In December of 2011 Hanson Mechanical rebuilt a 1945 ford GPW for International Military Antiques of Gillette NJ. The rebuild, and use of the Jeep in a reenactment will be on their new TV show, Family Guns. Below is a shot of the director, myself, and two of the IMA fellows after filming at a WW2 reenactment in January.
The show premiers in the US next week on the National Geographic channel at 10:00 on September 12th. The episode featuring our Jeep rebuild is called “I want a Jeep.” That episode will air in the US at 10:00 on September 26th. I have an international release schedule as well and will update this post with that information as soon as I have a chance.
Here is a link to a couple video snippets from the show (not our episode though!)
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)
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.
So we set about making Sad Jeep into a display Jeep. Here is Vlad taking out his frustrations on the concrete floors.
It became obvious that the original frame was beyond any quick salvage so we put together another frame and axles from stock.
Then we stablised the underside of Sad Jeep’s tub and installed it on the new frame.
Eventually Izzy was feeling trapped by the whole project…
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.
Soon stencils and more details were added.
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.
This past week was all about frames. Bobby cut and straightened the frame on the veteran’s Jeep, and then we moved on to finishing another project. Jim is working on a WW2 Jeep with his father. We are doing the major metal work and then they are doing assembly. This weekend marked the end of the frame phase of the project.
This Jeep shows signs of an interesting history that I wish we knew more about. It came from out west and was subjected to many Bubbafications. Prior to Bubba it was modified in WW2 for a machine gun mount. Dig that groovy pipe bumper on the front!!
The frame required MANY repairs. First off, the obvious removal of the huge pipe bumper on the front, then the removal of an extreme lift kit added in. The rear needed to be completley redone and the front frame horns and shackles replaced.
Meanwhile the engine went to Jim and his father, Dale. Sadly the first engine turned out to be a former industrial engine with MANY issues as well. I am sure the Bubba who attacked this vehicle with a complete lack of any mechanical understanding will reside in a special hell designated for those who anger the Jeep god. The engine was re-sleeved, but the cylinders were completley bored out so the sleeves shifted. This was one minor issue among many that destroyed that engine.
Another Bubba issue was the special springs he had installed. (you should have seen the huge Mudder tires and wheels that were on it too!!) Bubba cut the original threaded shackles off the frame, then drove bushings into their hollow cores. I spent several hours with my torch and a wide variety of tools I invented trying to unthread the remains of the old shackles to no avail. Plus the springs could not be used as correct shackles would not fit in them. We ended up having to replace the rear shackle mounts on the frame also due to this issue.
As Bubba’s amazing work continued to try and blow the budget on this project we scoured my spare parts piles and pulled items together to make correct repairs without burning our friend’s wallet. Happily the whole frame came together, we salvaged some springs, and we were able to send Jim and Dale off this Sunday with a frame unrecognizable as what we began with. All praise the Jeep gods!! (and Bobby’s welding skills)
Now we will move on to the tub restoration (one of four tubs in the lineup) The tub is very cool as it shows signs of once having a passenger side machine gun mount. The glovebox is cut and welded in just the right spots so Jim is searching for the appropriate mount.
Onwards and upwards!