The Ford GPW
( or how I got involved in OD Fever)
In 1999 the opportunity came up to purchase a completely gutted 1944 Ford GPW jeep, the basic parts were there, tub, frame (chassis), engine, hood (bonnet), battered up seats ( F marked) and other small parts, but, what attracted me to this pile of pieces was that all numbers matched, engine, frame, GPW 195611, tub and hood , with a Composite body number of 17781, Hood Number USA 20531384, this was found after carefully sanding back six layers of old paint, during which time I also found parts of the Australian Army Number ( White), and another partial set painted in Yellow (Possibly US Marines), as there were no Stars found anywhere on the tub or hood, ( Marines and the Australian Army never used them) although the frame didn't have the usual rams horns that US Marine jeeps were famous for being fitted. Having all matching numbers is a real big deal when it comes to Ford jeeps, unlike the Willys MB models where the frame and engine do not have matching numbers, except for the first batches ( Willys engines were used extensively to power other machinery so as the War progressed, the numbers grew further and further apart.) Jim Kilbourn has written articles about this and you can see that at http://www.g503.com/articles/ well worth reading , however I do suggest you have a notebook and calculator handy.
Tom Wolboldt confirmed the date of GPW 195611 as having the engine assembled on the 4th April 1944, and the vehicle accepted several days later on or around the 10th April. There were no data plates attached to the glove box of the GPW when I found it. GPW 195611 Registration Number 20531384 is a Dallas Plant built jeep, again, this information is thanks to Tom.
As I had done previously with the Cj, I intended to make the panels and small bits and pieces that were not available as NOS ( New Old Stock) and having looked at what was available in the Philippine made panels, (absolute rubbish) then it struck me that I'd have to go through the process of doing all those drawings again. Having thought about that for awhile I realized that just maybe others might find them useful. This was later to cause me many sleepless nights.
When I started on the GPW I knew absolutely nothing about this old War Horse, other than we had one on the farm at Kingaroy back in the 50's, along with "Twin Spinner" and "Single Spinner" Fords, and old cars dumped around the paddocks, even my Aunt had a heap of old cars at her farm about 15 miles away, including a complete 1927 Ford which was kept in an old barn until the day it was traded in the 80's for a Semi load of stock feed when the country went into drought, calculating it out, each bale of feed was worth around $20 each, four times the going price.... the things farmers are forced to do sometimes to keep a farm going can bring a tear to the eye. I was bitterly disappointed when I found out a few weeks later.
When I did the Cj I wasn't connected to "the Net", but as I needed advise, parts, and any help that was available, I surfed the web for months, looking for the "Holy Grail on Jeeps", and I found it http://www.g503.com and Ron Fitzpatrick. Ron owns, and operates G503 at his own expense, always has the best interests of restorers at heart and always quick with a joke. I personally wouldn't buy from anyone else if Ron has the part I need, even if that meant added expense, it was money well spent, luckily for me Ron has always been the cheapest, items ordered are always sent well packed. The day will come when I get even with his "Special" surprises, put in Australian terms, "A Top Bloke".
Another good site here in Australia is The World War Two Jeep http://phaedra.apana.org.au/ww2jeep.html and Steve Malikoff the only problem is, sometimes it's off the net for extended periods, so if you click on the link and the page doesn't load, he may be experiencing problems.
Up-Date December 2005
The site Steve put so much time into no longer exists at that location. Since moving up to Brisbane from Sydney Steve told me he may try and get the old pages up and working again when time permits.
The best thing about this "OD fever" as it's commonly termed, is the many friends you can make from all over the world. When I started to do these drawings, a fanatical jeeper from Norway, Frank Berg had asked about the rear jeep carrier, a "bustle" similar to those used in the European theatre during the days of WW2. Having done the drawing, we continued to email each other on a regular basis, which continues to this day, Frank is one of the best mates I've never actually met, and is my partner in JeepDraw. Frank and I eventually met up in Tower Park, California several years later.
