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Posing With Jeeps: Historical Photos


 

People are interesting, so when you see old snapshots of people, you often wonder who they were, what were they thinking, are they still around? In a number of the pictures on this page, all we know is where they were taken, and maybe the year. But it would be nice to find out a little more.

Croatia, 1955

Croatia, 1955What an incredible photo. I was sitting on this one for a while, hoping that I would stumble onto some details that would give it more context. But the picture by itself speaks volumes, not just about boys and Jeeps, but about the incredible pace of the development of technology in the 20th century.

The photo was apparently taken in 1955 in Kajzerica, a neighborhood of Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Milo J. Valencic, who owns a '42 GPW in Florida, passed along the photo from his friend Goran Kelečić in Croatia, who has no further information. I guess the best strategy, one which has worked before, is to post the photo and hope that someone will see it and recognize something.

Details like the bunches of flowers adorning the early CJ-3B make me wonder -- is there a parade? Is the owner picking up his girlfriend? The Jeep is clearly not brand new, but it seems to be a novelty in Kajzerica. Both the horse and rider in the background are looking interested. The group of boys, all the same age, looks like a school class on a field trip.

It's reminiscent of the scene in Colombia, 1965: First Vehicle on the Farm. But it's also simply a beautiful picture, and makes me want to know all the stories hidden in it. I managed to uncover the story of another photo of flowers in a CJ-3B, in Conshohocken Truck "J", but I think in this case we may never know exactly who and why. And maybe it's better that way -- it's part of the fascination of history.
 

Idaho, 1955

Boise, 1955Anybody recognize their parents or grandparents here? I don't know the source of this snapshot, but it was labelled "Boise, Idaho, 1955."

We do have some great stories on CJ3B.info of people like Dr. Medora Krieger and Alan "Tug" Wilson and Harry and Harriette Shank and even Seldom Seem Slim, who explored the west in their Jeeps. Is this another adventuresome family?

And is that a palm tree in the background? Do they grow in Boise?
 

Korea

KoreaEven less information on this one. Taken in Korea. Looks like an M606 Military Police Jeep, post-Korean War. Can anybody identify the rank or unit of this soldier, who I assume is the proud driver?
 

Afghanistan

Afghanistan
Here's another one I haven't pinned down, but it's clearly in a long tradition of photos of Jeeps in wartime. Ever since the early days of World War II, soldiers have posed for photographs in front of Jeeps. This particular picture found by Keith Ross apparently shows Russian soldiers in Afghanistan in the 1980's, but we have no other details. How the 3B ended up there is unknown, but it's not all that surprising, since Jeeps seem to find themselves almost anywhere where the going is tough.
 

Chicago, 1954

Chicago, 1954Here are a few photos we do have more information about.

This is the 1954 Chicago Auto Show: a female model sits behind the wheel of a CJ-3B equipped with a dozer blade on the front and an early Jeep-A-Trench trencher on the rear. Lee Maguire found this photo on the Chicago Auto Show website, and comments, "So in '54 they were still pushing hard on the industrial and farm sales pitch."
 

DarrinMore glamorous cars on display at the 1954 Chicago show included the 1955 Thunderbird, Cadillac La Espada concept car, Studebaker Commander Starliner and Nash Metropolitan convertible.

Also the 1954 Kaiser-Darrin convertible (right), the last new car to carry Henry Kaiser's name, before he decided to concentrate on building Jeeps.
 

Toledo

TrainingThis unique photo is courtesy of the Archives Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It shows U.N. peacekeeping soldiers training in Jeep repair and maintenance, specifically on the Hurricane engine, at the Willys-Overland plant in Toledo in the 1950s.

The image is taken from Reel 6 of the Industry on Parade Film Collection, 1950-1960. Industry on Parade was a documentary television series created by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which included some 500 episodes from 1950-1960.
 

Costa Rica, 1962

Benton Melbourne, 1962And I'm glad this beautiful photograph and the details about it have been preserved. It's courtesy Benton Melbourne on Flickr.

He says, "This photo is of my father, Benton Melbourne, working with the Latin America Mission in Costa Rica in 1962. Doctors and dentists from Clinica Biblica would travel to different parts of Costa Rica offering medical services.

"In the evening, these open-air clinics would become a theater where Christian films would be shown. In the photo, my father is changing a belt on the jeep and connecting it to a generator that would be used to power the film projector."

Cleanest clothes ever, for a person working under the hood of a Willys!
 

Thanks to Milo J. Valencic, Luis Mariano Paz, Lee Maguire, Keith Ross, Bill Munro and Benton Melbourne. -- Derek Redmond


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Last updated 8 September 2012 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
http://cj3b.info/Finds/FindsHistoric.html
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond