Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

VanVoorsts drive truly unique offspring of the Willys military Jeep

Marvin and Joyce VanVoorst, active Fallbrook Vintage Car Club members and leaders, were classmates in the late 1950s in Inwood, IA.

She lived in the small town and he on a nearby farm. She went to Los Angeles to live with her sister and do office work and Marv joined the Navy “to see the world.”

After he served on the heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles, they met again and married. After the marriage and service on the USS Helena, Marv joined the Helms Bakery Company as an electrician.

A member of the IEBW Union, armed with a resume describing his experiences as an electrician, field superintendent, estimator and project manager for the booming California building industry, Marv and Joyce moved their family to Fallbrook in 1971 for a new large project that needed Marv’s extensive skills.

Their three children, Mark, Joy and Amy, graduated from Fallbrook High School. All three grew up to work in education.

“We selected Fallbrook because of its truly rural country atmosphere which really appealed to Marv, having grown up on a farm, and because it was such a great place to raise children,” Joyce said.

“You know, we really didn’t have to go camping anymore,” Marv chimed in. “In Fallbrook we felt that we were always camping.”

Marv’s first vehicle restoration was a 1947C Farmall tractor. It was impractical to drive around town, so in 1999, he purchased a 1948 Willys-Overland Jeepster.

The Jeepster was an outgrowth of the famous World War II Willys Jeep, which was the mainstay of the fleet of small utility transportation vehicles for the war. It could take a big beating and still keep going.

In 1948, Jeep decided to produce a less bone-jarring version for public consumption, which evolved into the absolutely unique and beautiful Willys-Overland Jeepster.

Only 21,000 of these engineering marvels were manufactured during the production years of 1948 to 1951.

Marv’s Jeepster, with its heavy-duty sparkling chrome bumpers, traditional front Jeep grill, convertible openness, bright burgundy red interior and meticulously applied bright yellow, wet-sanded, multi-coat paint, is probably the most unique car roaming the roads around and near Fallbrook.

Marv spent countless hours piecing the boxes of parts together, buying missing parts, replacing the stamped steel floor, redoing the interior and upholstery, rebuilding the engine and totally restoring the chrome and paint.

His “marvel” looks newer today than when it was first loaded by the factory onto the train for delivery to the dealer for sale.

Next time you see this unique icon of Americana driving down the street, wave at Marv and Joyce and thank them for keeping this wonderful example of American history alive for all to see.

The Fallbrook Vintage Car Club is always open to guests and new members. To receive more information, send an e-mail to [email protected].

Monthly meetings are held at the Fallbrook Woman’s Club, 238 West Mission Road, on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

 

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