Jeeps at Ernie’s

A short while back I posted about vintage Dodge trucks at Ernie Baals’ place.  Now we are going to step back and finish up my visit to Ernie’s with his Jeeps.  The first shot is of a project in his shop.Image

I honestly cannot remember the years of most of them, but I thought folks would enjoy the photos.  The one below was restored by Ernie when he was sixteen and he plans to overhaul it again.Image

Ernie built the Jeep below almost entirely from reproduction parts.  It lasted about 300 miles and chipped a gear.  It sits as of now as a failed experiment and an annoyance to Ernie.Image

If any of you followed or read about our M38 resto rod overhaul (see it here: M38 resto rod ) You know we have seen really screwed up wiring.  Well the Jeep below takes the cake.  I have never seen home lighting switched in a wiring harness.  Kudos to Bubba, you have topped yourself!!ImageImageImage

I had fun sharing stories of Bubbafied Jeeps with Ernie.  He also has found a large amount of old street signs used to rebuild Jeeps.  I started a collection of the street signs we  have removed from Jeeps.

Ernie also has a really nice 1942 GPW that he drives regularly.  I will include it as the grand finale of this post.ImageImageImage

Thanks again to Ernie for helping with the Dodge ambulance project and for showing us around his collection.

All Breeds Jeep Show York, PA

This past Saturday I drove the 1941 Willys MB to the 18th annual All Breeds Jeep Show in York, PA.  the show is sponsored by PA Jeeps. This is largely a celebration of customized off road Jeeps but there are a few vintage gems scattered about.  First thing I did was pull into the short row of original military Jeeps.


Jeremy, owner of the early 1942 GPW, and his co-pilot Patrick were ecstatic to see another WW2 Jeep show up.  We had a great time talking WW2 Jeeps and seeing who knew who in the Jeep network.  I loved the well used appearance of their GPW.  Jeremy and Patrick even took their GPW on the off road course (doing some damage to their exhaust).  A short while later the ambulance pulled in. After a bit I set to wandering the show to see what other vintage Jeeps were in attendance.Image

If you had $350 you could purchase this CJ2A body set.  I wish I had a frame to drop this on. A short bit down the aisle from this project was a running chassis that this would have fit nicely on.


In the vintage Jeeps row was this beautiful 1956 Civil Defense wagon.  I have seen it at another show as well.  It is in wonderful condition and equipped quite well.ImageImage

In the Chrysler Jeep display was this project.  It is a 1962 Willys wagon mated to a 2004 Jeep chassis.  The wagon was literally taken out of the Jeep archives where it had sat since new. This makes for a practical vintage style vehicle.ImageImage

Kyle of the East Coast Willys Association (join the association please!!) brought his nice FC with a dump bed, and his M38.  I love the FCs and Kyle’s seemed the sole representative at the show. I also enjoyed finally meeting Kyle.  He is putting a great effort into creating a club for pre 1970 Jeep owners.

The final Jeep that really stood out to me was this Jeep Golden Eagle pickup.Image

This was a low mileage all original example with a Levi’s denim interior.  It stood out to me because my grandfather had a Jeep Honcho with a Levi’s interior.  I grew up with that truck traveling around New Hampshire. It had only around 33,000 miles and was amazingly rust free when we sold it back to the very ungrateful original owners.  Yep, that is one that my Dad and I kick ourselves over.

If you did not make it to the All Breeds Jeep Show I can recommend a truly vintage flat fender show coming up October 27th here in Westminster.  Visit Jeepchasm for more information.

They’re still out there

So in December of 2011 we built the GPW “Rarotonga” for International Military Antiques and their TV show “Family Guns”. Yes, we restored a jeep in a month.  It was nuts and involved many nights with little to no sleep. Fast forward and that Jeep is now in Texas with a very happy new owner who found out that his neighbor had a 1942 Willys MB stored in the barn.


This Jeep has spent over 20 years doing farm work and has only minor modifications. The seller is the son of the former owner who was in his early 80’s when he passed.


The price was right and I knew when I saw this that I HAD to find it a new home.  The MB has many original parts and a very original engine bay apparently. You can see it needs some steel work but having the original seats, handles, windshield etc.. all say something to me.


