See also Part 1 and Part 2.
At lunchtime on Saturday it was still sunny, and we got all the high hoods together for some group photos. From left: Derek Redmond and Rus Curtis, plus the owners of the six Jeeps -- Dave Streithorst, Bob Westerman, Emmett Lodge, Joe Beadenkopf, Bob Christy and William Barrow.
Details on all the Jeeps are in Part 1 and Part 2.
Gerald Oswald and his son (right) joined us for this shot. There were more 3B owners at the show whom we did not manage to round up, including Ian Fraser, John King, Bob Miksch and probably others, and we're hoping that next year some of them will bring their Jeeps.
Here's a shot that really portrays the power of the new, larger 1953 Universal Jeep with its Hurricane engine. It was Willys' first step in the process of enlarging the Jeep, which has pretty much continued to this day.
Jeff Petrowich brought over his drone to shoot some video of the high hoods: see Rock You Like a Hurricane (15MB QuickTime movie).
Lunch for lots of us was from the "Roll Call" truck -- great selection of gourmet burgers.
Under the big tent, Merlin Hanson and Joe Beadenkopf had started to assemble the Go Devil engine which would be raffled off at the banquet that night.
They took an early lunch because they had discovered there was no cam bearing. Bob Christy and his crew tried the local parts places, before finding one "at Keith Buckley's house, mixed in with some furnace parts he had in a box in his basement."
Just about anything else you might want for a Jeep was available on site. Vendors included Bill Meacock, who brought a huge load of parts in his trailer on a trailer (270K JPEG).
Bill was pleased with the day, and he said an event like this where everybody is focused on Willys, is much better for him than big shows like the annual collector car shows in his home town of Carlisle PA.
Some of the weird parts were attached to Jeeps. Chris Haag had this front-end loader on his 1947 CJ-2A -- apparently a tractor loader modified with new uprights and a rear bumper brace to fit a Jeep.
This system was probably homemade, or from a small manufacturer, with the hydraulic pump powered by the fan belt; I didn't see Chris to get the details. The front bumper extension for the bucket is a good idea.
By 1:30 Joe and Merlin were making real progress, and the crank went in.
Around 4:30 it finally started to rain, and nobody was left in the parking lot except for the group huddled under the tent to watch the engine build.
By this point it was starting to look like a complete engine.
Merlin was wearing a GoPro camera, as well as a microphone, because Jonah Hodgkins was capturing the whole process on video for the Throwing Wrenches video series.
Jeff and Bob went out to the tent a couple of times to call the crew inside for the banquet, and by 6:00 everybody was in the hotel dining room.
After dinner there was the usual lengthy series of ticket draws for the raffles and door prizes.
Bob and Mindy looked around for the winner of the Willys neon clock, donated by Midwest Willys.
Rus Curtis was a winner -- not the clock, but a hat. (And I was happy to win the draw for a Metal Rescue rust remover kit.)
Tom Fitch of Colorado, not present at the Reunion, won the draw for the L134 engine, and reportedly will be putting it in his CJ-3A. Meanwhile, Joe and Merlin were presented with "Toledo brick" awards for their work on building the engine.
Then it was time for Dave Eilers' presentation on the Alaska or Rust expedition in the summer of 2017. He started with a summary of the 1955 Operation Pineapple trip from Brazil to Alaska by Hugo Vidal and two other Boy Scouts. That story had been part of the inspiration for Alaska or Rust, and Hugo Vidal was able to join the 2017 group.
A number of the other Alaska or Rust participants were in attendance, and the whole crowd enjoyed Dave's recounting of the ambitious and sometimes humorous adventure.
Hugo Vidal himself had hoped to be coming from Brazil for the Reunion, but due to a broken arm suffered by his wife Nancy, he was unable to make the trip. He sent this photo of himself and Nancy posing with Hugo's re-creation of the Operation Pineapple Jeep
Late Saturday night a hardy group was back in the tent to put the finishing touches on the L-head, and around midnight I heard a cheer which may have signalled completion.
Sunday morning the rain had stopped, and Tom Jones of Ohio had made sure his seats would be dry when he was ready to leave.
Bob had already loaded his 3B on the trailer when I got up.
Keith and Scott were packing up the tent, and the engine looked like it was ready to drop into a vehicle.
The workbench used for the engine build went onto Bob's trailer. It was almost as heavy as the engine, so I hope Bob had some help getting it unloaded at the other end.
There's always somebody who wins a bunch of the raffle draws, and this year it was Ian Fraser from Nova Scotia. He had also purchased a number of items (that's a spare tire carrier for his TJ) and now he was trying to figure out what he was going to do with them before he had to drop off his rental car at the airport.
See you next year, Ian!
Roseanna and I headed back to Canada, via Watkins Glen NY, where we enjoyed a hike through the beautiful gorge.
Thanks to Bob Christy and Jeff Petrowich and the rest of the Reunion volunteers. And thanks to all the high hood owners who turned out for the show. -- Derek Redmond
Return to to Part 1 or Part 2 or the Rock You Like a Hurricane video (15MB QuickTime movie).
See photos from previous Spring Willys Reunions.
See also the story of Operation Pineapple on CJ3B.info.
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