Passing of the Willys

During late 2014 Channel Men’s Shed was donated a crate full of parts which comprised components from one and a half 1923 Willys Overland. The previous owner (Bob Clifford) had the vehicle stored in parts for over forty years, waiting for the urge to start the project.

A small team of CMS Members dismantled assemblies cleaned, repaired, and manufactured components to the point where the vehicle could be assembled and mounted on a mobile frame.

The engine was sent to Melbourne where  a Company called Crankshaft Rebuilders, rebuilt the engine. This involved hours of rebuilding  and machining to restore the crankshaft and to manufacture engine bearings from base metals. While the engine reconditioner did look after us with pricing the work was done at considerable cost to Channel Men’s Shed.

To get the Willys to its current assembled stage, Shed Members applied some extraordinary skills (some they did not know they had). An experienced jeweller did a lot of the panel repairs, our machinist turned up numerous parts, there was a lot of oxy and Tig welding, our past airline pilot nutted out a lot of the technical stuff.

Over the last few years, the passion waned a little, those doing the work had to some degree reached the limit of their expertise and there was no actual experience to draw upon from someone who had actually worked on similar vehicles.

Channel Men’s Shed Committee reached the decision that if the vehicle was to be completed, it had to be in the hands of an enthusiast who had the passion and was prepared to put in the hours and the financial resources to complete the restoration.

Committee representatives discussed the alternatives with Bob Clifford who to some degree had some equity in the restoration. While Bob was disappointed CMS were unable to complete the job he was amenable to us passing the vehicle on to a member of the public who could competently take over.

After placing listings on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree we obtained an expression of interest and an offer from Noel Hammersley-Cave (pictured) who has a passion for older vehicles and currently has a collection of vintage machinery.

While we thought it was the end of an era for CMS and the Willys, this is not necessarily so. After visiting Channel Mens Shed Noel has decided to join as a Member as he believes he can use some of our equipment to complete the restoration.

Response from one of our participants:

“I am amenable to the sale of the Willys.  I believe some Shed members, including myself, enjoyed the experience of rebuilding this Willys to this stage. It would have been nice to complete it if we only had enough expertise and passion amongst the shed members. Although the sale price is below the actual expense, the difference was well spent for the enjoyment of the members that took part in the project. The project also embodied the essence of the Shed’s objectives.”

Posted June 2022

Willys Overland Project

“This article was originally posted on this web site in April 2015 and is now reposted here to mark the sale of the Willys Overland.”

Thanks to the generosity of Bob Clifford – Patron of the Tasmanian Men’s Sheds Association – we now have a project “in hand” to restore a Willys Overland – circa 1928. Whilst not quite accurate – as this is, apparently, the “Overland” model – ours (after a little work!) will possibly look something like:

There are significant numbers of “miscellaneous components”:
We actually have (almost) two of them if you ‘count all the bits!’

We even have a spare one of these! (It must fit somewhere!) – and a radiator cap

Overall, we have a “real beaut” task for members. A group has been organised by Dave Dungee to take on the project. The team consists of Derrick Corry, Roger Walker, Rueben Sternberg and Michael Chadwick.
The project covers many aspects of trades and skills varying from mechanical to bodywork, woodwork, painting, upholstery and numerous other crafts and the renovation is progressing well. Storage and operating space has been sorted out within The Shed and a project costing budget has been allocated. We need extra help with panel beating, woodwork, welding up body cracks etc. and advice is always welcome so if you are interested in joining the project simply let one of the team know.

Originally posted April 2015, republished June 2022.

Some small projects by Heiko

Some of our colleagues at the shed were looking for toy plans. I have attached pictures of 4 toys that I made as Christmas presents for some small friends.

The toys are made from “palletino” and offcuts. The wheel bearings were cut from micro sprinkler risers.

I have regularly made Christmas toys and they have always been well received.

  • I got the idea for the ships of Pinterest. The actual ships are my own invention.
  • The log truck is entirely my own invention.
  • The idea for the kangaroo came from a book listing woodworking plans for sale. I used their picture for inspiration and came up with my own dimensions.

Cheers Heiko.