The Start

The Start

I have wanted a Willys for more than 30 years since I sat in one in England when I was just a teenager. I settled then for a Rolls Royce powered Austin Champ, England's answer to the Jeep before they invented the Land Rover. It was as fast in reverse as it was in forward. Scary as hell but just not a Willys.

I had a few other 4x4s since then, and in 1997 bought a TJ that has been built to be a reasonable off road machine. But as comfortable and efficient it may be, it still just isn't a Willys.

Every off road event attended, every magazine read , it's the same thing, looking for Flatfenders.

Then one day driving around Bombay, India looking for trouble to get into, there it was, yet another MB sitting by the road, still working hard and usually surrounded by modern Maharindi CJs. Just had to drive it. The owner wouldn't sell it not that I would buy it - It would have never fit in a suit case. It had a Mercedes Diesel motor. Quite innovative. 

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Indian_MB_02


But that was it, I could take no more. I looked at every Flatfender advertisement that ever existed. I spent more hours on the internet that I should really admit. There are hundreds of Flatties for sale with every engine combo you could imagine. I came very close to one in California, should have bought it but dicked around for too long. 

The decision was made to buy a base vehicle or vehicles and start collecting parts. Hence the first purchase , the 56 Willys. There were no great Flatties like Ned Bacon's Killer Bee, Terry Howe's Flattie or Soni Honniger's M38/MB for sale. I had to build one if I was to get what I wanted.

Now you may wonder just why would anyone want an old, uncomfortable flatfender when you already have a TJ. Well, want is what it's all about. There is no logic, no rhyme, no reason. You do what you do because it's fun. Gives enjoyment and keeps me out of the bars and off the streets

Anyone who knows me knows I am as inept with tools as a drunken sailor that has just fallen off a three legged equally drunk two humped camel. Fortunately there is a wealth of information in print and on-line available plus there are some mighty fine Jeep mechanics in the Two Rivers Jeep Club.

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Basically a pile of junk but good axles, good tires and a clear title

  

This is the start of my wanna be Willys Rock Buggie. Not much, but it was the start.

©  McNeill/Jeepingoffroad 2016