Farm Jeep history covers the Jeep vehicles from the pre-production Agrijeeps until the 1970 CJ5 model change that saw the fuel tank moved to the rear. We will look at the very earliest test of the military jeep, the development by Willys of the first civilian Jeep, the CJ2a, along with the companies that produced the hydraulic lifts and implements that made the Jeep a useful farm tractor.
Our research and writing is ongoing, so this is an incomplete exercise. In some cases, articles and posts will be revised as we learn new things. In other cases, such as magazine articles, we either can’t or have chosen not to make changes or updates. We will list the latest articles first and will identify items that are classified as archived.
We have divide our research into introduction and general interest and by the companies that produced hydraulic lifts for the Jeep. Within these categories, and often across them, we have chronicled the individuals that were the forces behind the companies.
Finally, we will include the works of others to provide a better history of the Farm Jeep. After almost 80 years, there is still a lot to learn.
Introduction and General Interest
For a quick overview we recommend starting with the article below. It served as the basis for the Farm Collector magazine May 2022 cover story.
The majority of our work will be focused on the few companies and individuals that made the Jeep function as a tractor. But we have written some items that provide a broad overview.
Hydraulic Implement Lifts
Hydraulic implement lifts are wThhat truly made the Jeep a viable farm tractor. Without these labor saving devices, we do not believe the Farm Jeep would have survived beyond the 1940s. There were four “Jeep Approved” lifts that would be installed in the factory or by dealers or sold as kits to farmers. To this group we will add other lifts that were offered for the Jeep, but not available from the factory.
In addition to providing information on the lifts, we will chronical the key individuals associated with each company. The are present in order in which they were offered.
Love Hydraulic Lift
In September, 1946, Jabez Love was introduced as the inventor of the first approved lift for the model CJ2a that had been introduced a year early. We have written several articles on this lift, which was quickly modified and sold as the Newgren Lift. But Love would sell his own version of a Jeep lift into the 1950s Love himself will get his own history. Here was a guy making his own brand of tractors and selling them on one side of the building and selling the new Ford 9n tractor on the other side (he thought they were a better tractor.
Newgren Company Lift
Shortly before the introduction of the Love lift, a new company was formed to market an distrubute the lift, in partnership with Willys. George Newlin (the NEW part of the name) and Robert Green (the GREN part of the name) founded the company while both were still employed by Willys. Within months of the introduction, Newgren had modified the lift and were selling it under their own brand. They were also developing a line of implements for the lift. Newlin and Green are also important characters and will have there own histories told.
Monroe Auto Equipment Company Lift
Monroe Auto Equipment Company is probably best known as the maker of shock absorbers and is still in business today. How did they come to build a lift for the Jeep you ask. The answer is an interesting story, much of which is told by our friend and fellow historian Clint Dixon. Monroe produced lifts into the late 1950s. And early on they produced one of the first infomercials to be shown on TV in 1949.
Stratton Equipment Company Lift
The Stratton Lift was the last of the “approved” lifts and it returned to the “under-the-bed” design of the Love and Newgren lifts. Although the “newest” of the lifts, its history had eluded us completely until an email arrived one morning say “You wanted to know who built the Stratton lift and I can tell you. I did.” So begins the amazing story of two brothers who as kids working in the family shop in Cleveland did just that.
Other Companies Selling Lifts and Implements
There were many companies selling hydraulic lifts for the Jeep. Perhaps is was because a couple of these were on the west coast that they used film to advertise their wares. We have done some work and research on the Transport Motor Company, including annotating one of their promotional movies.