May is the our favorite month in Indiana. The weather is getting warm, but not yet hot, and the Jeep and antique farm equipment shows have started. We had a great trip to Aurora, Ohio to attend the Spring Willys Reunion. While there, Keith Buckley gave us three Newgren Parts and Service Bulletins from early May, 1947. These extremely rare documents are providing new insights for us into the operation of Newgren prior to their acquisition by Monroe in 1948; In addition, the bulletins also address problems we encountered with our own Newgren installations. Enjoy
In the summer of 2018, I was at a show with our CJ3a. A visitor told me that I should write an article for the Farm Collector magazine. I had to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the publication, but a quick search at www.farmcollector.com made me think that might be fun. I sent an email to the editor later in the summer, asking if they would be interested in a short article on the Farm Jeep. The editor wrote back, saying they had just accepted an article on the Farm Jeep and it would be published in December.
I was surprised and asked if I could have the name of the author. It wasn’t a name I had come across, so I subscribed to the magazine and waited for the issue with the Jeep story to arrive. When the magazine come, I was shocked. The article contain a number of errors and declared that the Farm Jeep was a short-lived failure.
After my initial outrage, I cooled down enough to realize that we needed to do a better job of telling the Farm Jeep story. The author had every right to tell his version, even if it didn’t agree with the facts. So I set about to right what I saw as a wrong. I started by submitting an article to Farm Collector that was published in April, 2020. That article highlighted the Farm Jeep demo that was part of the annual Willys Jeep Rally and featured our friend John Ittel.
I also realized that much of our research had focused on the early CJs and that we had little information on the CJ5 and the period from its introduction until the end of the era around 1970. That was an important part of the Farm Jeep story and it led to the E&K story about the Stratton Lift.
In the fall of 2021, I submitted another article to the magazine, with the idea of correcting some of the information presented in the 2018 article. My first draft was “too much Jeep” (a few kind words from the editor made me realize this) and I rewrote the article to be more “tractor forward.” It was based on our work on the “Jeep as a light tractor.“
In January, I learned that the article had been accepted and I was asked if I had a photo suitable for the cover. Needless to say, I was thrilled. There had never been a Jeep on the cover of the magazine and I couldn’t think of a better rebuttal to that 2018 story.
So the cover photo is special for many reasons. The first is that it was taken at the Jeep Rally demo that showed Farm Jeeps of all types in action. But this Jeep was a 1963 CJ5 plowing with a Newgren lift and plow from the late 1940s. It was also a way to honor our friend John who had taught us that the Farm Jeep wasn’t just about the CJ2a or CJ3a or even John’s beloved CJ3bs but about the CJ5 too.
The article is available online at www.farmcollector.com/company-history/jeeps-on-farm-zm0z22mayzram/ (you may need a subscription to view it). I believe it is a fair treatment of the subject. My hope is that it provides an alternative to the original story and will bring a new audience to the Farm Jeep. Most importantly I believe it shows the the Jeep has a place as a part of “Vintage Farm Equipment.”
It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke in November 1948 when the above ad was published. More evidence in the same newspaper tells us that the showing did take place. “Premier” normally implies a “first showing.” But was this really the “first showing”? Read on –
Half of the Farm Jeep team is enjoying the Florida sunshine, but we have been busy nonetheless. Thanks once again to Dave @ eWillys we uncovered more information about the Transport Motor Company (TMC). and Barry has been spending his time, when not on the beach, annotating a TMC film.
Thanks to Todd Paisley for giving us more information on the mystery Jeep Tractor prototype.
We posted the picture on the CJ2apage forum and asked if anyone had additional information. Todd Paisley replied “This is a Willys-Overland prototype. The Jeep Tractor was built under Engineering Release 5475 “Pilot Model of Jeep Tractor – Build One sample” that started on 4/19/1949 and the project closed on 12/7/1949.”
We have added this information to our post “The Jeep As A Light Tractor.”
Finally, our friend Clint Dixon answers a burning questions –
Happy New Year everyone! We are looking forward to a fun filled 2022. We have uncovered some old publications that shed some light on Willys’ place in the tractor market. Enjoy!
It’s a truck! It’s a tractor! No its a Farm Truck-Tractor Jeep!
We have added two volumes of “The Tractor Field Book” to our reference library. If you aren’t familiar with this publication, and we weren’t, it is a standard tractor industry reference book first published in 1916. These documents confirm that, at least in the tractor industry, the Jeep was recognized as a “truck-tractor.”
It is that time of year again, when we bring out our favorite Christmas decoration. This year we received an early present from Bill Norris in the form of pictures from the the National Automotive Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.
This beautiful picture immediately invoked a memory of the cover of the Love installation brochure.
Jabez Love is the inventor of the first “Jeep Approved” lift (although that label would be applied later). But his real love was the implements he developed for the Ford 9N tractor that met the needs of the farmers he served.
Bill also provided us with the first documents from Love’s business that we have seen.
We will be updating our Love history section in the near future with these exciting finds.
For now, we wish everyone Merry Christmas and wish a safe and Happy New Year!
Barry & Evan
Our friend Lonnie passed away on November 28, 2021. His love for old Jeeps and his knowledge of Farm Jeeps and equipment are legendary. He and his wife and partner Marilyn touched hundreds of people over the years.
We started to record Lonnie’s Jeep story in late 2019, when his health was deteriorating. We have spoken with Marilyn and when the time is right, we will post more of the stories. For now, we invite you to read the first chapter.
Before WWII had ended, Willys was making plans for the “Peace Jeep.” It was to serve four roles on the farm, the first one being a tractor. We have added an article about “The Jeep As A Light Tractor.” Enjoy!
When this video popped up on the Early CJ5 forum, we just had to know the story. Ryan Frankenberg’s CJ3b has led multiple lives. It started life as a Farm Jeep, became a racing Jeep, retired and became a hard working Farm Jeep once again. You can read the whole story at Ryan Frankenberg’s 1962 CJ3b.
Back in 2016, we published a list (from about 1946) about all the uses of the Jeep. Ryan has added at least three to that list – racing vehicle, wood chopping and tire changing. We are sure there will be more.