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Thread: Doing some research on a 1963 wagoneer for a book

  1. #11
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    The '63 had a Motorola AM radio. In '63, there was 2-50 A/C. Two windows down, while going 50 mph. Fancy brands like Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler had A/C systems, but we're pretty expensive for the time period.

    Included is a photo of our Heeps.
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    Last edited by gmwillys; 09-01-2019 at 07:53 PM.

  2. #12
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    Photo! ^_^ I love the Heeps! Love the 2-50 AC. That's definitely good to know for the story. In the summertime, I'll be sure to have the teenage daughter gripe about it being hot. AM radio, huh? These days that's all news, but I would imagine they played music on it then? I have always loved classic cars in all of their forms. It's a piece of history. The muscle cars are pretty, but it's the beat up old trucks, etc that really capture my imagination. There's a story under that rust. How long have you had your Heeps?

  3. #13
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    The 2A on the right was purchased from a prepped around '84, and the wagon was purchased at a farm auction around '88.

    Summer time is tough, but the winter time is fun as well. The heater does good to keep the passenger's toes in the 2A. The wagon is a bit better with vents going up to blow on the windshield. With that much interior area to warm, it doesn't. The wagoneers were much better insulated, and the heater is much better.

    AM radio was wall to wall music all the way up to the early nineties. Then the talk shows took over.
    Last edited by gmwillys; 09-02-2019 at 07:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmwillys View Post
    The 2A on the right was purchased from a prepped around '84, and the wagon was purchased at a farm auction around '88.

    Summer time is tough, but the winter time is fun as well. The heater does good to keep the passenger's toes in the 2A. The wagon is a bit better with vents going up to blow on the windshield. With that much interior area to warm, it doesn't. The wagoneers were much better insulated, and the heater is much better.

    AM radio was wall to wall music all the way up to the early nineties. Then the talk shows took over.
    Wow, so you have had them a long time. I hope they know how lucky they are

    Ugh, I don't even want to think about winter! Not only is it uncomfortable for us, but engines new and old don't seem to like cold either. You have to let those older engines warm up first in the winter, right?

    From what I read, the wagoneer had a lot of features cars around that time didn't. Useful, actually impressive luxuries, unlike the cigarette lighters my grandmother's old Cadillac had built into the backseat doors.

  5. #15
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Truck Luxury Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrolocks View Post
    Ugh, I don't even want to think about winter!
    Old trucks had options for luxuries, but what they have now depends on what the original owners thought they needed – or could afford.

    The ’48 came out of northern Mississippi. Its original heater was about the size of a coffee can and didn’t do a whole lot of good even back in West Tennessee. That first winter in Indiana was bitter, and I decided that I had to have a better heater. One Sunday when the wife and I were exploring our new home state, I ran across a Jeep station wagon sitting in a barnyard – flat on the frame with a small tree growing through what had been the rear window.

    I eased over and knocked on the farmer’s door. I asked if the wagon had a heater? “Yup” was the reply.

    “Will you sell it?” I asked. “Yup”. “How Much?” “Twenty dollars.” “How about ten?” “How about fifteen?” “OK”

    I told the owner I would be back next weekend with some tools to take out the heater. He cautioned me “Now don’t you go tearing up a lot of other stuff getting that heater out of there.”

    I came back next weekend, checked in with the farmer and went to work. I crawled up under the dash – nasty – and started to work loosening hoses and stuff from the vents. I worked around to front of the firewall and got the nuts off the bolts that held the heater in. I went back under the dash and the longer I worked, the worse the place smelled. Well – it was a barnyard – but the smell wasn’t cow, pig or horse – not even chicken. I looked over the front seat back to where the back seat had been and there lay a goat carcass. He had been there long enough for his ribs to be sticking out his hide and he was well on his way to being a mummified goat. One look and the heater came out really quickly after that.

    It is a nice heater. It got hosed down really well and lived in the truck until it went into its 30-year hibernation. It did OK, but there were enough holes in the floors and doors that it just barely kept up. When we restored the truck, the heater core was sound and we cleaned up all of the fins and rebuilt the little DC motor and gave it a matching coat of paint. Now that there isn’t a lot of wind whipping through the vent holes – it will run you out on a cold January day – but it still is a lousy defroster!

