I purchased my 1957 Willys DJ-3A in 1968 when I was a junior in high school, it cost me $350. The Jeep was painted green and had about 37,000 miles or at least that was what the broken speedometer read. In the windshield two faded stickers from Air Force at Chicago O’Hare Airport and also under the green paint it was Air Force Blue. So in it’s younger days it served the country. I’m not sure what it’s duty was in between the Air Force and my ownership. On my call it had many high school escapades including many a weekend boon docking with high school friends in the sand dunes and swamps around Lake Michigan. I found out with the tires late a night.
The 57 Jeep spent many a summer night scooping the loop in Waukegan, Illinois. The again years latter when scoop the loop came back as a summer weekend celebration. Also during my high school and college years I made 3 1/2 trips to Canada. The first trip I left at 10PM right after I got home from High School graduation. two friends and myself drove straight thru the 665 miles from Waukegan to Nestor Falls Ontario, arriving in 15 hours to Canada for a fishing trip.
When I refer to the 1/2 a Canada trip is when I broke down in Cook, MN an hour south of International Falls, MN. Three college kids spent 3 days in Cook population 500 (including outlying areas). We had to be towed 10 miles to town by Erv’s Garage. He diagnosed the problem, loaned us his tools and got us a ride 35 miles to the nearest parts house. He also let us stay in an abandoned house and helped us replace the exhaust valve. At last it was done and running. As we packed the Jeep we were trying to figure out how we were going to pay in a time of no cell phones, no credit cards, no ATMs etc. I was handed the bill. We could not believe that it was for a total of $17.86! We were able to pay the bill, buy gas and make it home. And found out there are real anglers among us. As I found a job, married and had 3 kids the Jeep was used less and less do to no money or time to fix. As my wife would tell many a inquiry, is that Jeep for Sale in the backyard I would hem/haw and say No. Now that I am retired I had the time and money to fix it up and get it running to honor all the good times we had with it and it’s 60th birthday. This complete tear down to the frame and rebuild has taken me 80+ weeks.
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – Patrick Grams
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