These jeeps did not always look this way. See photos below of their impressive restoration process.
Restoring any vehicle takes patience and skill, but restoring a military vehicle – such as the Willys Jeep shown below - often presents challenges to even the most avid restoration enthusiast. Ask the Armed Forces History Museum’s Doug Yerby. Doug has been with the museum since prior to its opening in 2008. He has done countless restorations, bringing the museums’ tanks, half-tracks, jeeps and other vehicles back to showroom quality. But Doug doesn’t stop at the exterior work. What many people do not realize is that all the vehicles at the museum are maintained in operational condition. One of those vehicles, the WWII M8 Greyhound, was fully restored and now visitors can take a ride on this historic reconnaissance vehicle.
When a new item arrives, Doug begins with an in-depth research on the vehicle he will be restoring. This ensures an authentic restoration worthy of display in this award-winning museum. Doug has a number of skills he brings to each project. His welding skills come in handy when a part needs to be made or a tool needs to be reshaped to fit into a particular area. Doug’s bondo and paint work is beyond reproach. His close attention to detail – and his patience - is evident on each piece. His six years in the Marine Corps on tracked amphibious assault vehicles rounds out his restoration talents since each amtrack crew was responsible for the maintenance of their own vehicles.
Below, Doug walks us through a series of photos portraying some of the various steps that were necessary in restoring a few of the museum’s Willys Jeep. The before and after pics of the Willys serve as prime examples of the incredible work produced by Doug. Note that the tires and rims pictured here were eventually replaced with authentic military tires and rims original to the jeep.
The first item addressed on any restoration project is the vehicle’s engine.
This is what the engine first looked like when it came into the shop.
Though this photo was taken after some sanding and bondo work, it also shows the jeeps engine after it had been restored.
Front end of the Willys prior to restoration.
All the jeeps in this photo were came into the museum in need of restoration. The before and after front ends speak for themselves.
Originally, the jeep had trailer lights installed. These were removed and replaced with military lights.
This photo shows the back end after it was stripped of all its hardware.
This is the exterior of one of the jeeps prior to any work. The fuel tank had to be removed due to rust. A temporary tank had to be rigged in order for the jeep to be moved outside for some of the restoration work.
This photo shows the windshield that had to be removed in order to be sanded, primed and painted. Some bondo work was also required.
The front fender is rusted, cracked and bent up. The suspension is also rusted. Both are ready for restoration.
The seats inside the jeep were removed and replaced. The blinker on the column was removed to further authenticate the final work.
The floor board here is in dire need of repair and restoration. It will be sandblasted prior to welding and fabricating.
Rear tub, after seats have been removed. Ready for sanding.
Grinding off the bolts in order to remove the rear tire bracket.
Dash panel is removed so windshield hinges can be replaced.
Drilling out rusted retaining bolts on the old windshield hinges.
Tapping out body for the hinges for the windshield.
Prepping for new hinges for the windshield.
Shows restoration of the front radiator area.
Inner driver’s compartment after some restoration work.
Shows the suspension on the jeep after it is cleaned and painted.
Photo showing additional suspension work.
Back end with the body work completed. primed and ready for paint and hardware.
Windshield frame is repaired and painted. Window will be replaced by an expert.
Repair work is complete and the jeep is primed and ready for paint.