- Written by webmin
While researching the plywood cars of Ray Russell last week, I came across another unique photo from the December 1945 issue of Popular Mechanics, reproduced above, showing a couple men from the 478th Air Service Squadron with their “streamlined Jeep,” the product of spare time, a wrecked Jeep and a couple crashed airplanes. “They made a racer type body from the cowling of a C-46 engine, fashioned fenders out of emergency gas tanks and wound up with a speedy little runabout,” the article stated. Details, of course, were sparse, indicating only that the 478th was stationed in the Philippines at the time.
I’m no World War II historian, but from a little googling, it appears the 478th’s time in the Philippines was spent in Leyte, where MacArthur landed on his famous return to the islands in October 1944. The 478th then moved on to Ie Shima and Japan itself as part of the occupying forces, presumably leaving the streamlined Jeep behind in Leyte.
I’ve also read many accounts of hot rodders who went off to war similarly hopping up and modifying their Jeeps, so I’d have to assume that these two and their cohorts helped fuel the postwar boom in hot rodding once they returned to the States, and that the Willys four-cylinder under that cowling was warmed over just a little.