Making something from nothing

A while back I received a call from Bob at the Air Mobility Command museum in Delaware (http://amcmuseum.org/)  They had restored a WW2 Waco glider and were looking for a Jeep as a prop to park inside of it.  Part of the Waco glider is exposed so visitors can view in.  I realised that I had a very sad Jeep here which needed a home.  Below is a photo of my friend, Julian, sitting in the sad Jeep. (Yes I do have friends!! :P)

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Sad Jeep had a wide array of issues.  From concrete floors to this rather interesting set of guages in the dash.  Anyone recognise them? Sad Jeep had some interesting repairs including front frame horns from a Model A Ford.  Well, I guess this was fitting as the Jeep was a Ford GPW.

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So we set about making Sad Jeep into a display Jeep.  Here is Vlad taking out his frustrations on the concrete floors.

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It became obvious that the original frame was beyond any quick salvage so we put together another frame and axles from stock.

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Then we stablised the underside of Sad Jeep’s tub and installed it on the new frame.

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Eventually Izzy was feeling trapped by the whole project…

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Now we had to put things together and make Sad Jeep presentable.  This involved MANY hours of stripping, sanding, priming and painting.  As Sad Jeep was only for display I opted to use fiberglass for some body repairs.  I never do this on Jeeps that go on the road.

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Soon stencils and more details were added.

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And finally after some finishing touches (including a glovebox door with an original set of Ford GPW dataplates) Sad Jeep was ready to head off to his new home.  I hope Sad Jeep enjoys being at rest in a museum, rather than being thrown away for scrap. We hope to visit him soon in his new home.

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A Bultaco joins the family

In the 1960s (before he bought his 1956 Porsche) my father rode a Bultaco Metralla everywhere.  I have his Porshe 356 and you can see restoration photos on my website.  I also have his Hercules bicycle from 1956 hanging in the workshop.  What was missing? A Bultaco motorcycle.Image

From what research I have been able to do I believe the following summary of Bultaco history is correct.  don Francisco Xavier Bulto started his company in 1958 when the motorcycle company he had founded in 1944 decided to pull out of racing.  Bultaco was a Spanish company and their first model, the Tralla, came out in 1959.  The thumbs up sign on the Bultaco emblem was inspired by British motorcycle racers giving the “thumbs up” that all was well when they passed the pits.

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Bultaco became known for their off-road motorcycles.  They did produce a couple road models, the Metralla and the Mercurio.  I believe my father had the Metralla.  A small, two stroke motorcycle, my father rode his Metralla all over the place.  This included a jaunt from Troy New York to Washington DC because apparently there was a really good party to attend!  He had two rear wheel issues on that trip but still made it to the party.

The model I have looks like an Alpina.  This one is from 1971 and I received it from the second owner in partial trade for some Jeep repair work.  It is in very nice shape and I rode it through the fields for the first time today.  What fun!!! Image

It needs some TLC and new rubber seals, gaskets and such but runs very nice and is quite comfortable.   Bultaco produced motorcycles through the early 1980s but began to disappear from the scene in the US by the mid 1970s.  Two veteran motorcyclists I spoke with thought the company had closed down by 1976.  Bultaco was the victim of Spanish government regulations on what engine they could produce, and US requirements for importation.  Bultaco remains a legend and I am very proud to have one in the stable now.  I cannot wait for my father to ride it!!

 

Geeking out over WW2 motorpool tools

Working on the John Barton estate has been an amazing and inspiring learning experience. In our recent adventure I began to think beyond the tools carried on the WW2 Jeeps and wonder more about what was used in the motorpools that kept the massive motorised army rolling. A few years back I began gathering some WW2 British tools. A friend of mine had stroke of luck with a contact in England and received a box or two of WW2 marked British Military tools. I received a handfull of them and put together a small collection in a home-made 1940s era box. With the Barton experience I began putting together the US motorpool tool set. Photos of the two boxes are below.

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The toolbox on the left is an American military one.  The same model toolbox was used for a variety of purposes.  This one is marked signal corps.  But since I already have it I decided to put my mechanics’ kit in it.  The one on the right is a home made vintage box that I have collected some British tools in.  I would love to find a WW2 British toolbox.  Anyone know of any?  Or even what they looked like?

