A “Bubbafied” Jeep

Here in the US we find many Jeeps that were altered in interesting ways to keep them on the road.  We call Jeeps with odd customization “Bubbafied”, a sort of joke about the man in the backwoods with a welder and a bunch of broken parts trying to keep his Jeep going.  Last year I picked up the ultimate Bubbafied Jeep in Virginia.

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This 1942 Willys MB had seen some tough times and Bubba did his best to keep it going.  My first and favorite repair was a wrench welded to the frame.  This was to hold a broken spring in place.  Look closely in the photo below.

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The interior was a bit of a shambles as can be expected.

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Another interesting Bubbafication was the garden hose wrapped around the homemade spare tire holder.  My friend, Bill, and I stared at the hose for a while trying to figure it out.  Finally I realized that there was an air valve in the hose held in place with zip ties.  The garden hose ran to the rear shocks which were pressurized.  I wonder if this ever worked?

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The final and most glorious Bubbafication was the Ford Pinto engine.  Apparently this was a somewhat common conversion.  It seemed to fit nicely without needing to raise the hood.

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I will finish off with “An Ode to Bubba” by Jon of Jeepdraw.com

“Just remember Bubba in your Prayers. …Bubba (Earl or Fred… he goes by many names) stands just behind the guy who stored his old jeep in a nice dry spot in some far flung shed, ready for some aspiring restorer to come along and fall in love and bring the “old girl” back to original……On the other hand, you have those who left the “old girl” out in the rain, snow, dust and mud, and she slowly rusted away so no one could restore it…..Then you have Bubba, a giant of a man, he kept the jeep going all those years with bits of wire, angle iron, do-hickeys, and “add on’s”, modifications, slap happy welds, and the good Lord only knows what else. BUT!!….what he did was save it for the adventurous restorer to remove all those things….so next time you pick up an old wreck Bubba has played with, be thankful. it could have been far worse….Raise a glass of frothy stuff to Bubba, the unsung hero of the jeep….no matter how much we loath his handiwork…without him, half of us wouldn’t have a jeep today. ‘

So “Thank You Bubba“…you saved a jeep for me.
Jon “

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The lost ark found!!

Several years ago I purchased a May 1944 Popular Science magazine because it contained an article about the VW Beetle and a Kubelwagen captured by the Americans in North Africa.  A shot of the Kubel from that article is below.

(Click on the picture to see the full article.)

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I always wondered where the Kubelwagen in the article went after it was tested.  Was it scrapped? Sold? Or was it hidden in some archive of lost vehicles?  Well the last option turned out to be the case.  Much like the Ark of the Covenant being warehoused at the end of raiders of the Lost Ark, this Kubel was warehoused in an army archives of ancient and interesting vehicles.  A friend was curator at Aberdeen Proving Grounds museum when they were moving the collection and he took us behind the scenes.Image

Okay, so I may not be smiling but believe me, I was ecstatic when this photo was taken.  I had been curious for years as to where this little Kubelwagen had gone.  Look at the photos and compare with the photo from 1944.  You will see the same small headlights, and that the missing doors were replaced with flat steel.Image

The Kubel is well preserved but sadly at one point had EVERYTHING painted over.  This possibly preserved the canvas but did make a bit of a mess.Image

When I last saw the captured Kubelwagen it was in good company with this nice Schimmwagen.Image

And this rather amazing halftrack also captured in North Africa.Image

In the time since I took these photos the once amazing Aberdeen Proving Ground collection has been dispersed.  I have no idea where these vehicles are now.  What is truly sad is that the amount of money the Army wasted on moving everything could probably have built a nice facility for the vehicles to be displayed in.