I didn’t realize that Willys was still building the flathead “Go Devil” four this late.
Dear Paul, This is one I forgot about. I have not seen one in years. Thanks for the picture and the ad.
Cute, but wouldn’t have been practical. Some businesses might have used it for entertainment or advertising, as they had used the Bantam and Crosley panel trucks in earlier decades.
And I had forgotten (if I ever knew) that there was a generation of Dispatcher before the DJ-5 that was better known as the Postal Jeep.
Another late flat head: My Mom’s 1960 Rambler American with a flat head 6. 20 mpg and 20 gal. gas tank. She occasionally ran out of gas because she would forget to fill up. She was very young at the time and it was her first car.
The base engine in the Rambler American was a flathead through 1965, as far as I know the last such engine in a domestic U.S. car.
While city offices long ago moved onto other vehicle delivery options, to this day, there’s something of a cottage industry to keep old Jeep Dispatchers going for rural carriers.
The two that I saw long ago had a spindly and delicate column shifter .
One was discovered buried in the basement of a Los Angeles hotel when it changed hands, I tried to buy it but they didn’t think it had any value and was summarily scrapped .
I think the spiritual successor to these was the 4/5 door Geo Metro that seemed briefly popular for urban deliveries 20-25 years ago.
Hmmm…I had no idea that “novelty shop operators” was a key target customer for fleet vehicle sales in the 60s…
Yeah, I wonder what kind of ‘novelties’ were that popular in 1961…
‘Novelty Shops’ were a big thing in the 1960’s in the East coast ~ they’d sell weird crap and were usually near a public school or the projects .
True, I recall “Gift and Novelty Shop” as being a common name for stores when I was a kid (always here on the East Coast).
I now wonder if “Novelty” was a euphemism for something that my young mind didn’t need to know about.
There were also adult novelty shops that didn’t allow kids in….
Which makes the idea that they had a need to make deliveries in small Jeeps all that much more intriguing.
A friend of mine has owned one of these for over 50 years. It was a father and son type of project and Bob still owns it. We’re pretty sure it was a Postal Service vehicle from the Santa Rosa area. He got rid of the unique hard top and doors and replaced them with a soft top. It is the most basic of machines. It is fine for scooting around at moderate speed but is a miserable buggy if you have to go any distance or get anywhere quickly. Dispatcher is the perfect name for it. It would have made a good parts store runner or a way to deliver Western Union telegrams. Or service the needs of the American novelty industry which was experiencing tremendous growth thanks to America’s insatiable appetite for novelty.
My friend has restored his several times and it exists in either one of two states: Assembled and possibly running and covered up in his shop OR completely disassembled in boxes and up in the rafters. I’ll have to ask him about it next time I see him.
There isn’t much to these and there was little available reproduction parts wise. I remember when he scored an NOS set of chromed Willys hubcaps at an Oakland Jeep dealership going out of business auction back in the mid 1970s. The chromed caps with the W stamped in the center were the holy grail to him. I’ve never seen someone so excited for hubcaps. The only other chrome on his Jeep are the headlight rings.
Why would someone in any of those occupations benefit from a folding winshield?
Just so ! .
The last Dispatcher I saw was 100 % original down to the hub caps and it was unwanted and languished behind some small shops in the San Fernando Valley of Califorina.
It had no upper body work at all .
Nice find. I’d forgotten how crude the bodywork was on these. I’m guessing an in-house job. Brooks Stevens could be wacky but he had a good sense of finish.
Did the Post Office use any of these, or just the much better-looking DJ-5?
Stevens *could* be wacky, but I’m betting there was a design brief on this one to have body panels that could be stamped without “deep draw” dies (think washing machine range, or other mostly square appliance). That was specced for the original Willys wagon, and I think Jeepster too… Then add the need for lots of cargo space and utility for its size, and you end up with a pretty basic box.
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