My mum died a few years back, we were very close and she was my rock. It devastated me and my world collapsed.
She always spoke about her father working on a ww2 American jeep, so I decided to do a jeep up and name it after my mum, the project would keep me focused and something positive to work towards.
In early 2016 I got a 1943 Willys MB jeep from California. It was a U.S Marine Corps radio car used in the Pacific, after the war it was lucky enough to be brought back to USA and sold off by the government. It stayed the rest of its life on a farm until I got it and it came to the U.K in April 2016.
I wasted no time in stripping it down. Then the painstaking restoration began, it took just over 3 years.
Everything was sandblasted by military vehicle specialists at K-blasting in Paignton Devonshire. They were a great help all through the rebuild!
Every item was blasted, primed and painted. Some parts had to be replaced due to how badly they had rotted. Luckily most of the jeep was in good shape so the project soon moved forward!
First I started on the chassis, axles, wheels and hubs.This was the best option as it allowed me to roll it around while then doing other items and waiting for the body to be done.
Meanwhile the engine was stripped to a bare block, machined and fitted with original new old stock pistons and all new valves, hardened ports to take the modern petrol.
After a few months the engine was built. I then had the gearbox rebuilt by a jeep specialist while I rebuilt the original transfer case. Soon the engine, gearbox and transfer case were completed, assembled and put onto the chassis! Then came the test startup! Everything ran sweet so I then had to wait for the body to come back and start on the electrics.
I decided to convert all electrics to 12 volt as opposed to the wartime 6 volt, this was to ensure brighter lights ease if I wanted jump starting by any other car. I also installed indicators into the wartime blackout lights to make it suitable for road use as they didn`t have indicators in ww2 and also so that it still looked period and not some nasty add on modern indicators!
Now it really started taking shape! After some more items I was down to details like stencils.
I am sick of the amount of 101st and 82nd Airborne jeeps so i decided to go with 2nd Armoured Division 82nd recon.
And most importantly the windshield got my mums name Eileen added!
Soon it was time to register the jeep with the U.K driving and licencing agency.
I got all the documents back and now have a fully road legal ww2 us jeep as my new toy!!
- Gary Kostka