Car Spotting: Jeep Gladiator’s Great Great Grandpa

Enjoying retirement in Florida

Florida is a great place to see classic cars since the weather is great. No salt on the roads means that a car can have a very long life. Take for example this Willys Jeep I spotted on a recent trip. As best I can tell, it began life as a pickup or wagon and was later converted to this flatbed. It has some restomoding but otherwise looks original. I couldn’t help but notice the shift knob that looks like it came from an AMC.

They were manufactured in the U.S. from 1946 to 1964, with production in Argentina and Brazil continuing until 1970 and 1977 respectively. They were the first mass-market all-steel station wagons designed and built as passenger vehicles. There were over 300,000 wagons and variants built in the U.S. It was one of Willys’ most successful post-World War II models.

It looks as if this Jeep’s tour of duty might be over as right now it spends the bulk of its time in front of a bar/restaurant on Matlacha Island located about an hour north of Ft. Myers, FL.

This Jeep lives in a northern clime but has never been on the roads during the winters. This 1950 Jeepster I discovered on a recent trip to The Automobile Gallery in Green Bay, WI. This is a fascinating place to visit and it’s run by my former TV boss and fellow car geek Darrel Burnett.

This Jeepster, and hundreds more vehicles, are part of a collection of Wm “Red” Lewis. Like all of the cars he owned, this one looks as if it just came off the assembly line in Toledo. 20,000 were produced from 1948 to 1950 but only 5,845 in its last year. For those looking for an entry into the collector car scene, these are very affordable going for around $20,000 and a blast to drive in the summer. And no, it’s not for sale. I already worked Darrel over on that. Be sure to check out my other car spots. A new one is added on Fridays.

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