Big Changes to!

Over the next few weeks, we will transform the 16+ years of posts and stories to make the site easier to maintain and more importantly easier to use. We will add more history and some new sections to help tell the Farm Jeep story.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Let us know if you find a problem or if we can do a better job of organization.

Barry & Evan

New Year, Old Project, New Start

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all.  Here at we are starting the New Year off right with an old project and hoping for a year of old fashion fun.  We started our journey in August 2002 with the purchase of a 1947 CJ2a we call “Old Yeller.”  We knew that a body transplant was in our future even back then.
By March of 2003, we had acquired a “parts” machine and here is a quote from back then-
The warm spring sunlight shown unflatteringly on the rusted remains of “Old Yeller’s” rear quarter-panels; there’s some sort of barnacle growing on the hood and nothing but sheer force of habit is holding the passenger side front fender in place: We’ve got body issues! Our friend Dottie, whom no one would confuse with a Jeep person, summed the situation when she asked “what doesn’t need to be replaced?”

Clearly something needed to be done.  But as the story goes, that parts Jeep turned out to be a 3a that would become “Ole Blue” and it has consumed all our time and money for the past 15 plus years.  Meanwhile, other than developing a smoking habit, Yeller has been our faithful working Farm Jeep.  Over a year ago, our friend Craig (finder of Newgren plows) found a great deal on a complete reproduction body kit.  We purchased the kit and immediately placed it in the barn.

This time will be different

Blue was a “down to the frame” restoration.  This time we will concentrate on building a work Jeep, not a road worthy “show” Jeep.  Plans over the next couple of months include removing the motor and the old body.  We will have the engine overhauled while we will prep and paint the body.  Blue had a professional paint job.  As our friend John Ittel says, it will be a 20 foot job – looks great from 20 feet away.

With the body off, we will clean and paint the frame and correct any major issue.  Since we replaced all the brake hardware, we will just do maintenance work.  We do plan to install a new clutch while the engine is out (makes it a simple process).

Hunting gathering

Since acquiring the body kit,  we have collected a new wiring harness. We need to gather all the other bits and pieces needed to install the body (nuts, botls, etc.).  We will make a decision on gauge replacements on a case by case basis.  Some gauges have been replaced over the years.  Others, like the speedometer have been ignored.  

We will also be gathering information on installing the tub.  Blue had a professionally prepared tub, requiring minimal body work.  Based on the experience of others, as described on CJ forums, we will need to learn new metal working skills.

Step 1.  Remove…. 

The picture above shows that the first step has been taken.  We removed the hood, the tailgate and tailgate chains.  While we are confident we can have a working Jeep in a few months, we will take our time and most importantly have some fun.  We hope to share that fun here.  Stay tuned.

Telling the Farm Jeep Story

Since 2002, Evan and I have shared this site for our own pleasure and hope that others enjoy it too.  A series of events has caused me to take a different direction from all play and no work.  I have become more concerned with preserving the Farm Jeep history.  And a recently published article has me asking another question – who should tell these stories?
The December 2018 issue of Farm Collector magazine contains an article titled “The Farm Jeep– Low-cost alternative to the tractor couldn’t cut it on the farm” by Darrel Wrider.  Even before reading the article, I was offended by the title. How could anyone say such negative things about our beloved Farm Jeep?  How could the author have made so many mistakes?  How could the editor allow this to happen?  I lost sleep trying to figure out how to correct this injustice.
I contacted the author at the provided email address, trying my best to appear to be a calm rational being.  I asked him for his Jeep story, the one that had led him to write the article.  He replied that he didn’t really have a Jeep story and in fact had never seen a Farm Jeep.  He just thought it would be a fun article to write and gathered his information from the Web.  He hadn’t found in his searches.
How could this happen?  Don’t we of the Willys community have exclusive rights to these stories?  After more fuming, a letter to the editor and more lost sleep, it finally occurred to me that the answer is simple.  In this day and age there are no such niceties as staying in your own lane.  Mr. Wrider has every right to publish what he wishes for fun or profit and is not beholding to anyone.  The Web is where we get our information, factual or otherwise.  Like it or not, Mr. Wrider beat me to the punch with his story.  I am saddened that the article readers will have a very incomplete introduction to the Farm Jeep.  But the article is also an unbiased assessment based on the data Mr. Wrider had in front of him.
So. who should tell the Farm Jeep stories?  I know for certain that we are blessed with members of the Jeep community who have worked to preserve history.  While researching the four companies that produced the Farm Jeep lifts, certain names kept appearing.  We have authors and publishers.  We have a wealth of knowledge that needs to be preserved and shared.
What is to be done?  My wish for the New Year is that the keepers of the Farm Jeep history will continue to share the told and untold stories through whatever means they have.  In the forums, in articles or on the Web.  We should tell the story and soon.  There is already a segment of the public whose impression of the Farm Jeep is that it was a short-lived failure.   Say it ain’t so….


