Saturday, April 8, 2017

Dogged, rugged, loyal donkey

I've been walking Brooklyn neighborhoods scouting for potential places to move and have encountered some cool vehicles on the way. This rough and tumble beast was roosting on an overpass above the BQE at the edge of Bay Ridge recently:
This is a half destroyed wreck that continues earning its keep after decades of abuse and neglect! More specifically this is a 1962 Willys Jeep Truck in President Red (how presumptuous and sadly true at the moment). 
Here is its face which has probably been covered up since the '80s. This has a current inspection sticker in the windshield which really pushes the envelope as there are no turn signals at all! I've gotten an inspection sticker with broken reverse lights and a horn that didn't work but you could always claim they just went out if you were pulled over. When there isn't even a signal housing present it shows faith in the local cops.
These hardy beasts grew out of the standard Willys-Jeep CJ in 1947 to widen the market in the post war vehicle shortage. They sold well to returning G.I.s and the general public alike. In the late '40s Jeep as a company was regarded fondly as another U.S. soldier who helped win the war. Luckily the durability matched the patriotic enthusiasm.
This truck is so basic it might as well have been built in the 1920s. The body consists of stamped steel bolted to a sturdy frame. Along with this pickup body it could've been ordered as a station wagon, flatbed, or just a cab on the frame ready for you to complete however you want.
Somebody has been painted black rust proofing wherever it emerges. There has also been a replacement piece of metal welded onto the rocker panel below the door. Random moments of Bondo are also visible in some precursor to restoration.
Rugged durability was what they were selling with this vehicle and its existence in Brooklyn after 55 years is proof that it has fulfilled its promise.
Everything you need to know about this ride is in the above pic. The gas cap is duct taped on to a fuel filler neck sporting brown tape of its own. The taillight is a cobbled together mess with two hand-twisted pieces of soldering wire replacing the lens as protection for the naked bulb. The tires are in great condition but everything else is well worn.
This side of the bed is collapsing in the front due to a fatal amount of rot. Seriously - take a look at the line of the bed where it meets the cab compared to the cab accent lines! Some might ask what's the point? Our intrepid owner has more immediate fish to fry such as the missing passenger side window.
Not entirely missing actually as a piece of plexiglass is resting across some of the opening. I peeked around the protected baggie to snap a quick interior shot. It looks like this was originally painted Foam Green which was an awesome aqua/teal color. The three gearshifts you see are the transmission, the transfer case to engage 4WD, and the rear end for High and Low.
Well that's where I'm leaving this hardy little trooper who seems perfectly content to be a plow donkey. These are as much utility appliance as vehicle; meant to work hard for a living and ask little in return. There is an identical truck to this parked in front of the famous Sunny's Bar in red Hook. Stay tuned for that at some point in the future!

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