I have been into old cars since I was in High School many many years ago. Primarily a Chevy guy with a few variations but always looking for the special Chevy and have owned at least one from each decade. However, about 2 years ago while driving home I spotted an old Jeep sitting on a corner. While driving by quickly I thought that I noticed 1944 crudely painted on a sign on the windshield. Since I couldn’t buy a 1944 Chevy I had to turn around and take another look only because that’s the year I was born. Sure enough it was a 1944 Willys MB in running condition. I contacted the owner and we made a deal.
Not knowing anything about military Jeeps I figured I would just clean it up and drive it around for a fun thing to do. It was painted in camo which didn’t fit the era of that Jeep so I thought I would put a quick cheap paint job on it and call it a day. However, closer examination of the the body I quickly realized there were way too many holes drilled in the body for just paint. I started welding up the holes and lost count at about 150. Months later it was ready for paint. After finding paint available at Kaiser Willys I realized how much of the old Jeep was not correct, including the headlights, seats, gauges, gas tank, wheels, tires etc. Knowing all those parts were available, and me being the purest I am, I started buying parts and making it as original as I could. I stopped short of doing a frame off but I’m happy with the results. However, rebuilding classic cars is a task that is never quite completed, there is always something else that could be done.
I drive it in parades and even take it to car shows and it alway draws a lot of attention wherever I take it. I never thought it would draw the attention it does and thanks to Kaiser Willys it turned out better than even I expected. Living in the southern California desert and being fairly close to the General Patton Museum I think the 1944 Willys MB feels right at home.
Willys Jeep Life Story – Norm Correll
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