Putting some Patina on

Robert U’Ren shares some of his helpful fixes and tips on buying, selling, repairing and recommissioning World War Two and Hotchkiss Jeeps

A big part of why many of us get into buying old Jeeps is the cheerfully battered flying jacket look

Ioften buy Jeeps that have been fitted with new reproduction glovebox data tags. Sometimes these tags are fixed with modern pop rivets, and occasionally they haven’t even been stamped up with the serial numbers, so it’s clear to many people that they have been slapped on in a hurry. Often the same goes for the transfers on the panels – we all know they never used pop rivets to fix the data tags in the war years, and they certainly never fitted data tags without stamping the serial numbers on. Willys used machine screws or steel split rivets, and I believe Ford always used the split rivets.

Some of the reproduction tags are very poor quality, whereas the original data tags were high quality and designed to last the life of the vehicle, so have embossed writing that you can feel with your fingers. This means even if the backing paint starts to wear off over time, the information can still be easily read. If you have a newly restored Jeep and want everything looking brand new, then cheaper glossy reproduction tags with shiny new pop rivets may be fine, but on an old original-looking vehicle with old weathered fittings, some nice authentic-looking data tags can look great.

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