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!!