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After receiving an eMail from Vern about the Willys Wagon that has been in his family for three generations and over four decades, I thought I should add a webpage about Willys stories to my website. Willys vehicles just seem to bring out the nostalgia in some of us...

 

3rd Generation Willys

Hello Dave,

I found your web-page recently on a nostalgic inter-net adventure.  I really enjoyed the photos and text.  Here's my Willys Wagon story:

Imagine a blizzard...

A hard working fellow (my Dad) must get his expectant wife to the hospital (1960) as she is about to deliver.  There is a mid-February snow storm blowing in, but not to fear, he fires up is '54 Willys 4WD wagon, purchased at a government auction - formerly a US Forest Service vehicle - and makes into town, no sweat, in time for his first son to be born.

Imagine a 15 year old farm boy...

Just got his license...Dad tells the boy he can have the ol' Willys out behind the barn - IF - he can fix it up to the ol' man's standards. (The ol' man is now driving a '68 Jeep Wagoneer, having retired the Willys)  The boy (me) spends the winter of 1975 rebuilding the F4-134 in the barn, new rings, honed the cylinders and valves by hand, plus relined brakes, new hydraulic lines, painted her with a borrowed air compressor and DeVillbis rig - re-wired the wagon with aircraft grade wire purchased through an army surplus catalog.  The ol' man signs over the pink slip to the boy who drives her with pride until he joins the Army, where he spends two years in the infantry (502nd Regiment / 101st Airborne - M60 Machine-gunner)  then goes to flight school and becomes a helicopter pilot.  Later he leaves the Army - flies choppers in the Gulf oil patch - hauls mid-night air freight, and eventually lands a job with Delta Airlines.  

Imagine a funeral...

The family gathers to mark the passing of the patriarch, an old man of 85 years, "tough as a pine knot," who died not of old age, but in a car crash (1976 Jeep Hondo) on New Year's Eve 2000.  Out behind the barn is an old Willys Wagon.  One of the ol' man's grandsons asks his uncle (me) if he can have the wagon... since I'm the legal owner...

Imagine, an old pilot surfing the internet...finds Dave's web-page...

Dave, the wagon's out in Minnesota.  My nephew has restored her yet again.  (I don't like the small block Chevy he put in her - I rebuilt that 134 so she'd be good for another half century, but what can you tell a kid...)

Thanks for the memories.

--- Vern 

 



If you would like to contribute a nostalgic Willys story, you can eMail me. Please include pictures if available.

 

 

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