  6. #16
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    When the our wagon was put into storage in the barn, the driver's window was plexiglass. The plastic was enough to keep the rain out, but if a determined critter wanted to get in, they could. The back side of the barn was the cover for a condo of ground hogs. Dad thought it would be wise to put out some poison to help curb the population of rodents. Long story short, a massive ground hog made its way through the window, and died on the passenger side floor mat. I still have the floor mat, and yes, it scrubbed up just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarrBeard View Post
    It is a nice heater. It got hosed down really well and lived in the truck until it went into its 30-year hibernation. It did OK, but there were enough holes in the floors and doors that it just barely kept up. When we restored the truck, the heater core was sound and we cleaned up all of the fins and rebuilt the little DC motor and gave it a matching coat of paint. Now that there isn’t a lot of wind whipping through the vent holes – it will run you out on a cold January day – but it still is a lousy defroster!
    Awwwww! I love a story with a happy ending! ^_^ I wonder if that farmer had been looking for that goat...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmwillys View Post
    I still have the floor mat, and yes, it scrubbed up just fine.
    Wow. I didn't think older jeeps came with the plastic windows. I always assumed it was a modern thing. Critters can get into cars in all kinds of ways. My dad was a mechanic and he told me a number of stories of animals making nests in the engine... I'm sure you can imagine how bad that ended up once the owner started the vehicle.

    Again though, happy ending! ^_^

  9. #19
    Mine is the 64 pickup version of what you are writing about. I wrote a book once. It was terrible. So take this for what it's worth, all rights extended to you. lol

    1. The father teaches his 15 year old son to maintain it. "You have to know how to keep her running if I'm going to teach you to drive her."

    So this thing was a year between Kaiser-Willy changeover. It may have had the new Tornado engine. Revolutionary overhead Cam and nobody knew how it worked, or how to work on it. So the dad here is giving his son info that will serve him 40 years later when overhead cams are common. And dad is smart if he knows how it works Only engine made by jeep. Jeep itself was in quotes at the time due to a licensing or copyright issue between owners. So maybe dad is teaching son about recruiting the best international engineer to create the engine, or maybe about the legalities of Kaiser-Willy, but it's a lot more than fixing an engine.

    2. Learning to drive in it. I know driving tests were on the road back then, but I would love any details you could give me.

    It's a three on a tree. You shift the thing on the column. So dad could have son sit tight to shift while Dad drives, then once shifting is learned, they switch and dad shifts while the kid leads to stop, go, and steer. No power steering. Arms were bigger then. And I am guessing kid would have learned to drive something at age ten anyway.

    3. They need to rush to the hospital and the son drives her like he stole her. Again, any information or stories would be great. How do they handle speed? Turns?

    True story. I drove a jeep at high speed 35 miles through a forest in middle of night to get to a hospital. I was worried about elk, deer, skunks, etc. Mostly worried about anyone hunting in the dark or spotting because they hide. When you hit a cattle guard at speed it is heard for miles in the wild. Whump whump. That tells anyone who years it's an emergency. They just know. And they say a prayer when they here it. Gear shifting and revving at hill tops to wake anyone up in the next valley. I went on the premise that my urgency would be heard by the manner of noises I was making, that the manner of those would indicate I was a local who knew the roads. I got there, thank God. And was only able to be a shoulder to cry on, the reason for my haste turning to the beginning of grief long and lasting. I thanked God for my new tires and my trusty jeep even as I tasted salt from tears on her check at the loss we only learned about in the darkest part of nighttime. I still am glad I survived. Driving like a bag out of hell was what it was.

    4. Years later, after the son inherits the jeep from his father, it breaks down in a terrible rainstorm. Just a plot gimmick at the moment, but I need to figure out why it would've broken down. It needs to be something the son thinks he can fix, because he gets out of the car.

    Hey man, he obviously gets out to lock the hubs! Of course, he sets the emergency brake, which obviously causes some problem because it probably doesn't work when he's standing there so he has to wait till it rolls down an embankment and comes to a stop in the meadow to lock his hubs. He's not worried, that thing would drive out but fine. But then the brake does work when he releases it, of course. So he has to get under the car to wriggly the lever to release the brake by hand, which requires hitting the thing, so he grabs the rock for the purpose.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5JeepsAz View Post
    Mine is the 64 pickup version of what you are writing about. I wrote a book once. It was terrible. So take this for what it's worth, all rights extended to you. lol

    1. The father teaches his 15 year old son to maintain it. "You have to know how to keep her running if I'm going to teach you to drive her."

