Emptying the tomb of lost Jeep tools

This story has an odd beginning as many of mine do.  In January of 2011 I was towing a Willys MB back from Massachusetts.  I stopped at a rest stop near Scranton, PA for a break.  When I came outside there was a woman happily staring at the bright yellow MB.  “It’s a Willys!” she said, and thus began the conversation.  She explained that a family friend had recently passed and that there were Jeeps and lots of parts that the family was trying to figure out how to sell.  I gave her my business card and after a fun chat went on my way.  I never expected to hear from her or the family.  Below is a photo of the yellow jeep and myself after the blizzard my father and I rescued it in.

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A month later I received a phone call from Mrs. Barton, whose daughter had inherited the house, workshops, and all Jeep contents.  Apparently a couple folks had offered insanely low amounts of money for the collection.  This sounded wrong so I made time to head up to NY state and take a look.  Plus I purchased some parts to make the trip worthwhile.  On that first trip I was more than a bit overwhelmed by what I found.  Here’s just one example of a shelf in John Barton’s workshop:

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Many of my readers who own vintage Jeeps will recognise the name John Barton.  He was active on forums like G503.com and a very helpful person.  John specialised in Jeep tools and so he had bins of wrenches, hammers, jacks, grease guns, fire extinguishers, axes and shovels etc. etc.  At the end of last summer my helpers and I headed up to the Barton workshop and spent a couple days inventorying EVERYTHING using the part numbers and guides from WW2.  In trade for doing inventory we came back with the shovel and axe collection, and a battered Jeep which we have since restored.  Below is a photo of my helpers (Vlad, Kelsey, and Izzy.  These three hold my world together!!) with the Jeep.Image

After inventorying the estate I went back one more time to purchase some parts for a project.  When I met with Diane Barton she mentioned that John had written a book on Jeep tools.  Someone had offered to re-publish the book if the family would sign over the rights to it.  That sounded rather sketchy so I took on the job and re-published the book through an online publisher.  It is available through my website.

After a few months my friend Pete asked if he would be,” stepping on my toes,” if he bought the contents of the estate.  Having no money myself I told him to go ahead.  Pete was primarily interested in the tools and Jeep accesories.  He thought the parts would make a good inventory for my business.  So numbers were discussed and finally, this past weekend, Pete, Izzy, and I went back to empty the workshops.  We spent a Friday evening and half of Saturday removing items from the workshops, organising them, and packing them in the truck. Below are some of the really nice Fire extinguishers we found.

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We ended up with boxes and boxes of tools and accesories.

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There were many first aid boxes and gas casualty boxes.

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We found three original tire pumps!!!

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And there were more mechanical parts than you can imagine.  Below is a crate of original starters and generators.

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In my next posting I will include photos of the mechanical parts, and how we removed everything from the basement workshop.  I became very good friends with an ancient chain hoist 🙂

If you are interested in anything you see in my photos just email me at: merlin@hansonmechanical.com We are inventorying everything again and should have prices for items within a couple weeks.

onwards and upwards!

-Merlin

(UPDATE: as of right now we know we have several Warren, Barcalo, and Vlcheck wrenches in the tool assortment.  If you are looking for any of these let me know. We do know the value of these though, so they will not be going for $5.00 or anything silly.)

College Cars

I was working on the computer today and stumbled onto a photo folder of where all this vehicle madness began.  It began with my first VW that I bought when I was 17.  I had saved up money from my variety of jobs (paperboy, museum guard, camp counselor) and was looking at various antique cars to purchase.  As Dad started with the Porsche and had VW’s he told me to find a Beetle as I would,” learn everything you need to know about cars” by working on a bug.  Here it is below.

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The photo was taken at the apartment my ex and I had in St. Mary’s county.  The bug obsession bit and soon there were many VW’s.  I still meet folks from St. Mary’s county who fondly remember our house as “the VW house.”  Below is a photo of me with the lineup.  ’72 Bus, my bug, ’68 bug and a 1971 Supervee or something like that.

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My ex and I took the Beetles everywhere and often went camping with either the bugs or the bus at nearby Point Lookout State Park where I was a naturalist/ park historian.

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The ’72 Superbeetle came from a farm in Hunt Valley.  The 1968 Bug was a whole ‘nother story that could take up a couple blog posts.  I will write more about it later.  As for a teaser it seems that we bought it from a drug dealer who shortly after was arrested and carted off because he was using his restaurant as a front for his operation.  Pretty dumb guy too, he left a bunch of evidence in the car.  I guess that was why he was caught!!

Have fun, we’ll get back to Jeeps next time 🙂

A visit to the Simeone collection

If you are a fan of the history of racing then you must visit the Simeone museum in Philadelphia.  The website is http://simeonemuseum.org/

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The cars are displayed in a variety of life size dioramas to give the visitor a feel for how, where, and when they were used.

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Many of the cars are in original, unrestored condition.  On top of that the cars are run regularly.  The museum has weekends throughout the year where they take sets of cars to their huge parking lot (the museum is in a former industrial building) and they run the cars for the public.

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Above is a 1938 BMW.

The museum has received many accolades and rightfully so.  Dr. Simeone is a retired neurosurgeon who (if I am remembering correctly) began collecting with his father.  This collection is the life’s work of an individual with a passion and it shows.

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Above is a Bugatti

You can spend an hour, or a few hours there wandering, reading, and talking with other visitors.  There is always a chance you will run into Dr. Simeone as well.  My mechanic called one day and spent a good amount off time on the phone with a very affable fellow who he discovered at the end of the coversation was Dr. Simeone himself 🙂

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Above Jaguars

It is definately worth a trip!