Friday morning, EARLY FRIDAY morning, I was on the road again with a town near Greensboro, NC plugged into my GPS. It was 4:20am. If I did this right, I would be home within 12 hours. When I left town, it was obviously dark and a bit of misty rain was falling. My mom was a brave soul and reluctantly rode shotgun for the trip. Her promise was to sit quietly in the back and fall asleep. She did neither. The ride was relatively uneventful until the NC border approached and the misty rain turned into bonafide raindrops which then quickly morphed into a hardcore storm and lots of hydroplaning transpired. Without a doubt, I became a bit concerned and stressed. I had passed the halfway point and I was determined to come home with a jeep. I think the epicenter of the storm was in Greensboro. Lucky me.
My original intention was to bring home the most dilapidated jeep. The second most dilapidated jeep sat beneath a lean-to, so for the luxury of remaining somewhat dry during the loading period, I opted for it. We pushed the jeep to the rear portion of the barn so I could back the trailer beneath the roof. Let me clarify here that "we" is not my mother and me, but instead the previous owner of said dilapidated jeeps who was more than happy to lend a hand in order to see these gorgeous rustbuckets taken away. The money I put in his pocket helped, too.
Loaded, strapped and secured and on the way home- all completed in about 45 minutes. We detoured in Ashboro, NC for a quick antique shopping spree and then headed for home. I pulled into the driveway at 4:40pm and had it unloaded a short time later. At this point, I would like to give my wife some serious props. I had one flat tire on the jeep...the rubber looked like it could have been original and it had about a 12" rip-more like a blowout- across the sidewall. She recommended inflating it for ease of pushing it off the trailer. I noted to her the massive sidewall rupture, BUT, to appease her, I reluctantly went to the garage for the air compressor. I pumped it up...it seemed to be holding air.
|The massive tire rip with the tube still holding air!|
We easily rolled it off the trailer. It rolled almost too well, stopping a mere foot in front of the M37. Do not fret, David. Sarah, in heels and all, chased the runaway down, grabbing the tub and slowing its roll. My mom thought that Sarah was stuck to the jeep, hence the running. I watched the entire scene unfold from my perch atop of the trailer. And, when I went to clean out the jeep this morning...the tire was still holding air. Can't beat those 1944 American-made rubber tubes.
|Pre clean out. Reminds me of a junk yard mating with a compost pile.|
|Possible rat nest...only 1 of 3.|
|The heart of the beast...not looking so good. One might recommend a heart transplant.|
The Clean Out
I spent Saturday morning cleaning out the dirt, leaves and other assorted junk that somehow accumulated inside the tub for who knows how many years. The highlights of the unexpected treasures are three different rat nests, 2 eaten ears of corn, tons of nails, and two sprinkler heads. The real goodies were buried beneath that other stuff: the parking brake handle, two glove box locks, lots of "good, orginal" bolts, a few bonding straps, a matchbook confirming its civilian life at a Myrtle Beach resort and an extra transfer case. While I was rooting through the compost pile within the jeep, my neighbor came over to see what was going on. He was shocked and completely amazed at the joy on my face. And then he stood in total disbelief when he learned that I paid somebody for this...stuff. One man's junk...
|A good look at all of the "treasures" buried beneath the compost!|
I gave it a good cleaning and boxed up the extra parts. A good cleaning at this point is sweeping up the dirt and leaves so I could see what I was working with. I haven't affixed a date on this jeep yet. I have determined that the engine is from 1945, but that may or may not be original to the jeep. The engine has had the pistons bored out once already. The jeep has a "rotary" style knob for turning lights on, and those were factory installed after June of 1944. I might dig around tomorrow to locate the tub's serial number and that should nail down a month and year for me since the frame tag and glove box serial numbers are gone. The underside of the jeep has a professional-looking rubber coating that has covered up the tub's serial number. The coating has not gone over the original wire harness. This does not look like the work of Bubba. I've heard that sometimes the Marines did this to their vehicles. Perhaps the few and the proud did this?
|Suspect view: PROFILE|
|Suspect view: FRONT. Note the two black eyes, but it appears to be grinning. Must be some life left in 'im...somewhere.|
|Suspect view: REAR. Could be a good candidate for some "rusteez" from the movie Cars.|
Jeep #1 Progress
After everyone went to nap today, I drifted to the garage to do some more cutting and welding on the first jeep's tub. I went to town on the rest of the small areas that are along the floor and walls by the rear panel. Nothing new, just the same old, same old. The last two pieces were my favorite since I had to do a couple of small side bends on them and they ended up fitting next to each other; one was the floor and the other was the adjoining wall.
|Passenger side, rear corner of the floor.|
|Floor corner set in next to the already welded in side piece.|
|The Maestro and his magic wand. Only burnt my feet once or twice with the sparks. |
Thats what I get for wandering into the garage without a pre-empted strike in mind.