This vintage Willys Jeep is what most car guys refer to as a barn find–but it was never lost.


It’s been resting comfortably for a few decades since retiring from active duty.


This Jeep is partially buried but out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind.


There was a reason that Roy Rogers occasionally traded his horse named Trigger in for a Jeep named Nellie Belle. There’s no conclusive evidence that Vern watched Roy on his 1950s TV show but the Jeep did show up on the Northey farm during that golden era of television.




The Willys was a working member of Vern Northey’s farm operation for many years. Like most farmers, Vern bought vehicles that had to perform many duties-they weren’t there to look good. This Jeep more than fit the bill-it was heavy duty enough to handle roads where tractors feared to tread plus it was small and maneuverable enough to herd cattle.


The Jeep was used for fencing, bale hauling, and even transported the odd calf.It hauled lunches out during harvest and raced into town for parts when the combines or grain trucks quit.


This little war pony could get kids to school down winter roads that would make a polar bear strap on snowshoes plus it never missed a beat when Vern turned the key-in any season.




The only real issue with the Jeep was its built-in air-conditioning so Vern built a wooden cab that was used when the temperatures dipped below zero. He was a tradesman in the winter so the Jeep turned into an incredibly reliable commuter car for work in town.




Vern’s son Bob has many happy memories with the Jeep. Most of his family learned to drive behind the wheel of this classic Willys and as a farm kid, he can attest to the value of the bulletproof Jeep.


Bob has no immediate plans for the Jeep-he has the family farm to run but he’s certain that the little Jeep will rise again under his watch. Until then, he’s not worried because the family legacy isn’t lost or found-it’s safely stored in a dry shed.




The Willys did everything Vern asked– to a farmer that’s expected because anything less gets you a one-way trip to the auction.


Maybe that’s why this Jeep has been in the Northey family since Elvis was a GI.


Jerry Sutherland


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