Classic Jeeps that Work - Backward GlancesPosted in Features on December 20, 2013 Comment (0)
If you’ve even touched on Jeep history, you will remember that Willys-Overland didn’t have a recreational life in mind for the post-World War II Civilian Jeep. The company had other Willys vehicles intended for that. Recreational four-wheeling did not then exist as we know it, and the “swords-into-plowshares” adaptation of the wartime ¼-ton was all about getting a job of work done.
When CJ-2A production started in July of 1945, a plethora of go-to-work options debuted with it, both from the factory and aftermarket. Through the remainder of the ’40s and most of the ’50s, a wide variety of attachments, implements or conversions were available for the current and past model CJs. They peaked in the early- and mid-’50s and tapered off in the ’60s, largely disappearing by the ’70s. To detail them would require most of the magazine and some are beyond bizarre.
Many of the implements used taxed the vehicle structure to the extent that it was pretty well used up in just a few years, so these commercial “tools” were recycled and survivors are few. Later, the trend became for companies to buy more robust, purpose-built tools that performed better and the era of the all-purpose Jeep faded away. Those collectors with an interest in work/farm Jeeps are few, but growing, and more often we get to see this other side of Jeep.
Recently, at the annual ’13 Willys Jeep Rally, one of two separate vintage Jeep events held in Ohio, the working Jeeps were celebrated. John Ittel is a southwestern Ohio farmer with a fetish for working Jeeps, among many other interesting things. He has a collection of various years and models with a big assortment of mostly farm-related attachments. During the Rally, which took place at Heuston Woods, Ohio, Ittel invited participants to his farm in nearby College Corners to see them at work. For the younger visitors, it was a never-before-seen event, and with the scarcity of working Jeeps, it may well be a once-in-a-lifetime event for many. Maybe for you, too.
The Willys Jeep Rally