1959 Jeep Gala Rental Plan


CoverIn marketing the unique DJ-3A Jeep Surrey to overseas customers, particularly as a rental vehicle for tourist resorts, Willys used the name "Jeep Gala". Here's an unusual 1959 bit of Jeep literature found by Bruce Agan, which must rank as one of the most deluxe and colorful pieces of advertising ever put together by Willys: an 11x17-inch booklet titled "Jeep Gala Rental Plan Guide: A New Dimension to the Rental Car Industry"

KeyhcainKaiser-Willys was clearly putting a lot of effort into promoting the concept of this vehicle as a tourist attraction, possibly because retired owner Henry Kaiser was taking a personal interest in the project (see the origins of the Surrey Gala on CJ3B.info.)

Emil Bruce sent this photo of a keychain, which shows a Jeep Gala in a white and red color scheme similar to ones seen in the booklet. The artist who did the illustrations obviously didn't know what the final color schemes (120K JPEG) were going to be.

According to the booklet, "Colorful plastic key chains featuring an illustration of the 'Jeep' Gala as well as the firm name of your rental company and phone number will be given free of charge to all rental operators ordering the 'Jeep' Gala."

ColorsThe booklet does include actual vinyl fabric samples in a pocket inside the back cover, showing the now-famous Tropical Rose/Coral Mist two-tone, and the rarer Cerulean Blue/Glacier White, and Fountain Green/Glacier White combinations. The card on which the samples are stapled mentions that "Gala vinyl has a high resistance to burning, is fade proof and possesses excellent durability for long life."

Booklet page 3The booklet opens with a listing of several resorts already offering Jeep rentals:

"Las Brisas Hotel in Acapulco, Mexico" (where photos show the fleet of halfcab Dispatchers, 100K JPEG).

"Virgin Islands: the 'Jeep' Gala has proven itself readily rentable and economical to operate.

"Hawaii: sixty Galas are in operation in the four major Hawaiian Islands at a flat rate of $8.00 per day with no mileage charge."

Booklet page 4Page 4 of the booklet begins a list of "Product Advantages of the 'Jeep' Gala in Rental Operation," which includes:

"The initial cost of the 'Jeep' Gala is far less than that of any other American built vehicle now available in the rental field.

"Being as washable on the inside as it is outside makes the 'Jeep' Gala easy to maintain. A minimum of effort keeps the 'Jeep' Gala clean, smart appearing and rentable.

"The ultimate profit in car rental is determined only when the rental unit is sold. The uncommonly high resale value of all 'Jeep' vehicles is another major reason that makes the 'Jeep' Gala an outstanding money-maker for rental operation."

Booklet page 6Page 6 begins a spread explaining that "When you offer 'Jeep' Galas you receive important promotion support." This support included:

"Travel sections of newspapers will receive specially prepared publicity stories from Willys Overland Export Corporation.

"You will find in the pocket of this folder a suggested publicity release which can be individualized for your market. Also enclosed is an 8" x 10" glossy print of the 'Jeep' Gala suitable for newspaper publicity.

SpecsThe colorful booklet ends with "Specifications (*Subject to change without notice)" including:

"Shipping weight... 1819 lbs.

"Turning Dia. (180 degrees)... 34ft. 9.5 in.

"Tires... 6.40 x 15 -- 4 ply.

"Chrome hand rail assists.

"Sun visor -- driver's side.

"Windshield wiper -- 1 vacuum, 1 hand operated."

Gala girlsThis is the 8x10-inch glossy that Willys figured newspapers would be eager to print. Obviously the photographer was busy looking at the ladies, and didn't think about details like getting the hubcap logos right side up. The models were identified as Jan Kalmbach and Ladonna Shanke in a Toledo Blade article (100K JPEG) on 16 September 1959.

A Willys promotional postcard (120K JPEG) apparently from the same photo shoot reveals that this is the Tropical Rose version of the Gala, and that the pictures were taken at the Toledo Municipal Airport (seen also in Jeeps for Aircraft Ground Support.)

See also an authentic holiday snapshot of a more typical lady on vacation enjoying a Surrey with no paint on the hood lettering (70K JPEG).

True to its promise in the booklet, Willys did send out some news releases promoting the Gala and Surrey. A 28 September 1959 typewritten release from Marden R. Bishop, Public Relations Department, Willys Motors, reads:

"Vacationists at many resort areas this winter will find a 'surrey with fringe on top' at their disposal for transportation in and around their vacation retreats.

"A new version of the old-time carriage -- with horsepower under the hood instead of in front -- is being introduced to the hotel and resort industry by Willys Motors, Inc., as a 'fun car' for low-cost rental to vacationists.

"The vehicle is the 'Jeep' Surrey, replete with fringe and the nostalgic flavor of the original horse-drawn model. The fringed top, seats and Continental tire mount are of colorful vinyl coated fabrics with 'candy stripes' of pink, green or blue to match solid body colors.

"A distinctive Surrey feature is a pair of leather straps which angle downward from the top corners of the windshield to the front fenders, an ornamental touch borrowed from early touring car models."

"The four-passenger, 60-h.p. vehicle is close kin to the 'Jeep' Gala, export model first placed in service at the famed Las Brisas Hilton at Acapulco, Mexico. Others are in service at resorts in Hawaii and the Caribbean area."

See also Las Brisas: Birthplace of the Jeep Gala, and Win a Surrey Jeep from Kellogg's on CJ3B.info.

Thanks to Bruce Agan for scanning the package. -- Derek Redmond

See more DJ-3A Surrey Gala Jeeps on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 10 December 2011 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond