A Jalopnik reader sent me a gift so excellent, I nearly cried upon opening the envelope. It’s a 1925 stock certificate for 10 shares of Willys-Overland, the Toledo-based auto company that built the very first Jeeps—vehicles that, as you know, I love dearly.
In 1945, an American soldier gave my Grandpa—who was then an eight-year-old living in Southern Germany—a ride in a World War II Jeep. That short trip changed my grandpa’s life forever, beginning a chain of events that led him to vow never to drive an automobile for as long as he lives.
Travel anywhere in the world, and you’ll probably run across a Jeep. And if you don’t, you’ll find a vehicle that has been influenced by the Jeep. The history of the brand is rich, and the worldwide following is enormous. And yet, somehow, there’s no proper museum for the World War II hero. It makes no sense.
This past weekend, my friend and I drove 4.5 hours (one way) to attend the Willys Jeep Rally in Ohio. There, we saw vintage Jeeps operating all sorts of farm equipment, and we even got to operate a backhoe on a Jeep CJ-5. It’s the only such event in the world as far as I know, and it was incredible.
Modern cars are better than old ones in pretty much every measurable way. Especially in the last few decades, the industry has seen enormous advancements in fuel economy, acceleration, handling, crash safety—the list goes on. But what are some vehicles that have withstood the test of time, and still compete with their…
From day one, all cards were all stacked against this idea. Pretty much every major mechanical part on this 1948 Willys CJ-2A was broken in some way, I had little money and even less time, and the weather in Michigan made repairing anything in my garage total misery. The prospect of getting the Willys worthy for a…
With its seemingly endless mechanical and electrical faults, I was convinced my 1948 Willys CJ-2A off-road project had lost all will to live. But apparently, there’s some life in the little Jeep yet, because Project Slow Devil just drove 300 miles in a single day in the first leg of my 1,800 mile journey to Moab.
I’m tired. More tired than I’ve ever been. Turning a rusty hulk of poorly maintained metal into a running, driving vehicle without breaking the bank has worn me out both physically and mentally. Half of my body is covered in oil, my hands are pierced with metal shavings, I’ve gotten more chunks of rust in my eyes than…
You’ve seen the first road test of my 1948 Willys CJ-2A already, but that wasn’t truly the very first time this Willys drove under its own power post-rebuild, because before that, I romped through the mudpit in my backyard. Talk about an engine break-in procedure.
If you’ve been following the tragedy that is my 1948 Willys CJ-2A off-road project, you’ve likely concluded that it’s a total basket case and that I should have given up ages ago. Well, you’re right. And the project is still in peril. But there’s good news: my stubbornness has borne some fruit finally, and the Jeep is…
On Friday, I may or may not have made the claim: “This weekend is it. If I can’t get my 1948 Willys CJ-2A up and running by Sunday night, all hope is lost.” Well, I was wrong, because my friends Brandon, Steve and I didn’t get the Willys up running, but because we got a lot done, there is still as much hope as there…
This weekend is it. If I can’t get my 1948 Willys CJ-2A up and running by Sunday night, all hope is lost. The problem is, I just found out that my engine bearings are toast. All of them.
This is bad. I’ve got three weeks to turn a rusty carcass into an off-road beast, and there’s just no way in hell. Not after what happened this past weekend.
I’ve only got about a month to prepare for my trip from Detroit to Moab’s Easter Jeep Safari, but I’ve still got about a decade worth of wrenching to do. I really didn’t think those whole project through, but screw it, it’s too late to turn back now! Here’s the approximate route I’m taking. If you live anywhere along…
Well, turns out buying a rusted-out 69 year-old barn find Jeep as an off-road project was a major mistake. The car is in shambles, my garage is in shambles, even my house is in shambles. As for me, I’m struggling to keep it together mentally.
SUV makers these days like to lace their press releases with the words “practical” and “versatile.” But it’s all bullshit, because compared to old Willys Jeeps, modern SUVs are useless paperweights. Just look at all hard work an old 1940s Willys can tackle.
I just yanked the engine out of my 1948 Willys CJ-2A; here’s a look at the innards of that old cast iron hulk called the “Go Devil” that powered America’s troops through World War II.
Craftsmen are a dying breed these days, now that seemingly everything can be automated using fancy software and robotics. Still, in the dark dungeons of YouTube lurk some truly skilled artists. Just watch this guy make body panels by hand for an old Willys CJ-3B Jeep.