Meet Mabel

I love barn finds, I think most car buffs do.  Nowadays we see alot of garage and self storage finds.  We rarely get to breathe in that musty air and hay and brush dust off a vehicle that has sat for twenty or more years.


A fellow, Brian, contacted me a while back in search of a Willys truck.  He and I looked at an array of trucks posted on There was a variety available around the country.  Eventually we found a nice restored truck and he decided to buy it.  However he decided that it was not the right time for a truck and we decided to keep looking.  The key phrase was that we,” wait for something closer to the shop.” Insert Mabel.


I kept an eye online for trucks more local, but honestly these vehicles show up when they want to be found, especially the right ones.  A friend and neighbor took a copy of my card one day and mentioned that a friend of his had a Willys truck he wanted to sell and that it was sitting in a barn.

A week or so later I heard from Mr. Gross, we set a time for me to go and see the truck.  Mr. Gross happens to live about two miles from my house, how much closer could we ask for?


When we met up I found that Mr. Gross and I had alot to talk about.  I teach and he is a retired teacher.  We both love to teach kids and adults to work with their hands.  As we chatted I looked over the truck (Mabel is a ’57 Willys) and began to realize that this was the one for my customer.  I took photos and immediately went home to email Brian about what I hoped was his new truck.


Brian agreed that this was the one, and as you can see by the above photo, we moved forward with the purchase.  Mabel was in the Gross family since the 1970s.  The truck worked on their farm in Taneytown, then moved down closer to Westminster.  Mabel sat for years as a father/son project that never fully moved on.  With Mr. Gross’s son now having a master’s degree, he decided it was time to move the truck on.

IMAG0764Mabel is now at our shop awaiting her restoration and then a move to the midwest.  A true barnfind, and another Willys truck to bring back to the road.

Willys pickup wiper conversion issue… HELP!!!

So I need help.  My mechanic and I feel like we are missing something blindingly obvious. We are almost done with a 1961 Willys pickup for Great Frogs Winery in Annapolis Maryland.

The only thing holding us up is the wipers….

We bought an electric wiper conversion from Walck’s 4WD, a vendor I am normally ecstatic with.  However my pleas to them for help since last week when we tried installing the conversion have been avoided.  (I have called, and emailed, and my mechanic has called only to be told that they will try to get to checking the new motors.) I am annoyed. Not good customer service……

Here is the issue in pictures.  I would add video but that is pointless since….drumroll please…. you guessed it, they don’t work! Anyone who can help please email me or put a comment on this post. First off a view of the wiper assembly on the firewall.


Now the windshield wipers are properly parked. The cables inside are all running parallel to each other.  The white arrow shows the direction the electric motor is trying to turn the wipers.  The red arrow is the direction the mechanism needs to turn in order for the wipers to move. They cannot budge in the direction the motor is trying to push them (white arrow remember please).


And here is the back of the adaptor motor.  As you can see it will fit nicely into the wiper mechanism.  The white again is the direction the motor is trying to turn, the red is the direction the mechanism in the truck wants to turn for the wipers to move.


And yes, the wipers are parked.

I may be a total idiot and be doing something blindingly stupid… if so let me know. PLEASE! I am not a genius, just a Swede with wrenches and a love of Jeeps. I was just hoping that the company that seems to have the experience and know how with these vehicles could advise me.  But since they will not hopefully one of you readers out there can help.

Thanks in advance!!


UPDATE: Finally got a call, a whole shipment of electric motors was manufactured wrong. For expediency we are going with a rebuilt vacuum motor now.

Barn wagons

I look through my posts and there seem to be many barnfinds in here.  Not sure how I keep stumbling into them but I hope you folks enjoy them.Image

Last week a couple of us went to a neighboring town to look at a gathering of Willlys wagons and a pickup.  All of them have been sitting for 20 to 30 years.  A couple outside and a couple inside/ outside.ImageImage

The two I am showing here are a 1940s two wheel drive wagon and a modified 1940s panel delivery.  The wagon does not have an engine but is very solid.  There is another later wagon in a field with hurricane six engine and full drivetrain. Maybe put the two together??


The building was falling down around the panelvan the last time I was here a few years back.  The last large snow a couple years ago apparently took down the roof over it.Image

If anyone is interested in these or the 1950s Willys pickup (actually rather solid with a nice cab and little rust) let me know.  I believe they can be had for a reasonable price and most have titles.

Before and after

We were playing Tetris with the Jeeps today to get a 1961 Willys pickup in the shop and the end result was some nice shots of a 1944 Willys MB that awaits restoration, and a finished 1952 M38 resto-rod.Image

I love this shot of the barnfind Jeep seemingly staring at the finished 1952 M38. I can imagine it saying,” that will be me someday….” 🙂ImageImage

It is fun seeing one before anything has been done, and one complete and ready to go home.  And here is the pickup now in the shop 🙂Image

Have fun!! -Merlin