600+ Tractors and 1 – make that 2 – Farm Jeeps

A small sample of  hundreds of tractors on display

The Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana held their 70th show at the club’s farm site, just south of Rushville., IN.  Farm Jeep was there for three days and for two of those days was the lone Jeep on the grounds.  More on that later.

This was our first year showing at this event and we will be back.  Since the club operates on a working farm (owned by the club) there are demonstrations of all kinds of farm activities from plowing to threshing.  A major feature is the 20-30 operating steam engines, that lead the daily hour-long parade of tractors.  This year’s featured tractor was the Oliver and there were over a hundred tractors representing that brand.  The other 400 or more tractors were spread out among tree-shaded spaces and open fields.

One of the many steam engines parading each day.

The featured steam engine was the Reeves Pulley Company machine made in Farm Jeep’s home town of Columbus, IN.  The steam collection also included a 1921 Stanley Steamer Limo.  This beauty could be seen being driven around the grounds several times a day.  The noon-time blowing of the steam engines’  “dinner whistle” was preceded by a warning to cover the ears of small children.  The show has something for everyone, including a couple of Farm Jeeps.  As recently discussed here, tractor shows attract food vendors and this show was no exception.  There must have been a dozen food offerings.

Ready to tell the Farm Jeep story

The Farm Jeep, as always, drew a large number of visitors.  We were located near the main buildings and, important for us, near the food vendors.  Over the years, we have added informational items to the display that help tell the Farm Jeep story.  We recently started carrying our collection of reproduction dealer “special equipment” books.  These books list the items that had been tested and “Jeep Approved”.  This add-on equipment ranges from hydraulic lifts and implements to industrial welders and air compressors.

During the show, we were able to use the books to help identify equipment for owners.  One visitor was a gentleman who said he had a sickle-bar mower for his Jeep that was supposed to be mounted on the driver’s side.  We were able to show him the ad for the K&K mower and provide him with some additional information.  We hope he will display his Jeep and mower at next year’s show.

We heard many fun stories, including another hay baling tale.  A visitor said his father and uncle had used an International Harvester (IH) baler that was powered by an IH Cub tractor motor and pulled by a Jeep.  While the Jeep is long gone, the baler is still in the family and is operational.  Since he lived nearby the show, we told him it would be great if he could find a Jeep and display the baler, as an example of one of the most common tasks for the Farm Jeep.  It would be fun to add to the number of Farm Jeeps on display.  It has always been a dream to be the featured “tractor” at some future show, but we need numbers.

Speaking of more Farm Jeeps, the second Farm Jeep, a 1948 CJ2a with a PTO was there for a very special reason.  It had been used to transport the owner’s daughter to her wedding a couple of weeks ago.  The new bride and groom wanted to be in the parade.  Another great use for a Farm Jeep.

Happy couple with a “Just Married” sign leave the parade route – notice the food trucks in the background.

More Newgren History, thanks to eWillys

Dave, at posted an early Jeep testimonial letter that included information on the pull-type Newgren plow.  Barry asked if there were other documents available and Dave responded with another article. It was like Christmas in July for Barry.  The following is a discussion of a couple of the ads that were posted.

A point in history 

We posted a brief history of Jeep lifts and part of that story involved the Monroe Auto Equipment Company purchase of the Newgren Equipment Company.  Monroe stopped production of the Newgren hydraulic lift and Newgren became the major producer of implements for the Monroe Hydraulic Lift.  Newgren would later be sold to American Bantam.  The documents in the eWillys article give us a snapshot of the quick transition of Newgren from producers of lifts and related equipment to a provider of equipment for Monroe.