The Jeep has already found a new home in Pennsylvania and I am ecstatic!  When it arrives I will post more pictures.  When I find a home for a vintage Jeep I feel like I am finding a new family for an orphaned pet. 😀

New mechanic technician/ Scrap value

I thought I would combine a couple things in this post.  First off Hanson Mechanical would like to welcome our new technician, John Still.  John has 35 years experience in automotive repair. John began his career at AMC Jeep. His skills extend from frame welding to wiring to custom engine and driveline design and building.  His work is thorough and he believes what we believe; that a job should be done right or not at all.  Welcome John!!

Now for some pictures of free range Jeeps.  The owner is looking for scrap value on these 1940’s CJs (around $400 to $500 apiece).  A couple of them have rather nice bodies and frames.  They do not have titles or drivelines but those issues can be remedied. This first one is very solid and I keep thinking of combining it with a wreck I found that has a good engine and trans.Image

This second one is a very early CJ2A. Sadly it has a huge amount of diamondplate on it and I do not know if it is worth saving.


This last one seems pretty solid and complete.  If anyone is interested in one of these please contact me and we can make arrangements.



The last photo here is the remains of a WW2 Jeep.  It torments me but looks rather cool sitting out in the brush.


Spring is around the corner, the roads will soon be salt free.  Bring your Jeeps in for that spring tuneup or other work you have been postponing.  John loves Jeeps and will get yours in tip top shape.

Onwards and upwards,


Mining the warehouse

Contrary to popular belief I am not dead 🙂  When the weather gets colder the adventures stay closer to home and thus I have less to post.

I took a journey today to a friends place where he is working on clearing out and organising an old warehouse he has.  It was alot easier to see the vehicles with less packed in around them.  Below is a Ford GPW. My friend has around 20 acres covered in vintage Jeeps (civilian and military) as well as a variety of other military vehicles mostly from WW2.


Next to the GPW sits a WW2 Dodge Weapons carrier.  It is still running despite its patina.ImageImage

In a back corner sits this very sad Jeep.  There is not much to work with here.  The grill and headlights look salvageable though.Image

Happy Holidays everyone!!


Enjoy this video 🙂  Convoy video

Oh… wait… wrong type of convoy!!

Sept 15 brought around the annual convoy from Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg to New Oxford, PA.  Bob Buker has organised this for several years now and we usually pull in 40 or more WW2 vehicles.



We divide up into companies before hand and commanders receive a detailed WW2 style folder with maps and overlays and more.  Then we gather up the road from the farm around 7:30 am and prepare to head out.  Bob always plans a route that takes us through back country roads with great scenery.  You often feel that the current year slips away and you are dropping back in time.Image

We had several fellows come down from Canada including the piper in the photo above.  Terry Hunter is the piper and he is an officer in the Canadian Army.  The unit we reenact portrays 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.  The Canadian embassy heard about us and sent a representative out to the battle at New Oxford that marks the midpoint of the convoy.  Below is a shot of myself in 1 Can Para uniform.Image

And here is a shot of the center of new oxford through the smoke.Image

On the way back to Eisenhower Farm we encountered an ambush.Image

This went on for a bit and gave the fellows a chance to fire off some rounds.  I am often left wondering what the locals think about this.  I can imagine some guy out on his porch with a cup of coffee and then all hell bursts loose in front of him.  Not even sure what I would think if I did not do this as a hobby.

Sadly my Jeep, Mort, began running rough toward the end of the convoy, but as always he got us back to the camp.  With alot of work I straightened out a few small issues but in the end had to tow him home.  Now he awaits my ministrations.Image

Thanks to my little Jeep for not stranding us!! He is a loyal mechanical companion.

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.


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.


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



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.


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

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.


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:


Many of my readers who own vintage Jeeps will recognise the name John Barton.  He was active on forums like 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.


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


There were many first aid boxes and gas casualty boxes.


We found three original tire pumps!!!


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


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: We are inventorying everything again and should have prices for items within a couple weeks.

onwards and upwards!


(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.)

13th annual Great Willys Picnic

This past Sunday was the Great Willys Picnic held this year at the WK&S Railroad ( in Kempton, PA.  This was my first time attending and Hanson Mechanical was one of the sponsors.  After getting very lost (my fault!!) I made it there by noon.  When I signed in I was the 63rd Jeep to arrive.  Just after me another WW2 Jeep showed up.


