U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

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U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by GP1942 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:36 pm

I have see this in LIFE Magazine, :D
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very beautiful scrap yard
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Last edited by GP1942 on Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)

Post by cblynch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:45 pm

Randy Withrow in Huntsville, Alabama owns that EXACT GP.......... mayor of Lucas, Kansas......... and Roy Van Wicklin was great friends with the LADY driving that GP until she passed away a few years ago.......... and Randy Withrow owns ALL the ORIGINAL photos from that Life Magazine article...........small world, huh?
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by GP1942 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:48 am

:D
UPDATE: A reader named Lindsay was kind enough to provide an update to this story:

Lindsay writes, “An interesting note about the article with the mayor that purchased the GP in 1944. That vehicle was tracked down by Ken Hake years ago and restored several years later. The 3 smaller photo’s at the bottom bottom right is a photo of Bergs Jeep parts in Chicago note the first one is a Bantam BRC 40 the one in the front of that is a very early “round nose” BRC of which only one still exists and belongs to the Smithsonian. This proves that round nose BRC’s were released and sold to the public. I sure would like to find one of those in a barn.”

I got a new book yesterday. Within a couple pages of reading I learned something new: the military started selling jeeps to civilians in 1944. By all accounts, Mayor Heine, of Lucas Kansas, and his family were the very first purchasers of a Military jeep for civilian use. After some diligent research, I manage to track down the original Life Article and the related images from the January 4, 1944, issue of Life Magazine (page 24 & 27). I bet they wished the jeep came with a top and a heater!
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by acmack » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:05 am

Here's another shot of Berg's yard and my guess on the various models:
The Berg photos have been posted and discussed before in this forum. I can't seem to find the thread.

Image
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by John W. Rymark » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:02 am

I was a 1950's kid, Dad a WWII Vet (9th AAF) in England, then a "remote field" in France, then back closer to Paris. He loved the jeep as most GIs. As I grew up, 1948 CJs were at a lot of gas stations to puch snow and go out on service calls for cars that wouldn't start. I wanted a miliary jeep so bad. Even in the 50s & 60s a military MB or GPW was the prize. The first four wheels of my own was a very beat gas station CJ. I personally never saw a military jeep for sale in the 50s or 60s. However, military parts abound, and cheap. You could take a ride down town to Bergs, get them mail order through Bergs Kind of the Jeeps, the special Sears catalogue (yes, even cosmolined military parts like carbs etc.), and Warshawski (store & mail order) also down town. Bergs was a multi-story brick building like an apartment building. I believe Berg got those jeeps and plenty of parts at government sales at Fort McCoy, WI. Parts in bins, scattered on the floor right up to the roof rafters. That court yard, vacant lot, between the two buildings always had carcasses. By the late 60's the yard had some Hotchkis fenders, bodies, etc. The most unusual think I ever saw was at the Warshawskis. Yes, I personally, actually saw jeeps in crates piled many high between a couple of their buildings. They were totally for parting out, and they did. I joined the Navy in late 1970 and after an overseas duty station, I was assigned to the Propulsion Engineering School staff at Great Lakes, IL. It was about 1982/83 I found and began restoring a MB slat grill (#122888). Unfortunately by this tme Bergs was dying a slow death. The Berg, of Bergs King of the Jeeps had passed on. Berg's brother in law was wrapping up sales in that you were lucky when he decided to go in on a Saturday. Even with a phone call in advance, he might or might not show. When the building was to be torn down, I think it was about 1984, there was pretty hecktic selling off of everything to clear the building. Guys talked of finding bantam drive shafts and all sorts of stuff. It's really something to see those pictures again. Bergs King of the Jeeps, what a piece of history.
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by Brad Gates » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:08 am

DAVE,

If you have a copy of this photo, bring it along to Hershey please. I'll bring a video showing the Heine jeep in use on the farm.

BRAD

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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by acmack » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:16 pm

Brad, I only have this photo from the web so feel free to print it out a copy on your printer and take it along.
Somewhere this photo was posted by another G member and I added my color "guesses". So if you want and uncluttered photo search through the GP section from about a year ago. The person who posted it might the original magazine from which you could get a much better print.

Didn't Berg have any indoor facilities instead of having to leave these Jeeps scattered in this muddy alleyway/scrapyard?
At the time these Jeeps were considered a real treasure to get a hold of. That's why this posed photo was published and then to leave them out in the weather and mud seems surprising. David
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by John W. Rymark » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:11 am

For what its worth, don't want to bore you. Berg had only the space between the two tall buildings you see and the three/four story brick building you see to the left. A junk yard. The neighborhood on the South/East side of Chicago was and remained a very run down area. The low income projects began only a few blocks away. It was always a good idea not to linger on the street and to keep your eyes open for anyone who might approach. The good stuff, the parts were stacked inside, floor to ceiling in very dimly lite rooms, barely enough room to walk and you had to keep stepping over bigger parts like drive shafts and transmissions, etc.