This page from the Willys-Overland Equipment shows both the old and new Newgren. The plow is a model WP-L1 (made by the Wiard Plow Company for Newgren) with the distinctive “short” mast,  The mast is the structure at the top of the plow that is the third “point” of the 3-point lift. Both the Love and Newgren lifts required plows to have a short mast to maintain proper 3-point lift geometry. The design of these two lifts allowed for use of the tailgate and bed at the expense of some equipment performance.  It is interesting to note that the Stratton lift produced in the early 1960s overcame this geometry problem, allowing, once again, for the use of the tailgate and bed space with the lift installed. The Monroe lift placed the lift in the bed and the top link (the point that attaches to the mast) location matched that of the Ford/Ferguson system.  That system would become the standard for 3 point hitches in 1959 when patents expired.
The opening statement “FOR USE WITH THE JEEP EQUIPPED WITH MONROE HYDRAULIC LIFT OR SIMILAR SYSTEMS, OR TRACTORS HAVING 3 POINT HITCH AND HYDRAULIC LINKAGE SYSTEMS” provides some important information.  First the Monroe lift has replaced the Newgren lift at this time, although we know the “similar systems” refers to the Newgren (or Love) lift.  The fact that it will work on “tractors having 3 point hitch(s)” – that would only be Ford and Ferguson tractors – confirms Love, Newgren and Monroe had managed to make lifts that matched the Ford/Ferguson system without violating very strong patents.  No other tractor manufacturer was able to accomplish that until the patents expired.
The line “When ordering, specify the type of Jeep hydraulic lift or name of tractor used on” would seem to imply that the plow could be configured with a “short” or “tall” mast.  Newgren would shortly drop the Wiard made plow, replacing it with models that would continued to be sold until the early 1960s,  For the Newgren plow collector, the fact that you could order the plow with different mast sizes makes plow hunting more interesting.  As Newgren plow historian Clint Dixon says “So if you find an early Newgren with a tall mast, does that mean it is a Wiard that never got modified to make a Newgren, or a Newgren that got re-modified to become a Wiard again?”
Again we see the statement that the scoop is designed for the Monroe lift, but when we see the scoop in action, it is on a Newgren lift.  Perhaps there wasn’t time to get new photographs of the Monroe lift.  All of the ads in this edition of the Equipment Book show equipment attached to Newgren lifts and not the Monroe.  That would change with the next publication of the Equipment Book.
That old control on the dash issue
The eWillys article also included an early ad for the lift plow.  In the body is the statement “A touch of the control knob on the dash lowers the plow into operating position.”   We have written a number of times about the “control on the dash” that appeared in the earliest Newgren ads.
We have never seen pictures of the “dash knob” but believe this early brochure confirms that the control was always between the seat and the idea of a “dash knob” was an error by the marketing staff.   (UPDATE:  This is incorrect.  The very earliest Love designed lifts used a control rod through the firewall to control the lift.  This was changed when Newgren released their version of the lift.   The mystery is finally solved here.)
Thanks to Dave for providing some summer fun.

Show Time

Our 1949 CJ3a w/ Newgren lift and an American Bantam plow

Spring and summer will find Farm Jeep on the road.  We travel to both Jeep shows and antique machinery (a.k.a. tractor) shows in the Midwest.  This “beauty” shot above was taken at this year’s Willys Jeep Rally held at Hueston Woods Lodge in southeastern Ohio.  While we are only half way through the show season, we though it might be fun to share a few of our experiences.

Why is a Jeep better than a tractor?

First, we need to say that we love tractors.  We have tractors on the farm.  In fact. we will tell you that tractors are better at being tractors than Jeeps are at being tractors.  But tractors aren’t good at being other things.  For example, a tractor doesn’t make a good dinning surface.  A flat fender Jeep does.

Here are two examples from a recent show.  Breakfast, of course, is the traditional biscuits and sausage gravy with a steaming cup of coffee.  Eating this dish on your lap is not a good idea.  Just try to find a nice flat surface on your Ford 8N,

Lunch is, again, a traditional Midwestern fare of lemonade and a fried, breaded pork tenderloin.  Notice how both of these dishes fit so nicely on the Jeep.

This display gives us an opportunity to compare tractor and Jeep  shows.  At Jeep shows, you may have one or two food vendors.  At farm shows, it is much more like a county fair.  In fact, many tractor shows are held at fairgrounds, where there are often food stands run by local churches and social organizations in addition to multiple food trucks. Without a doubt tractors are better at attracting food than Jeeps.

