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Classic Military Automotive » Blog Archive » The First Step: Do the Research

The First Step: Do the Research

The first step in purchasing a WWII military Jeep is the same as purchasing any classic, or vintage, vehicle - Do the Research! Find as much literature as you can about the vehicle you are considering investing in. Look at all of the aspects of purchasing, restoring, repairing, maintaining, registering, insuring, and owning the vehicle. Become as intimately knowledgeable of the vehicle as possible before you start looking.  This way, you will be ready to look at the vehicles with a more realistic outlook and make an informed decision.

In the case of a WWII military Jeep, the first step should be to buy a reproduced manual. Reproduced manuals are available through Portrayal Press (info@portrayal.com). Order the standard TM 9-803 WW2 Jeep Manual. Read the whole book from front to back. Become familiar with all of the parts and tools involved. This will greatly enhance your knowledge of how the Jeep operates. There are also a lot of pictures and exploded diagrams of the components. This is beneficial when looking at a Jeep for purchase since it will help you make a mental inventory of the parts you are purchasing and the parts you will need to purchase to complete your restoration.

Buy a copy of the All American Wonder, ISBN 0-910667-20-9, by Ray Cowdery.¹ This book is available on Amazon.com, and other similar websites, or can be ordered at a local bookstore. It will give you a better perspective of the whole story of the Jeep, its evolution and the production differences between Ford, Willys-Overland and the first manufacturer, Bantam. Continue to buy as many reference books and manuals and collect as much information as possible.

Find a current owner, or a collector’s club. Inquire about the pros and cons of owning the vehicle. Better yet, test drive one. Remember that during WWII, young, thin and mostly shorter-built GI’s drove these jeeps. You may find it is somewhat uncomfortable to drive one. There are subtle changes that can be made to a seat that will make it more forgiving to drive. Knowing how the vehicle feels and handles will help you determine to what degree of authenticity you would like to own.  Do you need to have the perfectly formed original seat, or would you rather have a modified seat that allows for some extra movement?

After you have done your research, it is time to move on to our next installment: Second Step: Finding the Right Jeep.

¹ Ray Cowdery’s All American Wonder books actually come in three volumes, so be sure to read customer reviews of each book before purchasing one of them.  Although it is more expensive than the others, our recommendation is Volume III, which provides the most comprehensive overview of the history of the WWII military Jeep.

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