My 1941 composite Willys Jeep story began on 7 May 2006 when I purchased the vehicle from a collector friend of mine. My English friend Deryk Walker had moved to Taipei, Taiwan where he owns a fire fighting equipment business. In Taiwan you can legally own a Jeep as long as it does not appear to look military. My wife of 45 years is British and my son was born in Bath, England. Deryk had painted the Jeep sand color with British markings to reflect WWll North Africa 1941 (LRDG) long range desert groups. I love my Jeep as it is and I have no plans to ever change the color to olive drab with U.S. markings.
Between 13 June and 8 July 2009, I had the privilege of driving my Jeep “Good Time Betty” from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, California with the M.V.P.A. (Military Vehicle Preservation Association). We, hundreds of military vehicle collectors, commemorated the 1919 transcontinental convoy on the old Lincoln Highway as much as possible across 11 states. I was one of the 44 that drove from coast to coast. We encountered all kinds of weather from stifling heat, to torrential summer storms, to the cold of the mountains including a mini tornado. It was an adventure that I will never ever forget. All total I believe I drove over 3800+ miles including my journey back home from San Francisco into the LosAngeles area, city of Baldwin Park. My Jeep never failed me!
Nine months after my trip across our nation, my Jeep engine had a catastrophe failure. It turned out to be a cracked engine block. Nothing in this world is forever. I suppose 70 years was the short life span of that iron engine casting. Today it still survives in my man cave and serves me very well as a coffee table. See: (Dulles Glass and Mirror Company Blog), scroll down to (Military Jeep Engine Block-Custom Glass, Sept. 20, 2012. Luckily for some of us collectors, we always seem to have extra spare parts in the back yard. As for me, I just happen to have had an extra engine block. I had a professional engine machine shop that re manufactured to specifications a new, back from the grave, better then brand new Willys engine. The holy bible to the success of bringing my “Good Time Betty” rolling again was the (Kaiser Willys Auto Supply Jeep Parts and Accessories Catalog). The team of mechanics that worked on my Jeep engine were able to identify from the catalog all the parts necessary. They were also able to call very easily the toll free number for expert advise from day one. My new Willys engine runs like a fine quality time piece. My Jeep will live forever. I am very proud that my “Good Time Betty” was featured in the U.S. Army’s Soldiers Magazine (December 2009 page 15). Also recently again, same photo of me with my Jeep is on the cover and on chapter 13 of the Veterans Health Benefits Handbook (July/August 2012).
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – Saul A. Marquez
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