As you can see, those prestandardized treasures had to be assembled out of the carcasses of the jeeps he bought at government bid. Probably at Fort McCoy, WI. Those auctions at Fort McCoy were the likely source of the many GPs found throughout the Wisconsin countryside. It is little wonder why those rare Bantams aren't to be found. They were work trucks, destined for farm use, gas station plow vehicles, air port tow and plow vehicles, and other hard work. Berg got most of them running from salvage, on a wing and a prayer. After a lot more hard work and abuse they became scrap. Off to a junk yard less friendly than Bergs, to metal salvage. The slat grill MB I found on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin and brought back had once been painted all black. Ohare Airport Chicago, formerly Orchard Field (hence luggage tags ORD for Orchard) at one time had black painted jeeps. Yes, I know even in WWII flight field jeeps were most often yellow, but they had them none the less. My slat grill MB 122888 had a MA engine block. I often wondered if that MB was bought at auction by Berg, made runable through engine exchange, and sold to the local airport or one of the airlines as a work vehicle.

The premium standardized jeeps that went for $600 - $750 or so each came later, came at wars close. Those were often complete, in reasonable condition, just in excess.
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by macaddict23 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:26 am

GP1942 wrote::D
UPDATE: A reader named Lindsay was kind enough to provide an update to this story:

Lindsay writes, “An interesting note about the article with the mayor that purchased the GP in 1944. That vehicle was tracked down by Ken Hake years ago and restored several years later. The 3 smaller photo’s at the bottom bottom right is a photo of Bergs Jeep parts in Chicago note the first one is a Bantam BRC 40 the one in the front of that is a very early “round nose” BRC of which only one still exists and belongs to the Smithsonian. This proves that round nose BRC’s were released and sold to the public. I sure would like to find one of those in a barn.”

I got a new book yesterday. Within a couple pages of reading I learned something new: the military started selling jeeps to civilians in 1944. By all accounts, Mayor Heine, of Lucas Kansas, and his family were the very first purchasers of a Military jeep for civilian use. After some diligent research, I manage to track down the original Life Article and the related images from the January 4, 1944, issue of Life Magazine (page 24 & 27). I bet they wished the jeep came with a top and a heater!
bergs_auto.jpg

A reader? What reader? Lindsay? Who's that? Please tell me I'm wrong, but it looks like you "stole" this article from http://www.ewillys.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and posted it here as your own.

http://www.ewillys.com/?p=45555" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by Larry Smith » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:19 am

Well, I guess it's my turn to chime in with the facts as I remember them... Back in the 70's when I was a recent GPW owner, I got interested in the history of the jeep. At that time I was going through the Life mags of WW2 in the periodical library at the U. of MN looking for jeep articles and found the Fred Heine article. I immediately wondered if the Heine family still had the GP and was planning to drive down there to see. Ken Krause of Leawood, Kansas had the same idea at the time, and was a heck of a lot closer! He contacted Mrs. Heine (Fred had passed away) who said they still had the jeep. She said one of the kids had driven the jeep and "tipped it over". Worrying about the potential for injury, she had grounded the GP and stashed it in a shed on the farm where it remained. Ken bought it from her in Jan. 1974, and also got the set of Life 8 x 18 prints from the article. At one of the early MVCC meetings in Kansas City, Ken hosted a barbeque at his house, and we all got to see GP 9911, W2018773. It was red and was virtually complete! It had the engine from GP 9319. Ken kindly loaned me the set of Life prints for me to copy in my darkroom, and also the top bow brackets and chains to photograph. Somewhere in my archives, I have a bunch of photos I took of it in 1974. By the way, Berg bought it out of Fort Knox, KY.....

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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by John W. Rymark » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:54 am

Larry, thanks for the inside story about the first or at least among the first civilian jeeps to the public. I've kept a copy of the magazine with this article that I found in some antique store and once every so many years I stumble across it. You just can't beat the Americana those photos portray. What a wonderful story.
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Re: U.S. civilians buy their first jeeps(GP)after war

Post by pierino » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:52 am

Larry Smith wrote:... Ken kindly loaned me the set of Life prints for me to copy in my darkroom, and also the top bow brackets and chains to photograph. Somewhere in my archives, I have a bunch of photos I took of it in 1974. By the way, Berg bought it out of Fort Knox, KY.....


Hi Larry, ...if not too much trouble, and when you have time, wouldn't you mind to go looking for those pictures in your files? ...I'd love to see them, and maybe having the chance to scan them... :)

thank you!

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