A couple shots of the British tools are below.  They are recognisable by their Broad Arrow stampings.  As Ford put a little f script on all their Jeep parts, all British military items have an arrow on them somewhere.ImageImage

As we sorted through the Barton collection I felt inspired to go beyond the typical tool roll found in the Jeep. Doing some online research I found these posts on G503.com and used them as guides: http://www.g503.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=202399                                               http://www.g503.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=111970&p=1212394&hilit=winefamily5#p1212394

Using the G503 posts I set to scrounging in my workshops.  I work with mostly vintage tools as it is so finding tools that were at least close to what should be in the box was not hard.  Going through my grandfather’s tools, and items given to me by a WW2 mechanic (who was running an autoshop fulltime up through around 2004) I found most of what should be in the box.  A couple ebay scores and some fine tuning through the Barton collection items brought the box to pretty near full.  I customised the tools by adding in specialty tools I use for Jeep repair.  And yes, some tools are not exactly what should be in there (ie the ancient Husky ratchett) but they do serve the purpose of another tool that would have been in the set.  Here are some shots of the box.

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Some details I particularly love about this tool box and collection are the following: a government stock number marked Irwin screwdriver, the small ratchett set, the correctly marked array of Williams and Barcalo wrenches, the fact that the tool tray has a hole in it for the oil can to stick through, and more.  I have many more small items to find, and other tools to replace with more authentic items as I find them; but this is a good. working toolbox that I look forward to using.

If any of my readers have photographs of WW2 American or REME motorpools, can recommend a good book on motorpools, know where to find British tools or toolboxes, or want to share anything else please either email me direct through my website or drop a comment here.  Thanks!!!

-Merlin

Update Aug 26: I started taking the toolkit to my secondary restoration shop.  The Army knew what they were doing when they chose what went into this box.  I was able to do all the work I needed for an afternoon just using tools from this set.

In Ford Tribloc we trust

The fun part of dealing with John Barton’s collection is sorting through all the tools and goodies.  Of course the less fun part was moving it all. John lived in a vintage autoshop that had a two story house above it.  There was a trap door into a basement which I believe originally was a machine shop space and such.  All the engines, axles, and other heavy items were down there.  Thank goodness he had this installed above the trapdoor in the garage.

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This vintage Ford chain hoist made all the work we did possible in a matter of hours.  It slide back and forth on an I beam.  Below is Pete hooking up an engine for lifting.

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The process was slow, but saved our backs.  Without the hoist we would never have been able to empty the place.

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We managed to remove all the big items by the end of Saturday morning.  We actually had two pickups and a Uhaul packed by Saturday afternoon.  Below is a photo of Izzy celebrating the last of the engines being loaded in our rental truck.

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If you want to see the hoist (and us) in action click here to view a video I uploaded:

http://youtu.be/CbEYtU9HspY

Sorting the artifacts

After a whirlwind weekend that involved hours on the road, loading trucks, unloading trucks and more, we are now sorting through the finds.  It’s interesting how many more items begin to pop up as we sort through box after box.  John Barton specialised in WW2 tools for Jeeps and we have made many finds in that area.  My friend, Pete, is still sorting wrenches.  There are Vlchecks, Barcalos, Fairmounts, Williams and more.  Initially we did not think we had any Irwin screwdrivers but after some sorting you can see what we found below.

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The top two have “Irwin” printed on the wood handles.  The next two down have Irwin and Gov. Stock # 41-S-1076 on them.  The rest say Irwin US of A.  Need a screwdriver for your toolkit???  Next we have a trio of original, early fire extinguishers.  Initially in our sorting we only found two restored green extinguishers.  But some more exploration today yielded the items below.

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Amongst some smaller, very cool finds were these NOS sparkplugs.

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We are slowly putting together WW2 Jeep toolkits with original tools and canvas tool rolls.

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Another neat small find was this original Ford GPW generator repair kit.

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And there is still much more to sort, tools and parts of course!!

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