Just what the Doctor ordered. My Willys has seen me through some trying times. When I first found this Jeep I was 32 years old and working as a police officer in a patrol car in Columbus, OH. But my Willys Jeep story doesn’t start there, as a young boy I was very interested in the outdoors. My family had a number of camping trailers over the years, actually we started with tents, then to pop-up trailers and finally to several hardtops. Every vacation was an adventure to a National park or some remote location where we would hike, canoe and just enjoyed the outdoors. In addition to that Dad is an avid hunter and shooter and I spent many days tromping thru the woods with him on great adventures. We alwaystalked about how great it would be to have a Jeep and as a kid I had a toy box full of CJ’s and Jeepster Tonka trucks and Matchboxes.
I loved Jeeps and before I could drive I was saving for a Jeep. In 1976 I bought a 1946 CJ-2A in remarkable condition. I drove the Willys through High School and several years of college and sold it before joining the Army in 1983. I always regretted selling that old Willys and in a few years decided someday I’d find another one. Then life came along and there were lots of things that needed my time and attention a lot more then I needed a Jeep until one evening in 1993 when I rolled slowly down an ally in my cruiser and discovered an old Willys sitting at the rear of a business, very neglected and slowly rotting away. Turns out the owner was a WWII veteran, a retired Colonel who stead fastly refused to sell the old Jeep but he loved to talk about it and his time in the military and his plans to someday restore the Willys. Keep in mind this was 1993 and WWII had ended some 50 + years before so this old soldier was, well old! Over the next year I’d stop into his shop and we’d chat about the Jeep and I never left without asking if he’d sell and I always got the same answer, “No Sir I gonna fix her up one of these days!” Until finally as I headed out of the shop one day I asked, “Ready to sell her to me?” To which he replied, “Nope, not gonna sell her… well, will you give me $200 for her?” I told him I’d be back and 30 minutes later I was the proud owner, for the second time in my life, of an old Willys Jeep. Having a young family there wasn’t much extra money around for a restoration project so I started doing things that didn’t cost much and slowly over time the Jeep started its transformation.
There were a few setbacks along the way, I was called to active duty in the military twice. In 2010 just as the project was nearing completion there was a fire in our home that destroyed our garage and caused a huge set back. Then a very unexpected heart attack caught me completely by surprise because I am an avid bicyclist and runner! Nonetheless, I never gave up on my dream to finish the little Willys Jeep. Finally in 2011 I completed the Jeep and we finally got to get her out on the road and trails. My family loves the Jeep especially my 12 year old son Spencer who just can’t wait to have his turn behind the wheel! We have been to a number of shows including the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in Butler, PA. Next year we plan to be at the Spring Midwest Willys Reunion as well as the 2014 Butler show, hopefully with a brand new overdrive. This old Jeep has been just what the Doctor ordered!
If you would like to share your Willys Jeep Story please send us a line. We ‘d love to meet your Jeep.
Like Us. Facebook