The lineup of Military Jeeps was mostly MB’s and GPW’s, all nicely restored.  Along with an M38 or two in the mix.  I loaded my Jeep up with the usual British/ Canadian Para equipment including the BSA folding bicycle on the front bumper.  MIne was the “beater” of the lot.  Every five years or so it comes time to tear my Jeep down and redo it.  I think it is coming time for a new paint job.  I figure if you have a Jeep drive it!!  It will not remain pristine that way but it will feel loved.


The selection of civilian Jeeps was quite varied, from CJ2A’s to forward control Jeeps.  Quite a few Jeeps were there with pto’s and the various accessories.  I will include photos of those in my next posting.


Since we were at a vintage railroad many of us opted for a train ride.  I was wandering around when I received a call from my friend, Mike Hardesty, of  He was on the train and so I ran down and bought a ticket just in time for a ride.  The train went through a village maintained by the local Historical Society, and on down a few miles of line.  The cars were well maintained and it was a fun trip.


I cannot recommend this event enough! At the end of the day we took several Jeeps for a convoy around some local roads.  The location was wonderful, the WK&S were great hosts and the array of Jeeps and vendors was fantastic.  If you like vintage Jeeps then this is a show to attend.  It will be at the same location next year and should once again be the second weekend of June.

The meaning of Memorial Day

A little while back I posted some pictures of a project we were working on.  The project was a Jeep named Kilroy that a WW2 veteran I know flipped last summer.  He has a guardian angel because while his nephew sustained broken ribs, and other injuries requiring surgery, old Joe just found himself standing on the neighbor’s lawn wondering what happened.  He only had some bruises.

The Jeep on the other hand looked like this:


All I can figure is that Joe went nose over and and then rolled after running off of the road and into a ditch.  Last week the whole gang pitched in and we aimed to finish and deliver Joe’s Jeep by Saturday.  As usual the Jeep gods threw a monkey wrench in that and made the final work a challenge for us.

This Jeep had MANY items missing or improperly installed when it was first “restored”.  John found that the oil filter only had one line installed, we all found that things like dash and marker lights were not wired in, John and Bobby found various areas missing major mounting bolts.  The missing bolts and welds probably contributed to the amount of damage and frame twisting in the accident.

As delivery day loomed over us the gang was working hard.


But we felt like we were getting close to the finish line.  Then we tried to start the Jeep.  With a BRAND NEW battery the engine barely harrumphed over.  We gave the battery a boost with the same result.  Finally I called  Joe’s family to check if there was a rebuilt starter in the Jeep.  Apparently there was, but I remembered that this Jeep was always slow to start.  NOW the Jeep gods smiled upon us.  I happened to have four starters from junk Jeeps laid out on the floor.  Happily one of them purred happily when connected to a battery.  Thus we yanked the “rebuilt” starter out and installed the junkpile starter.  Vavoom!! It turned over beautifully and then did not start.

“Kill me” I thought…. Then followed a couple hours of John, Mike and I checking continuity, checking spark and voltage and calling my father who is a retired engineer. Finally I believe checking the distributor condensor’s ground did the trick.  Old Kilroy fired up and purred.  Hurray!!!

The following morning I awoke early, Mike came by, and we finished the job.  Stencils were painted on, misc. items were installed, and then we went for a test ride.  On the test ride I began to worry because the oil pressure meter was reading NOTHING!!!  When we took a look in the engine compartment we found that lo and behold the former idiotboy who restored this Jeep had not installed an oil pressure line.  Reason 193 at this point to find that man and take away his tools.

Eventually we were ready for the road. By 3:00 we were in Pasadena, Maryland and delivering the Jeep.  Here is a photo of Kilroy at the “scene of the crime”.


I felt it was right to take a photo of the Jeep re-restored at the scene of its accident.  A moment of triumph for Kilroy!  Mike had the idea of unloading the Jeep outside of Joe’s family’s gated community and driving it in for the sake of presentation.  Here is Kilroy heading back home down his driveway.


We drove down the driveway honking Kilroy’s horn.  When we arrived at the house first Joe’s daughter came out and then Joe.  Joe was walking with a cane but grinning proudly.  He opened the hood, looked over the engine, walked around the vehicle and did a thorough inspection.  Then he threw his cane in the passenger seat, climbed in and drove off up the driveway.  Joe reminded me of a boy getting his favorite toy back after he thought it was lost.  And seeing him sit proudly in his Jeep and then drive off made me feel like we had done our good deed for Memorial Day weekend.  We had made a veteran happy.Image

Thank you for your service Joe, and enjoy your Jeep in good health!!