Friday, May 20, 2016

It's time to honor a veteran who's making it in the private sector

Out near the Home Depot on DeKalb Ave in Brooklyn I stumbled upon the most capable off-road vehicle I'm likely to see in the city (with the exception of that armored Military vehicle from May 12th), Behold!
This is a 1961 Willys Jeep CJ5 in Redwood Poly with the optional metal hardtop.  
Usually when a vehicle is relegated to snow plowing duties its life as a registered car on the streets is over. This one has all the gear to hook up a plow and start working but here it is showing off a current inspection sticker at age 55.
Meyer is still producing lifts and other snow plow equipment today.
Just about everybody knows that the Jeep was invented out of necessity for the military. In late 1939 or early 1940 it was becoming obvious that  the U.S. was going to be involved in the war. The Military contacted 135 different companies asking for a working 4 wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle. 2 companies answered, one of which was Willys-Overland.
With the exception of the headlights being larger and closer together and the formerly flat fenders having a bit of a curve this vehicle is just about identical to the Army version. 
If you can imagine this ride without any of the white hardtop and doors you can see how small and basic this thing is. With the windshield folded down the entire height is somewhere around 4 feet!
In between the windshield wipers there is a small clip. The windshield frame is hinged on the lower corners, allowing it to be secured flat against the hood. That clip will attach to the small ring protruding from the hood. I believe the larger tie down in front is for a strap that would further secure the windshield as you achieve the top speed of around 63mph!
Who says the passenger need their own door handle?
There is an indentation on the red body line below the rear quarter window that looks like a holster could fit in it. That is where you would attach a side mounted spare tire if you were so inclined.
Rust is obviously working its dastardly magic on the body.
The design of the top is function over form all the way; basically a metal box. However, in winter I'm sure it would save your life over a canvas top no matter how wimpy the heater is.
Taillights that double as turn signals is all you get; those orange spheres are just add-on reflectors. No reverse lights for this bad boy!
This stylized Willys stamp is just as it would've been on the 1945 model.
This beast has worked for living for sure. Not only does it have a plow, but the back has a trailer hitch + two ferocious hooks. If you have a farm or property at all this can do just about anything you want it to.
The original transmission is a 3 speed manual meant for torque and strength more than speed. All Jeeps were 4 wheel drive with a high and low setting. In first gear with the transfer case in Low you can basically pull a stump out of the ground. You could also get out and let it drive along a field and it won't outrun you as max speed in that setting is somewhere around 6mph!
I guess no cop has the heart to write a ticket for this thing being parked 3 feet from the curb! The front wheels are chocked so who knows how good the e-brake is.
This is a pretty small ride so it's not the worst city car parking-wise.
Look how basic the interior is! the dashboard looks like Fountain Green might be the original color, though that red is a perfect looking match for the factory Redwood. The steering wheel size should answer your question about power steering. That tiny center is indeed a horn button, just don't go slamming it in anger. The turn signal is a complete unit bolted to the steering column much the way the wiper motors (not shown) are attached to the windshield frame.
The one gauge in the center has the speedometer, water temp, and fuel level. The three gearshifts represent the trans, and one each for High or Low.
With the level of rot I don't know if I'd chance using that little step, but it's a charming touch.
Big shout-out to the player focused enough to tag Jeep rims!
This is old technology folks; if you want 4 wheel drive you leave it in neutral, get out and turn each of the front hubs to lock them, get back in and engage the transfer case, then drive. What, are you in a hurry?
I'll conclude with this close up. Cracked glass, rumpled metal roof that's pulling away from the windshield frame, and tiny T-Rex-arm wipers askew and looking altogether insufficient. Owning a Jeep like this mean all comforts are out the window. You buy this because you want a reliable and versatile appliance as opposed to a cruiser. While I've never owned a Jeep I did have a Scout when I lived in snowy Western Mass, and it was unstoppable in any weather.
Keep up the good work Willys! 

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