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WW II Reconditioning Program?

Discussion in 'Early Jeep Restoration and Research' started by sparky, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Aug 7, 2007
    sparky

    sparky Sandgroper Staff Member Founder

    Perth, WA
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    I'm looking for information on the programs used to recondition Jeeps during WWII.

    I've a document for Bechtel - McCone (IIRC) that outlines the strategy, what they did to the Jeep and difficulties getting good workers, etc. Quite in depth and fun to read.

    I was wondering what you all might have found on this program. Information on the overseas aspects of it would be appreciated along with any pictures you could share?

    Couple of questions that come to mind, i.) why were these remanufactured, was there not sufficient capacity to make new Jeeps, ii.) why start this so near the end of the war or was that not apparent at the time, iii.) what were they used for once remanufactured - civilian purposes, military use, war, etc. ?

    I'm working on a presentation for the Fall Midwest Willys Reunion in Jefferson City, Sept. 7-8-9. Dr. Kayser from the Santa Fe MVPA chapter asked me if I'd give a talk on this and gave me the document, I'm a CJ-5 guy, not really a military guy, but I found it interesting so I agreed.

    Jim Allen mentioned something to me about PX Jeeps in Germany? He said he had a pic or had seen one of a Jeep that was painted black with red wheels and sold to the GIs for personal transportation after being rebuilt, (this may not be exactly what he told me, that was a couple months ago).

    I'm hoping to put together a document or web page or both when I'm done with the presentation to get the stuff I've collected into a single resource available for people that have remanufactured Jeeps if I have anything decent worth sharing with the community.
     
  2. Aug 7, 2007
    WYOMIKE

    WYOMIKE Oct 1971 pic

    Parkman, Wyoming
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    Sparky
    This may not have anything to do with what you are asking about, but here is a little tit bit from something I remember. Back in 1955-1958 my father was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Bitburg Germany. If you were married and had a family, then you had to stay overseas for 4 years if you wanted to take your family with you. The gov. would ship your car over, but this was quite a expense, so they had a program that you could get jeeps for next to nothing rather then ship your car over. Is all I remember is that they were not green military color. One of my dads friends had one. Of course they were so cheap that a lot of the guys when they transfered out would just give them to somebody transfering in. Later on ( 1958ish) when we got transfered to Glasglow Mt., the base also had some type of program that you could get a JEEP for next to nothing. My dad ordered one, but when he got it there was only one small problem. They came packed in a wooden crate fully incased in cosmollean (sp) and every piece of rubber that was on it was taken off before packing them up. I mean not just the tires, but window gaskets, hoses, fanbelts, brake lines, everything. By the time you got them cleaned up (have you ever tried to clean cosmollean off something) and replaced the rubber items, it was not worth it. I can not remember for sure what models they were for sure, but I know they were not the CJ-5 style or the M-38A style even through the military was using that style at the time. I also remember that on neather program were they new JEEPs
    Like I said, this probably has nothing to do with your reconditionins program, but thought I would pass it on.
    :beer:
     
  3. Aug 7, 2007
    SandhillMike

    SandhillMike Moderator

    Archer, Fla
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    Sparky, the MB I sold to my neighbor had a tag afixed to the dash indicating that it had been rebuilt in 1949 at a Mercedes Benz facility in Germany. I can get a pic of it if that would be any help.
     
  4. Aug 7, 2007
    sparky

    sparky Sandgroper Staff Member Founder

    Perth, WA
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    Yup.
     
  5. Aug 8, 2007
    w3srl

    w3srl All-around swell dude Staff Member

    Port Orange, FL
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    Sparky,

    I had a neighbor (now since departed, dammit!) who was a B-24 navigator in WWII. He was a great old chap, and had no problem with sitting down over a glass of scotch on the patio and talking about the war, even about the 2+ years he spent as a POW after he was shot down over Germany. This guy was so unique, after he got repatriated, he volunteered to go back to try and help with the rebuilding of Germany, after he helped bomb the crap out of it. They allowed him to go back, and to take his new wife with him as he worked in the Constabulary in Germany.

    Anywho, he told me about a program late in the war where GIs could enter into a drawing at he local PX to earn the chance to buy a reconditioned Jeep for about $100 bux or so IIRC. He said they were run through a half-assed depot program and painted gloss black before they were turned loose on the roadways. The rationale was that cars were in such short supply on the German economy, that the US military really didn't have much choice. If they didn't refurb the Jeeps, they were going to have to import US cars into Germany and there weren't enough in the US to satisfy local demand, at least until the war machine winded down and civilian production got back into the swing of things.

    I wish I could have interviewed Lt. Lewellyn more fully, but unfortunately he passed on about two years ago. His grandson is now an AF Academy grad, and a C-17 pilot though. :patriot:
     
  6. Aug 8, 2007
    lynn

    lynn Time machine / Early CJ5 HR Rep Staff Member

    Huntingdon PA
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  7. Aug 9, 2007
    SandhillMike

    SandhillMike Moderator

    Archer, Fla
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    here ya go Sparky
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2007
  8. Aug 9, 2007
    sparky

    sparky Sandgroper Staff Member Founder

    Perth, WA
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    Thank YOU MIKE! :beer:
     
  9. Aug 10, 2007
    Don X

    Don X The Prodigal Moderator Staff Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    San Diego,...
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    Looks like we've gone full circle. The rebuild was done by Daimler-Benz R)
     
  10. Aug 15, 2007
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member

    Falcon, CO
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    Sparky - I will see if I can talk to one of my Great Uncles (grandma's brother). He was a mechanic in the Army after the war and talked about reconditioning jeeps (he flew the ball on B-17s during the war). I remember my grandpa had one that was from the program for a while (had a trencher added to the back).
     
  11. Aug 15, 2007
    sparky

    sparky Sandgroper Staff Member Founder

    Perth, WA
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    Interesting to hear what you find out.

    I have confirmation from a couple folks they were sold through the PX in Germany to GIs for personal transport due to the shortage of vehicles.
     
  12. Aug 16, 2007
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member

    Falcon, CO
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    Talked to my Uncle Don - unfortunatly, I confused two of them and it was Uncle Dan who was the mechanic after the war. He did work on reconditioning jeeps in Germany after the war - then was shipped to Korea. Uncle Don thought he remembered them being sold via the PX (like you knew). Grandad's was a releasee from Lowery Air Force Base (in Denver) after the war that he got when they down sized some of the training (They did B24's and B29's here I believe).
     
  13. Aug 16, 2007
    sparky

    sparky Sandgroper Staff Member Founder

    Perth, WA
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    Thanks Chuck.
     
  14. Aug 16, 2007
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member

    Falcon, CO
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    Forgot to mention why I couldn't talk to Uncle Dan - he died 7 years ago :oops:
     

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