Frank is my source for most of the photos, measurements, and inspiration I need for accuracy and authenticity of many GPW parts. Frank has several jeeps, MB's and GPW's, sometimes, they come and go, sometimes they stay for awhile.. His favourites are "Shirl" and "Alice"...but the one I liked the most was a beat up old thing called "Ugly", it had it all, rust, old paint, and above all, character!, I was very disappointed the day Frank let "Old Ugly" go. Check the Vikings Pages at http://www.jeepfabrikken.no/
Another jeep perfectionist would have to be Alasdair Brass in New Zealand, a man for whom I have the utmost respect when it comes to jeeps...apart from his other qualities, like always having a cold beer handy when one is needed. Al owns a 1942 Ford GPW, pristine in every respect, and it's no "Trailer Queen", I've travelled many miles over hills, frosty mountain tops, down through creeks, off road almost to the extreme with him and his jeep, and within days of the trip there's not a scratch, speck of dust, or oil drop to be found anywhere in or under his machine. See Al's '42 Ford here in the "The GPW in Detail".
Another good mate is Mike Ramsey in South Australia, he's my "Ideas Man", and tester of drawings, without him, life would be so much harder, Mike is always there when it comes to sorting out what a drawing needs to make sense to a user, and goes out of his way to help, collectively we're know to each other as the Southern Cross Jeepologists Society. A name coined by Mike as a bit of fun, and after all, if you can't have fun doing this hobby, change hobbies.
If you recall, I said that the drawings had caused me many sleepless nights, this began after I sent Steve Malikoff some drawings to be put up on his site, Steve went to all the trouble of adding Parts listings, the html, and thumbnails, but I was having a few problems sending large emails to his address, and as back then, I needed to redraw most of the drawings, the drawings were downloadable off Steve's site, which meant that wrong drawings could go out until a change was made. This was making life hard, both for Steve and myself. I happened to mention this to a good mate of mine, ex Australian Navy tech. nerd Bryen Faithfull who suggested it might be easier if the drawings were hosted locally, in that way changes and updates could be done almost immediately, he also suggested that if people requested the drawings, the downloads off his server would be kept to a minimum and I could then make sure the "correct" drawing went out.
All went well on Bryans domain, http://maryboroughqld.com/ until he took in new partners, and the rules changed, no more free web space, and as I wasn't making any money from the drawings, it was a case of close it down or change servers. This is where I found out how great some people can be, I was inundated with offers of assistance, sponsorship and outright donations of money to pay for the Server fees. I felt it would be going against the spirit of free drawings available to the ordinary restorer if I accepted money because that was never the intent. Then Ron Fitzpatrick stepped in, offering free space, and the ability of easy access to the major WW2 jeep site on the Web, so I jumped at the chance after having consulted Frank about the move. It's proving to be beneficial to all of us.
It was always my intent that the drawings were to go out Free Of Charge, but, unfortunately, there are those out there who get greedy, and have no idea what's involved in sending these things out, so I had many "demanding" I send them all the drawings, so to put a stop to that I put US$1.00 ( a nominal fee ) on each drawing, this still didn't stop some, so it went to US$2.00 each, and that seems to have sorted the problem out. There are times when I send some drawings FOC, depending on the circumstances.
I have strict rules about copyright, if anyone has a problem with that, it's just too bad. Ask what happened when someone in France tried that, I guarantee he's still having nightmares. According to International Copyright law, the fine alone is AU$50,000.00 plus damages, so add another $50,000.00 , do you still think it's not worth my time to chase you down and sue your arse off? Just don't do it, because I will find out thanks to the many friends I have around the world.
The down side of all this is that I need the body, frame, and other parts separate so measurements can be taken as it's almost impossible to do once everything is back together, the other alternative is to get another jeep, but somehow I don't think SWMBO ( She How Must Be Obeyed) will see the funny side of that, and I'm not prepared to risk the relationship on trying to change her mind.
Aussie jeeps in New Guinea in 1943