    So this thing was a year between Kaiser-Willy changeover. It may have had the new Tornado engine. Revolutionary overhead Cam and nobody knew how it worked, or how to work on it. So the dad here is giving his son info that will serve him 40 years later when overhead cams are common. And dad is smart if he knows how it works Only engine made by jeep. Jeep itself was in quotes at the time due to a licensing or copyright issue between owners. So maybe dad is teaching son about recruiting the best international engineer to create the engine, or maybe about the legalities of Kaiser-Willy, but it's a lot more than fixing an engine.


    That's interesting! I didn't know about that, but the timing lines up. The father is actually a computer engineer, so it might not have completely eluded him. He's not afraid to admit when he doesn't understand something and that could be the case. Maybe I'll stick to teaching him about oil changes, brakes, etc with the dad and have the son figure it out as he needs to. He's crazy smart, but somewhat socially/emotionally challenged.


    2. Learning to drive in it. I know driving tests were on the road back then, but I would love any details you could give me.

    It's a three on a tree. You shift the thing on the column. So dad could have son sit tight to shift while Dad drives, then once shifting is learned, they switch and dad shifts while the kid leads to stop, go, and steer. No power steering. Arms were bigger then. And I am guessing kid would have learned to drive something at age ten anyway.

    The son knows how to drive a lawn tractor, so he's familiar with gear shifting. I hadn't thought about splitting the responsibilities. I guess that would work with good communication. Even if it doesn't work with the father teaching the brother, the little sister (12) is jealous. Her brother eventually teaches her after their father falls ill, but that seems like something the siblings could do.

    3. They need to rush to the hospital and the son drives her like he stole her. Again, any information or stories would be great. How do they handle speed? Turns?

    True story. I drove a jeep at high speed 35 miles through a forest in middle of night to get to a hospital. I was worried about elk, deer, skunks, etc. Mostly worried about anyone hunting in the dark or spotting because they hide. When you hit a cattle guard at speed it is heard for miles in the wild. Whump whump. That tells anyone who years it's an emergency. They just know. And they say a prayer when they here it. Gear shifting and revving at hill tops to wake anyone up in the next valley. I went on the premise that my urgency would be heard by the manner of noises I was making, that the manner of those would indicate I was a local who knew the roads. I got there, thank God. And was only able to be a shoulder to cry on, the reason for my haste turning to the beginning of grief long and lasting. I thanked God for my new tires and my trusty jeep even as I tasted salt from tears on her check at the loss we only learned about in the darkest part of nighttime. I still am glad I survived. Driving like a bag out of hell was what it was.


    I hadn't thought about the sounds or the possibility of hitting deer, etc. It'll be a suburban area, but the engine revving alone would likely wake some people and get some dogs barking. They get the call from the hospital that their father is slipping fast and they race there. They make it safely, but not in time. The brother doesn't fully understand the importance of being there, but he knew what it meant to his sister and feels terrible that he couldn't do that for her. Since he's 18, he takes custody of the sister and does his best to take care of her.

    4. Years later, after the son inherits the jeep from his father, it breaks down in a terrible rainstorm. Just a plot gimmick at the moment, but I need to figure out why it would've broken down. It needs to be something the son thinks he can fix, because he gets out of the car.

    Hey man, he obviously gets out to lock the hubs! Of course, he sets the emergency brake, which obviously causes some problem because it probably doesn't work when he's standing there so he has to wait till it rolls down an embankment and comes to a stop in the meadow to lock his hubs. He's not worried, that thing would drive out but fine. But then the brake does work when he releases it, of course. So he has to get under the car to wriggly the lever to release the brake by hand, which requires hitting the thing, so he grabs the rock for the purpose.
    That sounds like something that would happen to me. I have terrible luck. His sister would still be in the car, so I'm assuming she would be able to stop it, but he would be less than okay with it drifting.

    I might be able to work the handbrake failing into something later though. I really like that idea.

    I know you said the book you wrote wasn't good, but you have creative ideas and wrote very vividly!

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