club a while back at a car show.  He has what I consider a beautifully preserved Model T which he brought back to running condition but otherwise kept as it was found in the barn that fell on it.  A layer of spar varnish keeps its rust brown coating intact and dents and dings remain.  Mike put together a Model T tour in Carroll County and asked if our restoration shop could be the first stop on the tour.  Initially I hesitated as the Great Willys Picnic in Kempton, PA was the same day, but I see Jeeps all the time, how often do I see twenty Model T’s all in one place? And we also have a perfect field for them all to pull into.

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Better yet I soon found out that Mike was going to let myself and friend Peter ride along for the day.  The nine year old me was very excited, it was like Christmas!!  The day came and Peter and I sat on stumps outside the gate to the shop waiting and it truly was a beautiful thing as the Model T’s rolled in one after the other to our field.  An added bonus was seeing that friends I reenact with were there with their 1913 Depot Hack.  One of my favorite types of vintage cars.

The day before the model T’s arrived I met our shop neighbor, Ira Barnes, who gave us permission to explore his collection next door.

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IMG_1824The Barnes collection is amazing but I will not post a variety of the photos I took as I do NOT want folks to bother them.  They were very gracious to allow us to explore their place.  After we gathered everyone up from seeing the restoration shop and the Barnes collection we hit the road and headed to Hampstead.

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In Hampstead the Model T’s caught up with each other and gathered for lunch.  There was only one casualty at that point, a T that lost high gear (explaining the workings of a Model T is a whole instuctional video or blog post in itself, so let’s just say without high gear the T went very slow.).

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After lunch we regathered the forces and headed out on the road again.  There were some beautiful old dirt and gravel roads just off the beaten path that we drove on as we rode to the farm museum in Westminster.

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Boog Rd was a real timewarp as it was a narrow gravel road traveling between farms and houses, and right through yards.  From there we were back onto main roads, and soon we traveled Gorsuch Rd into Westminster, honking at some very entertained donkeys on the way (we passed them going to Hampstead and the moment we honked they came running out of their shed all excited about the odd noise!).

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We finally gathered up again at the farm museum, T’s trickling in and catching up.  Peter and I needed to head back to the shop and Mike offered to give me a driving lesson.  We stopped over at Westminster high and did some training in their parking lot.  Mike then asked if I wanted to drive his T back to the shop.  And so I did with him guiding me on how to think ahead and really plan out the drive safely.  I cannot say thanks enough to Mike for taking us along and letting me drive.  It was truly a fun day (despite the sunburn!) The last shot is of me at the wheel :)  I missed seeing my Jeep friends at the picnic, but I am extremely glad I did not pass up this opportunity!

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