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Day One

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Home : Scrapbook : Roamin Angel Corner Index : Don's 1950 Jeepster
1950 JeepsterDay One

In the beginning, Don D. drove a Jeepster. He learned to drive with and took his driving test in a Jeepster. Over the years he has owned five Jeepsters and, in the family tradition, his kids learned to drive in them. In 2000, he bought his current one. This ‘50 Jeepster had some modifications, but looked stock, which Don liked. The engine had been changed from the original “four-banger,” however was not in good condition. Don knew that would have to go. More importantly, the body was in good condition and the paint was decent. Due to having side curtains rather than roll-up windows, Jeepsters are notorious for rust problems and this one had none. The interior was also in good condition, so Don bought it. He had Van’s Auto Body, owned by a fellow Roamin Angel, buff out the paint to a “10 Footer” (looking good at ten feet) quality and swapped engine and trans for a late-model Ford 302 CID mill and C-4 auto trans. The new drive train goes through a Mustang 8" rear end to scoot this 2500 lb vehicle very nicely down the road. The only problem was the handling. When wife Marty drove it along the Feather River Canyon on the way to a car show in Quincy, she said it had to change and Don was glad to agree. Roamin Angels Lanny N. and Patrick C. at Lanmark Auto installed independent front suspension with rack and pinion steering and Wilwood front disc brakes. Now, according to Don, it “handles like a sports car.” Coming from a guy who has owned
Shelby Mustangs, that says a lot. His love of these unique vehicles has
motivated other Roamin Angels to acquire Jeepsters, but Don was the
original. He’s had one from day one.

Don’s ‘50 Jeepster looks stock from here, except for the American mag wheels to accommodate the wider tires. For 1950, Jeep changed the front grill chrome, gave the front fenders a more rounded look and also eliminated the step on the rear fender that made entering the rear seat easier.

1950 Jeepster interior & engine

The only thing that betrays the modifications to the steering on Don’s Jeepster is the ididit brand steering chrome column and a wood-rimmed steering wheel (with a Willys “W” on the horn button). In 1950, Willys changed the instrument cluster and dropped the engine-turned glove box door.

Although this 302 is not actually a Cobra engine, it does pack a lot more punch than the original F134 in-line four cylinder or L161 in-line six cylinder engines. The F134 Hurricane produced 75 Gross HP and the L161 Lightening jumped to a “whopping” 90 Gross HP. These are a fraction of what this engine produces.

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