Posts Tagged ‘military’

Welcome to Classic Military Automotive

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Classic Military Automotive specializes in the sales, restoration and maintenance of 1941 to 1954 military jeeps and light weight trucks. We are located in the Sonoma County Wine Country of the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  Our customer base is primarily in California though we have sold vehicles to customers all over the USA and abroad.  We have a wide range of experience from complete frame-off restorations to regular maintenance services.

If you have any questions, or other needs, please don’t hesitate to email us at or call (707) 542-4353.

Here are a few links to some favorite pages on the old site:

The First Step: Do the Research

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

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 ( 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, 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.

Introduction to the Military Jeep Buyer’s Guide

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The Military Jeep Buyer’s Guide is Classic Military Automotive’s suggestions on things to consider when looking to purchase a WWII military Jeep. The focus is primarily about WWII military Jeeps; however, it really applies to purchasing any classic, or vintage, vehicle.

A buddy of mine once asked: “Do you have more money than time or more time than money?”. The real questions should be: How skilled are you at restoration or repair?” and “How badly do you have to have it?!”.

Some say that the word Jeep stands for Just Empty Every Pocket. Throughout my life, the original Jeep has always been appealing because of it’s ruggedness and compact design. Veterans that drove them were amazed by it’s capabilities, both on and off road. That feeling still holds true with many owners that drive them today.

Unfortunately, almost all of the Jeeps that you find, regardless of price range, are in need of some degree of restoration or repair. In the “old days,” one could find a running Jeep in somewhat descent shape for an affordable price; however, today, with the latest surge of activity in the collector car market and the “baby boomers” becoming closer to retirement, the WW2 jeep has escalated in value.

Thankfully, for to those who have carried on the love of this vehicle, some collectors have gone to great lengths to expand the industry. These vendors have made new old stock (NOS) and reproduction parts more obtainable for almost anyone - though these parts are not necessarily less expensive. Almost all of the parts are available now, right down to the frame. Some of the original parts like the transmission and transfer case housings, as well as the motor blocks, are not as easily obtained, and need to be found before you can say the vehicle is completely reproduced.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Military Jeep Buyer’s Guide entitled: The First Step: Do the Research.

Second Step: Finding the Right Jeep

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Searching for the right jeep can be quite a lengthy process, but armed with all of your research, and newly acquired knowledge, you should start by looking in your own back yard! Start with the classified ads section of your local newspaper. Call your local off-road clubs or supply outfits and ask if they know of jeeps for sale. Over half a million jeeps were produced during the war, so you never know what may be lurking near you.

Within the United States, the few states that massed surplus in depots are typically where the greatest concentration of jeeps ended up in the private civilian sector. For instance, in California (where we are located), the San Francisco Bay area was a huge production, supply, and shipping center during WWII. After the war, a great deal of military surplus ended up in both the rural and suburban areas around the state. Pennsylvania and Virginia were known to have large military depots as well. Many military bases around the US, in highly populated areas, have had more of these vehicles liquidated in surplus sales. They are now in the hands of private collectors.

The Military Vehicles Magazine is another good place to look for vehicles in your area. This magazine is circulated worldwide, and has a classified section towards the back of each issue. Once you obtain a copy of this magazine, look to see where the next military swap meet is being held and go to one. Many collectors sell their military vehicles at these events as well as other unique hardware for the jeep.

Another good source is to find the nearest WWII reenactment group, or club, closest to you. These groups often use vintage military equipment in their events. Sometimes they have vehicles for sale or know of someone who might be thinking of selling.

Of course, you can always refer to the Vehicles for Sale area on our site, or refer to our Military Vehicle Resources area on our homepage for other notable classic military resources.

In our next installment, we will be discussing everyone’s favorite topic - pricing! Stay tuned for: Step Three: Making Your Purchase Decision