I had been looking for a military Jeep to be a summer project when I told my Grandpa what I was looking for. As a high school senior, my budget was limited but a few phone calls later he told us a good friend of his was going to sell a Jeep that he had owned for a number of years. It had been used by the city utilities department for many years and then became a project that was put away. He seemed glad to be passing on his would-be-project to a young guy with high hopes.
We made a deal, and hauled it home. I wanted to make sure it was mechanically sound before I started on the rough parts so I gave it a tune up, replaced some seals and gaskets, changed fluids, and rebuilt the carburetor. Soon I had it running like new. Since I wanted to be able to drive it around, my Dad and I decided to replace only parts that were worn or bad to make sure it was a solid driver. I replaced a rear leaf spring pack and bought a new gas tank. I made sure all of the wiring was good then got all of the original 24 volt equipment working, including gauges, and black out lights. Next I pulled the body off of the frame, steamed and sanded two coats of paint and one coat of primer off to expose the olive drab. I was excited to see the complete hood numbers underneath. The body was in pretty good shape with some weak spots. I torched out rusty patches and welded in new.
My Dad did the body work and paint and it turned out great. We ordered a stencil kit, and painted the numbers back on as close to original as we could. We used my grandpa’s Vietnam unit information on the parts we could not recreate. We did the upholstery work ourselves with my Dad’s industrial sewing machine and were able to use original patterns to make new seat covers. One of our goals was to have it ready to be entered in a local car show in September that had over 2100 entries. There were a lot of amazing vehicles there but only 5 or 6 military vehicles. My Jeep drew much attention and I even won an award for “25 and Under”. This Jeep is a lot of fun to drive and I know I made an investment I can be proud of.
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – Cade Ifland
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