One day while visiting with some friends at Atkins Saw American Legion Post 355, a member told Mike about a 1952 Willys Korean Army jeep that his uncle owned in Fort Wayne.
Being an Army veteran, Mike became interested.
The man in Fort Wayne was a retired Army command sergeant major who had served in World II, Korea and Vietnam. He had purchased the jeep from the Army in the mid-1970s and had mostly used it in parades. It was in original condition and still had a bullet hole from its service.
Mike kept it in its original condition and drove it for about four or five years.
In 2012, Mike’s son, Kevin Delaney, and Mike’s son-in-law, Joe Roberts, took the jeep to Joe’s house and completely dismantled it. The frame only required a good cleaning and was painted. The suspension was reinstalled, and the Ford Hurricane four-cylinder engine was rebuilt as were the three-speed transmission and transfer case.
After the body was painted the original hood numbers from service in Korea were repainted onto the hood.
Mike retained the 24-volt system, which was required to power accessories and radios, etc.
He has entered the old jeep in several shows, as well as military equipment shows around Indiana.
These jeeps were designed to travel over rough terrain and not at high speeds. It is capable of about only 40 mph but would “climb a wall if you could get it to stick,” says Mike.
He has driven it about 200 miles since its restoration. When the grandchildren visit, he sometimes pulls it out and puts it in the yard for them to climb on.
“They seem to enjoy that as much as riding somewhere in it!” Mike added.
A growing display of military items are shown with this cool jeep at shows.
Thanks for preserving this piece of American history, Mike. I am extending you an invitation to bring the jeep to one of our cruise-ins next year at The Southsider Voice.
Until Jan. 7, keep on cruising!