1946 Willys CJ-2A Navy
My father (Hans Neukomm Sr.) grew up in Switzerland. As a young man, he became a Jeep driver in the Swiss Military. This is where he acquired his appreciation for the Willys Jeep. Later he immigrated to the states to become an engineer & start a family. As I was growing up, he & I started collecting Willys Jeeps & parts. He acquired a Willys that we finished restoring into an Army version about 10 years ago. He has always had a dream of finishing three Jeeps: An Army, Navy and a Marine Jeep of WWII. We have taken the Army Jeep to many shows & parades.
About 5 years ago we tore down the second Jeep to be restored (the Navy one). My father shortly fell ill to bladder cancer. So the project was put on hold for the time-being. He was up & down with the cancer for a couple of years. It took a turn for the worse and metastasized into bone & lung cancer about two years ago. He also lost his leg during this process due to the cancer. Due to his ailments he was not able to work on the Jeep or even spend any time in his shop. The amputation also prevented any driving of any stick shift.
My father’s birthday is May 19th, 1936. I came up with an idea in late April of 2010 to restore the Navy Jeep for him. He proceeded to fight with his cancer and all of the chemotherapy. Having some resources available to me (wonderful friends!), I put in motion to do this restoration without letting him know it was being done. It was an early Sunday morning when two of us stole the Navy Jeep out from underneath my father’s shop. This Jeep was a tub, engine & trans. and many……many…boxes of parts! We loaded everything on a trailer and took off for a neighboring town where we were not going to run a risk of anyone saying anything to my father. I enlisted the generosity of Willy’s Restoration in Toledo, Or. I encouraged both my and my father’s friends to pitch in over the next two weeks to help accomplish this restoration set to be fulfilled by his birthday on May, 19th, 2010. It was a very challenging project! We had already planned a big party and unavailing of the Jeep to him so you can imagine the challenges of this build. I had teams of friends that were skilled in different areas (paint, mechanics, fab & more) to accomplish this. We did complete the Jeep on time. (Both running & driving!) He suspected nothing over the entire two weeks.
This project changed his outlook on life. We wanted to show him that anything was possible to accomplish. This Jeep will serve a great purpose here in running in the great Albany Veterans Parade held each year. That is what he wanted this Jeep built for. For many years to come it will do so.
Hans Neukomm Jr.
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