Wendy's   U.S.M.C.

Willys MB Restoration Pages

Before around.....Mid 2003 



In the March 2003 issue of the Auto Shopper is where I found my 1942 Willys MB. It was located 14 miles away from my home in Santa Cruz in the small agricultural town of Watsonville California. I’ll never forget the first moment I saw my little jeep. It was muddy, rusty, and greasy and I LOVED it!
The guy I bought it from didn’t know what kind of mechanical condition it was in. So home it came leaking oil and guck all the way.
I drove it around for some time not knowing what was going to fall off, explode, crack, or spill.
After some time a friend told me about the
G503 website and decided to see what I had here with my jeep. Darn, I was nervous! I had absolutely no mechanical experience! What I had done is watched a lot of Oprah and she alway
s says to step out of your box and try something new. So I did! With sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat I logged on and started to ask questions. If you all could only see my blushing cheeks!
What I found on the “G” was the greatest group of guys. Everyone helped me. They helped me to understand the true value of my jeep and what needed to be done to it. It needed a restoration.
That was the next challenge. I needed to find a place to restore my jeep. I had no room at home. To make a long story short, a friend of mine offered his barn to me and that’s when it all began.

I had spent some time gathering original parts. I had purchase
d many parts from a guy who had a CJ thinking they could go on my jeep. Whoops, I learned they wouldn’t work. I had everything from the CJ except the frame and tub. Then a good stroke of luck happened. I met a guy who restored CJ’s and needed my parts. He happened to have a lot of the original parts I needed for my jeep. We traded straight across. With that deal I got four original combat rims, four non-directional tires, a T84 transmission, and other things. It was a very fortunate swap considering I had only paid $100.00 for the CJ parts!
In December of 2004 I started my jeeps restoration. I had my jeep towed to my friend Bob’s
home. I had loaded up all of my parts and brought them up there too.
We started to strip the jeep.
OH MY GOSH! That jeep at first looked, from the outside, like a pretty woman with a ton of make-up on! All of the wrong make-up too! Caked on so thick it was scary! As we stripped that jeep of parts and paint she looked like a crusty, rusty HAG in need of a REAL makeover!
I have to admit, I was shocked!
We continued on! I had told Bob that I wanted to do everything I could on my own with his guidance. I learned to remove parts, strip the engine, scrape grease, chemically remove grease, hand sand (what an exhausting endeavour!), and use an orbital sander, sandblast and spray primer with a spray gun. This was all a “first” for me! I had never spent so many hours, days, and months on anything (except surfing). And I had never spent so many hours, days, and months covered in so much filth
! My skin and hair was covered in grime everyday! Dust, dirt, grease and rust were all over everything! But I have to tell you, I love every minute of time spent working on my jeep. Some days I was so tired I could have cried, some days I did, just a little. The restoration was a much bigger project than I ever could have imagined. Bob gave me some good advice, he said, “Don’t ever think of the entire project. Just think of the next small step you have to do.” That became my mantra and still is.


Tub removed from frame



Removing the extra "skin" over the original body



Things you find!

After Bob removed the skin from the tub we removed the STP stickers. They came off easily with a razor blade and will be put in my jeeps scrapbook. I then sanded and scraped away paint very lightly to see if there were any numbers. I was surprised to find a red and white-chequered pattern under the OD. This chequered pattern was also found on the dash. I checked the inside of the tub and found it had been painted fire engine red. My jeep had been used as a "follow-me" jeep at one time. I found more OD paint below the red and white. Then I discovered a darker shade of green below the OD. The outside of the tub had been sandblasted and repainted with the tan camouflage, except for the preserved part under the skin. The stickers and the follow-me pattern were a very exciting discovery.



Some Welding


Removing the Engine from the frame.


Sanding, it's not as easy as it looks. 


After hand sanding some of my jeep parts and most of the tub I was really looking forward to attempting to sandblast the rest. I had never tried it before. I thought it would be a fast and easy way to go. I found out, the only easy way to go would be to hire someone else to do the work! Sandblasting took a lot of time too. And sand went EVERYWHERE! I was shocked to see how far the sand went in every direction! It was a joy to sit in a chair and just spray away the rust and paint compared to the hours of hand sanding on my feet bending in strange positions. I spent 6 hours hand sanding my hood alone! I was really happy with how the parts looked after blasting them. I even found an “F” on one bumperette, which is always a nice find.

It was such a good day when the modern bumper was removed from my jeep. I had become very eager to see all of the modern modifications slowly get taken off and have the original body parts exposed. I was concerned about the original frame horns being damaged while the incorrect metal was being cut away; luckily the bumper came off fairly easily and there was no damage done. But there is more to this story. I really wanted to find as many original parts for my jeep as possible to replace all of the incorrect parts. I had started to ask around about finding an original bumper. Most of the answers I got were that original bumpers were impossible to find. I just hate being told that! I just get all fired up when someone tells me I can’t or won’t be able to find or do something. So I left it up to the one power I knew could find one, I prayed to God! And I kept up my end of the deal and just knew I’d find one. After sometime I was offered one, but the deal fell through. I was disappointed but didn’t loose hope. Not too long after that deal fell through, I was up at Mikes Military with Matt doing some jeep shopping (my favorite shopping spree!) I was looking for an original hood. I asked Mike if he had an original bumper. He walked over to a shelf, way up high, and pulled this very bent piece of metal down. It was an original bumper! I was so excited, I felt really lucky! He and Matt kindly straightened it out for me with a machine that does that and I headed home that evening with the original bumper. It needed a little welding and then it was ready to go.


Having spent a fair amount of time recently on the Slat Grill jeep it was about time I did some work on the MB. Here's the latest.... September 2007.





"The Peacock", a  December 1941 Slat grill I just purchased so I have something to drive while doing the Marine Corp MB......so cool!


While waiting to get some decent working area for the MB I decided to fiddle with "The Peacock", tidy it up in a few places. Like the front and Rear ends.

Rear of the Slat..... Bubba's Work and all that angle iron.


Here's the pintle hook.....Looks better already. I'm saving the eye bolts for the MB above.


Some bolts and Nuts I cleaned up  as I got unusually lucky today and went to the car parts store to pick up the stuff you guys suggested, this one I go to all the time. I told a new guy working what was up with the bolts. He said to bring them in and he'd sand blast them. They had never told me they had one there????
It took him only a few minutes which was GREAT! Saved a ton of time.
Here they are

I also decided that the front "Bubba Bumper" wasn't to my liking, so it just had to go. Aren't Dremels wonderful toys?




Updated 7th Dec 2008 

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