Mighty Mo and Friends

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By the way, Just in case you were wondering, the correct pronunciation is Will-is not Will-eze.

Will-eze is the language spoken by Will-is enthusiasts

Click here for Willys sound bytes

That is a good question. Why would anyone want to work on 50+ year old vehicles? Well I guess it may have to do with the fact that I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio U.S.A. You know, "The Home of the World Famous Jeep." Maybe it was the fact that my father worked at Willys Overland Motors during the 40s and early 50s. Then again, it may be the cuteness of the little CJs. They really are go anywhere vehicles.

The little vehicles are universal vehicles. They have been used to win wars, plow fields, dig ditches, bore holes in the ground, run combines and saw mills. They plow snow and carry people where they want to go and when they want to do it. The top comes off and the windshield folds down. A happy Jeeper may have bugs in his teeth. There is nothing like tooling down a country road on a summer afternoon with the WD40 air-conditioning on. (Windshield Down 40 mph).

So to answer the question ... It's a Jeep Thing - Read on, you may understand.

I got my first Jeep in about 1973. My dad had a Willys station wagon in the early 50s but he went to work for Ford in 1955 and from then on we had Fords. Anyway, back to the Jeep story. I traded a 6-cylinder van for a 4-cylinder Jeep. I thought the 4-banger would be better on gas, boy was I surprised. The van got 16 -17 mpg and the Jeep got 12-14. Not to be concerned though, the Jeep had a snowplow and I thought I would just plow snow in my spare time and I will make lots of money. The first snow, I went out, made $100 and spent $150 having the snowplow welded. Well to make a very long story short, that Jeep was a 1965 CJ5A, Tuxedo Park and it hooked me on the Jeep Thing.

The second Jeep was my first Willys. It was a 1951 CJ3A with a L134, flathead, and a snowplow of course. This was to be a spare vehicle in case the CJ5 broke, I would just pick up the CJ3A and continue plowing and fix the CJ5 later. Actually, this kind of worked ok for a couple of years. Then, in 1975, I found off-road rodeos and now I can play with my little Jeep. I first used the CJ5 for playing, but soon found out that I wanted to play too hard and was in fear of breaking my main transportation. Soooooo... I took the hard top off the CJ3A, added a roll bar and a tow bar. Now I could play as hard as I like. If it broke, which it did frequently, I could just tow it home and fix it. With the roll bar, I could only compete in the sand drags. These were 100 yards and a lot of fun. However, I wanted to race in the obstacle course and that required a full roll cage. I investigated ways of converting the roll bar to a full roll cage and was about to do so when I found a 1948 CJ2A with a full roll cage already in it. Ok Jeep #3 is now in the picture.

I bought the '48 CJ2A. It was fairly complete, but the engine, transmission, transfer case and some body parts were inside the body. The body was only sitting on the frame also. This Jeep had been raced and *only* needed to be put back together. Well, the hard top went back on the '51 CJ3A that fall and I started work on the '48 CJ2A. This entailed stripping the body down to bare and covering the holes with sheet metal (called a body wrap.) Funds were limited so the metal came from junk washing machines and dryers I found on unlimited trash pickup day. A couple coats of Rustolem on the frame, drive axles and underbody did the trick. I splurged and used automotive paint for the exterior. If I was going to be competitive, I needed a strong engine. So I tore the engine down and took it to the machine shop. 0.030" oversize pistons, a crank regrind and a valve job later, I put it back together. Fresh paint and the engine installed, it sounded and ran great! I named the Jeep Mighty MO.

The following summer, Mighty MO reigned supreme in the Stock Flat Four, SF4, class. Life was great! When we went to the races we would go on trail rides in the evening and the companionship with other 4-wheeler people was wonderful. The racing success and playing with 'MO continued until 1980 when I stopped racing. I moved and had other problems, which included no place to work on a race vehicle. However 'MO was a member of the family and he went where I went.

Fast forward to 1997. Now Mighty MO was showing signs of being stored outside for the last 17 years. He needed attention again. Well, off with the body and to the sand blaster we go. The previously installed body wrap was rusted through, so off came the wrap and on with another. What the heck, it worked for almost 25 years why not again. He sat for another almost 3 years completely disassembled and in primer. Then in the spring of 1999, I started working on him again. The Mighty MO project page shows progress up to its current status.

Next, I decided I needed a parts-Jeep. I found another 1948 CJ2A in Nashville and bought it from some email pics. When it followed me home, I realized this was in too good of condition to be a parts vehicle. Welcome to the family Willys #2 and I named him Willy. Now to find a parts vehicle.

The parts vehicle was advertised to be a '46 CJ2A. Upon closer inspection, the frame tag identifies it as another 1948 CJ2A. The body shows no signs of the tool indents found on a 46 so he also is a 48 CJ2A. He's painted blue, so I named Willys #3 Ole Blue.

The saga continues, I recently acquired a 1962 Willys Wagon, a 196? Wagoneer and a Bantam BT3-C 1/4 ton utility trailer. I am going to restore, refurbish or rebuild the BT3-C. I would like to find a FC150, Forward Control, but there is only so much storage space available in the barn. Thanks for listening to my story.

I hope I have able to help you ...... Understand.

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Copyright Richard N. Meagley Sr.
Last revised: May 25, 2007.