Ron’s father Jeff Selley joined the 8th army in 1940, he fought through Africa and up into Italy. He came back after the war with many stories of the prowess of the Jeep. He mentioned how the GIs would take the rotors out of the distributors to stop other troops from “borrowing” their Jeeps. Once he figured this out he found one parked outside a cinema in one of the Italian towns, which he expropriated for his commanding officer.
After the War the civilian CJ-2A came out, Jeff bought one and used it for many years while building roads into the Lesoto Mountains opening Diamond mines for General mining. Ron was born in 1947 and grew up in this Jeep as well as a Jeep Wagon. The CJ was discarded to the farm yard after a breakdown, by this time it already had a hard life.
When Ron was 12 years old a tire salesman came to the farm and offered R10.00 about $20.00 to Jeff for the Jeep. Ron asked his Grandmother to intercede on his behalf. His dad agreed to keep it for him providing he pay what he was going to get from the tire salesman. For a long time most of Ron’s pocket money and many hours of work on the farm secured him his Jeep. He worked on the Jeep during school holidays. After school he used it as his daily commute and to take hunters out into the bush-veld hunting game. During this time the Jeep went into Mozambique on hunting and fishing trips and to Lorenzo Marques, where Ron would take the steering wheel off to stop it from being stolen. In 1975 he fitted an F head motor and in 1976 he raced in the roof of Africa Rally and finished in the qualifying time.
Then he moved up to Rhodesia ” Zimbabwe” and worked for Rhodesian National Parks. The terrorists used to chase herds of buffalo and elephant to open tracks through the minefields. One of Ron jobs was to track down and shoot wounded game. The end of the bush war in 1979 he returned to South Africa and worked for the Natal parks Board and later Kwa Zulu National Parks.
In 1983 he fitted a 2.3 Chev petrol motor and used it patrolling the beaches of Natal and on many hunting trips and bush patrols. In 1997 we changed the Jeep back to it’s original Willys flat head. The Jeep has had many different colors of paint through its life fighting rust and today it is painted Jeep Anvil Grey, the same as Ron’s 2015 Jeep Rubicon. Ron is now 72 years old and still loves his Jeep as if he got it yesterday.
Willys Jeep Life Story – Ron Selley
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