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Home : Scrapbook : Roamin Angel Corner Index : Den & Gai's 1949 Jeepster
1949 JeepsterJeepster Keeper

What is it that makes someone like a certain car? It may be that /je ne sais quoi /quality, an impossible-to-define emotional attachment. That would be how both Den and Gai R. would describe their love of their ‘49 Jeepster. Den has owned many cars over the years and knows how to grab a wrench to modify or repair about anything on four wheels. Gai likes shopping. Both of them, however, love their Jeepster. Gai says it is her favorite car even though she has never driven it herself. Why is that? There is something about these sporty phaetons that wins the hearts of “gearheads” and the general public alike. Den had been looking for one for a while in 2001, due to always liking them and admiring fellow Roamin Angel Don’s Jeepster, when he finally got a good lead. He was just about to go see it with his car trailer hitched and check book in hand when he got a call. It was another Jeepster for sale. Although he checked out the first one, it was the phone-call one that won his heart and he bought it. It is stock, with the original “four-banger” engine, three-speed/ overdrive manual trans and the six-volt electrical system. It had been completely redone in the nineties, so little was needed. He and Gai both enjoy the car, although they have been limited to local runs due to the overdrive needing repair limiting its speed. But both do love the car and, judging by the friendly waves they get, so do most people on the road.

For a car almost 60 years old, this ‘49 Jeepster is in remarkably original condition. A purist might note that the spotlights and hood ornament are not “factory,” but they came with the car and are going to stay. Gai likes the aftermarket hood ornament.

1949 Jeepster interior & engine

Although Den is not sure that the seat fabric is original, it appears to be. ‘49 was the last year for the turned-metal glove box door and dash plates, as well as some of the chrome trim. With this the lowest year for sales, Jeep likely decided to cut costs wherever possible for the next year.

This is the L134 “Go Devil” Willys engine. With 64 HP, this flathead four-cylinder engine was no powerhouse even in its day, but was dependable. For the Den and Gai, it has been quite trouble free with the exception of the carburetor, which Den replaced with a newer model.

Story & photos by Ron C. © 2008
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