40 Years Ago
What Were We Doing This Month . . . in 1968?
The year 1968 came to a close at Four Wheeler with a full array of test, tech and travel in a colossus 68-page issue. Among the rigs we took out for shakedown runs was the Wolverine, a mini-8x8 that was designed a fella who also worked on the legendary M-151 "Mutt." The Wolverine ran an industrial-app Ford V-4, Ford four-speed synchromesh, and eight wheel chains and sprockets that turned an octet of Goodyear Super Terra Grips. Payload was 800 pounds, and the little 8x8 carried 12 gallons of fuel. Climbing ability was 75 percent at 3 mph and "slopes in excess of 40 percent can be negotiated." You could also get a bunch of options for it, such as sand tires and/or a PTO if you liked. We liked the little beast, which, we noted, was the result of exploring "the many design concepts of locomotive force and mobility theorums." Proving then, as now, the value of a good copy editor.
The big news, however, was our expose on the "Elusive Surplus Jeep", in which our intrepid correspondent went in search of a surplus Willys for the advertised bargain price of "$47 and up". Naturally, he didn't get his ride for 50 bills---instead, he attended a closed-bid auction and picked up an M38-A1 for $377. Not too shabby, eh? Except that the Jeep was missing a "front axle, wheels and tires, radiator and canvas top" and with "parts damaged including hood and fenders bent (and) holes rusted in body." Adding up all the repairs and replacements, and throwing in a 12-volt conversion as well, our staffer estimated the total bill for rehabbing the Willys at around a grand---not a bad deal, and one with the added bonus of the "real satisfaction out of building the vehicle yourself" that prospective buyers could look forward to. But even back then, we wee able to prove that there ain't no such critter as a 50-buck Jeep.
(click the photos to read the story from 1968)