Originally published 10/2008
In the fall of 2002 we set out in search of a hydraulic implement lift for our first farm jeep. There had been a jeep with a Monroe Lift in the family, but Barry had become enamored with the Stratton model in use at Farm Jeeps on the CJ3B page. The appeal was the lift mounted underneath the bed leaving both the bed and tailgate intact and available for use. The lift we finally purchased had a similar design to the Stratton was a Newgren. In our search for more information on our Newgren lift (not to mention parts) we learned a little about the company.
The Newgren Company
Our friends Lonnie and Marilyn Deweese are serious Willys enthusiasts and fellow Newgren lift owners told us the following:
“My information was Monroe bought out the Newgren Co in late 1948 and a short time later the Austin Bantam Car Co.in Butler, PA bought it from Monroe, however, the actual factory was located in Toledo, OH. At this time of sale the Newgren Co. basically was an advertising company only. I do have a copy of papers from Wiley Bros and Lewis at the Packard Willys Dealership in West Chester, PA that were still selling Newgren Implements in early 1951, however, they were having a hard time getting equipment and weren’t sure they could fulfill orders.”
Articles from the 1948 New York Times supports Lonnie and Marilyn’s information and also tell us Monroe and Bantam sued one another over Newgren for several years, Bantam went bankrupt, merged, and was sold and then resold. We don’t know how long the resulting company made agricultural implements but Newgren Co’s remnants disappears from records after 1956.
Evan’s notes: So at some point Newgren was owned by Monroe (of Monroe Lift and later Monroe Shock fame). We know the Newgren lifts were no longer produced by the time they were sold off to Bantam. I wonder if Monroe killed off Newgren’s lift production when they bought them (assuming Monroe bought Newgren for their agricultural implement business and not just to kill off a lift competitor)… or maybe Bantam’s Newgren stopped manufacturing lifts as part of the sale agreement with Monroe… or maybe Bantam just found the lifts weren’t profitable..
Speaking of Bantam, if I recall my jeep history correctly, Bantam actually won the Army’s completion for a light four wheel drive combat vehicle in 1940 but were out maneuvered (see cheated, screwed) by Willys and Ford. For all their engineering work that led to the GPW (and then CJ-2a) they were rewarded with.. wait for it… a trailer contract.
Oh what a tangled web we weave.
In the past few years, we have complied more information about Newgren in the form of articles:
Newgren Equipment Company – Part 2
Newgren had always produced implements for their lift. The lift geometry of both the Love and Newgren lifts required a short mast plow. By the time that Monroe purchased the company, Newgren had a complete line of 3-point implements. These implements, especially the line of plows has its own history. We will be publishing more on Newgren implements in the coming months.
For now, check out the story of the Bantam plow.
We continue to research the history of this short lived, but important Farm Jeep company. We have research projects underway on the two founding partners, George Newlin and Robert Green. And we continue to learn bits and pieces about Newgren. Sometimes they appear in the strangest places.