But if you are at home and have a hunger attack for an ice cream cone and you own a tractor, you are out of luck.  You can’t just hop on and drive to town.  At tractor shows, you often see tractors being driven around aimlessly.  If the owners are lucky there may be a parade, or better yet, a tractor drive on a real road.  It is sad that these beautiful machines can’t be enjoyed year round.   It is clear that owners want the pleasure of a drive.  We politely tell the owners (and wives and kids) they should get a Jeep.  While tractors may be better at attracting food, they aren’t good at fetching.  And a Jeep can do all those tractor things, like plowing the garden, too.  Simply put, Jeeps are better than tractors.

Making Hay

As we have written here, we want our display to be educational and to tell the Farm Jeep story even if we aren’t around.  The picture below is displayed on the underside of the raised hood and is an attention grabber for sure.

Since we started displaying the picture, we have heard more stories about making hay with the Jeep than any other farm use.  The most common story teller is someone (man and woman), who like the little boy in the passenger seat, rode along with a dad or uncle.

At farm shows, there is also discussion of the baler and its auxiliary engine.  In all cases, there is praise for the little Jeep’s ability to move quickly between fields.  This was especially important for contract balers, who moved equipment from farm to farm.  Time saved is money made.

Questions, Questions and They Already Know the Answer

At Jeep shows, we do hear good stories, but we are often asking as many questions of other Jeepers as we answer.  At tractor shows we are confronted with lots of questions.  Although we have attended some shows for the past several years, there are always a large number of first timers who have never seen a Farm Jeep.

We are compiling a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we hear over and over again, along with answers to less frequently asked questions.  Those include such items as vehicle weight and gear ratios.  From farmers, the number two most popular question is “Can that Jeep really pull that two-bottom plow?”  This one we try to answer with data, primarily from the Nebraska Tractor Test.  The Farm Jeep was rated about the same as a Ford 8N, a comparison readily understood by these farmers.

The number one and most annoying question – “Have you plowed with it?”  It is annoying because we always plan to get the plow in the ground before each show and don’t make it happen.  Then there are the “regular” attendees who will always ask and they already know the answer.  We do try to remain civil.


A 1950 CJ3a Jeep Named Rusty Arrives at Farm Jeep

Here at Farm Jeep, we have been happy with our two “farm jeeps” and haven’t thought of adding to the herd.  We lack the time and space to add more projects.  However, one recent morning Barry, as he often does, was looking at the Jeeps for sale over at  There he saw an ad for a 1950 CJ3a equipped with dual wheels all around, a Monroe lift and other farm options.  Barry fired off a note to Evan, saying “I’m tempted” and Evan immediately responded “I’m in.”  So in a matter of moments we were the proud owner of another 3a.

There is nothing we enjoy more that a JRT – Jeep Retrieval Trip.  So we headed out to Western Kentucky, about a 4 hour drive.  Brad, the seller. turned out to be have his own collection of Jeeps and has a special interest in VEC (very early civilian) models.  The acquisition of his latest VEC had changed his plans for the 3a.  We could have spent the day with Brad and hope to stay in touch.  He had us loaded (doing most of the work) and then took the time to show us his collection of Jeeps, boats and even old bull dozers.

On the trip down, we had time to discuss just what we might do with this Jeep.  Given time and budget limitations we decided that we would do preservation work and leave the Jeep as a survivor.  Barry was quick to resolve the issue of what to call this jeep.  As posted earlier, grandson Robbie has suggested that perhaps a more appropriate name for “Ole Yeller” was Rusty.  Barry had no doubt that Rusty was the name Robbie would pick.

What we know

Rusty came without a firewall data plate, but remarkable, the original State of Maryland title.  It includes both the engine and body numbers, along with the original owners name.  Brad had acquired Rusty from a person who had found it in a Tennessee junk yard.  That person saved it from being scrapped.  While we don’t know the route taken, the original title will help us do some research.

Rusty may have come from the factory with most of his accessories. That would include the Monroe lift, front weight and radiator screen, governor (handle present, but unit missing), and heavy duty springs 

There are other interesting clues we need to follow.

Brad had removed the dual wheels.  Pictured above is a label still attached to one of the rims.  We assume that the dual wheel adapter protected the label.  We don’t know when the dual wheels were added, but guessing that it was at the time of purchase.

