Joe J 1941Willys MB

I am Joe's Jeep

Joe’s Jeep

I am Joe’s Jeep. I first met Joe when he came to see me after seeing a newspaper ad. He had been looking for a military jeep and wasted no time checking on me. I had been used to repair construction equipment down on the coast. An arc welder sat where the front passenger would sit. It connected to the power takeoff on the back of the transmission. I had a hard top and my windshield was welded to the cowl. Joe agreed to take over my care and maintenance but didn’t want the welder. It stayed behind.

I do not recall much of my earlier history. Jeeps are not like people. Our parts are interchangeable and easily modified. Some of the memory leaves with the parts. I am a real bitza. My frame has the tubular front cross member of Toledo jeeps. My engine has GPW cast in the block like all Ford jeep engines. An ordinance tag indicated I have been overhauled at an Army facility at one time. Fortunately for me Joe was not interested in modifying me except for a few instances to enhance reliability. I would be returned to my original configuration. Joe suggested a motor pool restoration and I agreed. I would be all original, but with the changes that an active service life required. Welding the windshield to my cowl ruined it. My body has a front and rear section and Joe split it and used the cowl from one of my brothers to make a new one. The windshield frame was beyond repair so a CJ2A frame was cut down and installed. The floor was badly rusted so he fashioned a new one along with the tub my fuel tank sat in from 16-gauge steel. A few rust holes were patched with panels he formed. Since this was strictly motor pool, a few dents and scars didn’t matter. Duck blind paint was a good match for the WWII original so that was brushed over everything. While overhauling the engine it was discovered that my block had been sleeved. Fortunately the machinist was able to clean up the bores with the sleeves in place. The brake drums cleaned up nicely and the shoes were relined. I got new old stock master and wheel cylinders and all brake lines were replaced. Since all this stuff was new, it was filled with silicon brake fluid. One problem occurred with the brakes. After a year, the brake switch started leaking. A new one replaced it and it hasn’t leaked since. Since original jeep fuel pumps with the priming lever were unobtainable, Joe purchased a similar one and transferred the diaphragm to my old one. The voltage regulator was a hugh black box and turned out to be in excellent condition. One modification turned out well. A heavy-duty switch on the cowl energized my starter. This necessitated two long battery cables. Joe used a solenoid mounted next to the battery and replaced the cables with short ones lessening voltage drop. The original switch activates the solenoid. After rebuilding the starter, generator, and carburetor I was ready to roar. Oops, a new muffler was needed. I still had three combat rims so Joe rustled up two more and shod me with NDT tires. Transfer case and axles were in good condition and needed little attention. The common jeep problem of jumping out of second gear was taken care of with a shim on the main shaft. Time came to fire up. This was accomplished with minimum fuss and I have been running great ever since.

I am in my seventies now and retirement is pleasant. Joe fires me up occasionally and we go for a ride. The most fun is car shows. Old timers come and swap lies with Joe. “I usta drive one of these in Korea” is a familiar one. It was probably an M38 but that’s close enough. The kids are the most fun. Since I am not spit and polish they get to climb up on me, blowing my horn and sawing my steering wheel back and forth. I may be the most photographed Jeep in America, the way parents swarm around with their cameras. I hope this will encourage more of you guys to get off your butts and find a jeep of your own to enjoy life with.

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