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Willys Jeep Reunion

by Ray Alexander on

The 22nd annual Spring Midwest Willys Jeep Reunion & Swap Meet focused on Public Service Jeeps, or, as Jeep referred to them, “The World’s Most Useful Vehicles.” The public service Jeeps were used by the police, fire department, hospitals (as ambulances), public utilities, and related groups.

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From its origins as a military vehicle, the Jeep could take the punishment of public service. Traversing tough terrain and disastrous weather, Jeeps have historically been pressed into service by outfits like the U.S. Postal Service and Forestry Service. Willys Jeep Reunion event coordinator Bill Norris said, “They made vehicles that were used for street cleaning, road striping, fire trucks and even paddy wagons for police departments.” Jeeps excelled in emergency situations.

Mr. Norris said that Willys was able to quickly pivot from wartime Jeeps to fill the demand for custom public service vehicles. “They would practically build a customized vehicle for just about anyone that would ask them to. Some of the more unusual models included baggage conveyor Jeeps that were used for loading luggage on airplanes; they also made the stairways for passengers to get on planes.”

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DJ-5s were held in high esteem by the U.S. Postal Service and were built from 1967 through 1984. The DJ-5-A model was the first postal Jeep to be equipped with automatic transmission so it was easier for postal workers to drive. “The DJ-5 is arguably the most widely recognized postal vehicle ever built,” said Mr. Norris.

Among the vendors at the the Hudson, Ohio gathering in mid-May was 4 Wheel Parts.

David Beran is a copywriter at 4 Wheel Parts.


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