And what we don’t know

It appears that some owner added a snow plow setup in the 1960s.  The cables on the dash were used to operate the 12 volt electric lift.  The governor was removed (but not the control handle) and a modern alternator put in its place.  A battery was added for this separate charging system.  We don’t know what happened to the governor.  We have the snow plow motor.

What we don’t know is the purpose/use of the outlets added to rear of the Jeep.

The wiring may give us clues.

Next up?

This has all happened so quickly we don’t have a plan.  For now, we may have to move some farm equipment out of the barn.  Summer shows are coming up and we may not get back to Rusty for some time.  We will post any new information and looking forward to discussing Rusty and his features with the Jeep community.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

It has been a great year here at Farm Jeep.  First came Teddy, the new Lawson Hill Farm  puppy.  Teddy arrived in March and quickly took up his role as official Jeep dog.

In May, the Spring Willys Reunion was held in Farm Jeep’s hometown, Columbus, Indiana.  We gave a presentation on the history of the hydraulic lifts that made the Jeep a fully functioning utility tractor.  May is our favorite time of year in Indiana, filled with bright, sunny, warm days.  But not this year.  Storms battered the show, but it was a still a great time.

Summer time and the living is busy.  We took the Farm Jeep to a number of antique tractor shows across south central Indiana.  These are great events for collecting stories about how Jeeps were used on farms.  We plan to post some of those stories here.  We also returned to the county fair where the Jeep has become a crowd favorite in the antique equipment tent.

The fall edition of The Dispatcher Classic Willy/Jeep Magazine contains an article, the first of a series on the making of the farm jeep.  More articles will be published in the coming year.  We have enjoyed working with the editor and the Jeep community in gathering information for our take on history.

The year ended with the surprise of a Bantam plow finding us, as described in our last post.  What a very fun year.  We definitely look forward to all the discoveries of the next Farm Jeep year.

A Bantam Plow Saved From the Scrap Pile!

This is a story we couldn’t make up.  We received a note from Les from near Waterloo, Ontario who had found our posts about Bantam plows.  He said his father had an old plow with a Bantam tag that hadn’t been used for 10 years and was about to go to the scrap pile.  Les ask if we might know of anyone who would be interested in it.

We jumped on the opportunity.  Four days later, Barry was in Ontario to pick up this beauty.

The plow appears to be complete.  The coulters are frozen, but the landside gauge wheel hardware is there and is free.  It does have on old wire car wheel instead of a Jeep rim. but it adds character.  Not sure how much, if any restoration, we will attempt.
The trip
Evan had to miss this JPRT (Jeep parts retrieval trip).  Barry’s first pre-trip task was to determine what sort of paperwork he would need to bring the plow back to the states.  Some net searching indicated that all that was required for used farm equipment was a bill of sale. It would be a 9 hour trip each way, so he decided to break it into two days.
The trip north was uneventful and the weather quite pleasant for the first of December.  The best part was meeting Les and his father Leroy.  The only downside was Barry was in a rush to get back to the US and couldn’t spend more time talking with them.  Leroy loaded the plow using his backhoe and even strapped it down, while Barry stood by just admiring the beautiful sight.  Leroy supplied a bill of sale and it was all that was needed for getting the plow back home.
Ripley, Believe It or Not

Barry resisted giving Les a hug for sending the note.  These were big guys and he wasn’t sure that was a Canadian thing.   But he did push Leroy for some history.  Leroy said, “Well, it’s from Ripley, believe it or not!”  The plow had been attached to a tractor he had purchased in Ripley, Ontario some 10 years ago.  The seller said if he wanted the tractor, he had to take the plow too.  So the plow was set aside while the tractor underwent a restoration.  The tractor is gone, but the plow remained. 
What we learned 
Les had sent us the model number NDGP-12, which is the same number used by Newgren.  So it is now clear that they did simply change the tag from Newgren to American Bantam, keeping the Newgren model number.  Les also sent the serial number 5005.  While we don’t know what starting number Bantam might have used, it is easy to speculate that they started with 5000 and this was the fifth plow released.
We didn’t learn how it arrived in Ripely, but it does give us hope that more Bantam labeled plows will surface.  We just hope that there are more people like Les out there who will save them from the scrap pile.