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October 2012 Trail's End Editorial

Posted in Features on October 1, 2012
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Last month in Trail’s End we took a look at the bold (and entertaining) advertising used by the automotive manufacturers to sell vehicles in the November 1966 issue of Four Wheeler. But just as interesting in that issue were the ads for accessories like winches. The basic function of a winch hasn’t changed much in 46 years with the end result being a powered drum fitted with cable; however, the way winches were powered was different back then. This was due in part to the features of many of the vehicles at the time, which offered power take-off (PTO) capability. Following are three fascinating winch ads from the November 1966 issue of Four Wheeler. We want to know: Are any of you using one of these circa-’60s winches? If so, send an email to the address above and tell us about it.

This awesome ad leads off with a photo of a Jeep CJ-5 and outdoorsmen sporting rifles and fishing gear. “Wherever 4-wheelers gather there’s man-sized fun in swapping yarns of high adventure! Quite often the story’s hero is the Ramsey Winch,” the ad begins. Not much has changed apparently. The Four Wheeler staff still swaps high adventure “yarns” (some of them are even true) that often end up with our rigs on the end of a winch cable. Anyway, the ad goes on to talk about the features of the winch, which included 8,000 pounds of pull, full power in reverse, and self-locking worm-and-gear. Ramsey also offered complete, preassembled front-mount winch kits for a number of vehicles of the era. During this time period Ramsey was a “leading manufacturer of hydraulic and electric, worm and planetary gear winches.” Ramsey is still based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as they were then.

King winches were manufactured by Koenig Iron Works, Inc. Koenig also made steel cabs for Jeeps. The ad notes that Koenig had “more than 30 years of engineering know-how” in 1966, so they had been around a while. All of the King winches in this ad were 8,000-pound-capacity PTO-driven units and the ad says that “each of these winches comes in a complete kit with every part furnished.” King offered winches for Jeep Universals with either the Hurricane four-cylinder or Dauntless six-cylinder engines and also four-wheel-drive Wagoneers and Gladiators equipped with the Hi-Torque six-cylinder or Vigilante eight-cylinder engine. (Why doesn’t Jeep give their engines cool names like this anymore?) According to the ad, the winch used on the Jeep Universals had three forward speeds and one reverse speed available through the transmission.

This ad touted the complete Rhino kit for the then-new Ford Bronco. These kits were apparently popular in 1966 and this one was manufactured by the Norco Sales Company in Gardena, California. The PTO-driven winch had a rating of 8,000 pounds and it included 150 feet of 5⁄16-inch steel cable with hook and a roller fairlead. The kit also included a driveshaft with U-joints to connect it to the PTO. Not mentioned, but apparently included, was a winch mount that fit between the front bumper and the Bronco frame. We imagine that owners of the new Bronco, the “toughest 4-wheeler ever,” were drooling all over this all-inclusive kit.

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