'Picture Perfect' with 1940s Pinup Girl Nose Art on the Jeep‘Nose Art’ for the Jeep and a look at the Rear Shocks!

Call this week the calm before the storm… this week was a bit slow but important! I finally got down to naming the Jeep and adding some ‘nose art’ to the windshield! It’s taken quite some time to do! Plus, in prep for what will be the start of rebuilding the GPW axles starting (hopefully) next week, I took a look at the rear shocks to see what they are!

While out on a drive this week… she’s looking good but she certainly is not enjoying the 110-degree weather we’re having the last few days!

A quick update on the Joes Motor Pool Carter WO carburetor… after the throttle wire stop screw fell off the Jeep, I was able to locate my other one (which came with the JMP Carb) and put that on. This time, on the advice of someone who posted a comment, I bent the throttle wire after it passes through. No way it’ll fall off now!

While the rest of my Jeep has been marked up, one thing I’ve wanted to add was a name for the Jeep and a pinup honoring a tradition of many WW2 vehicles during the war. I had already decided that I wanted to add it on the windshield in one of several spots, shown here. So why a name? Why a pinup?

I’ve always loved the pinup nose art on aircraft during World War 2. As a pinup photographer myself (shameless plug – https://instagram.com/vintagepinups), I knew that one day I would own a WW2 vehicle, and I wanted to have nose art on it. Shown here is a P-51D Mustang ‘Pin Up Girl’

Jeeps also had ‘nose art’ (or perhaps we should call it windshield art?). Here are four wartime examples. They could be as simple as sayings or names, or something to do with the group/squadron. Talented artists in the various units would adorn the vehicles to make them have a personality.

One of my favorite Jeep pinups is this Varga pinup on a piece of canvas (probably a former canvas top for the Jeep?) on the passenger side. This Jeep is part of a P-51 Mustang fighter group.

Modern restored Jeeps have taken up this art adding all sorts of personalized pinups to the windshield. Here’s a few I’ve seen (and some I’ve seen online).

When I was in Europe last year for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I saw several hundred Jeeps at the various events. So many were adorned with pinups or names for the Jeep. These Jeeps become so personal and part of us, why not?

And even beyond the windshield, anywhere there’s a surface, I’ve seen pinups painted on! Even on the hood star!

Originally, I had the idea of calling her ‘Dream Gal’, since I’ve always dreamed of owning a Jeep. This was an early mockup from last year where I even looked at using my girlfriend from a pinup shoot we did as my pinup. I would turn the photo of her into 1940s looking pinup artwork. I just wasn’t happy overall with the design, so I didn’t touch it much for a while after. It could be the font, or perhaps that the text overpowers her, but it just wasn’t what I wanted.

My favorite pinup artist, and pinup, is this particular 1939 pinup from famed George Petty. One of this ‘Petty Girls’, his pinup work was seen on many many aircraft and barrack walls during WW2. The famed Memphis Belle is one of his works. This pinup has always called to me, and I decided I’d try to make that the pinup I use, since it’s actually from the time.

I came up with this idea after playing around with the working. I liked the stenciled letter look, so I figured this would be perfect… small and simple. But, still, something didn’t seem right to me. The pinup didn’t really relate to the name. Most of Petty’s works have a gal on the phone, and it just didn’t relate. I tried to think of other slogans but just couldn’t think of anything with a phone. Maybe ‘Military Secrets’, but that isn’t the name I wanted for the Jeep.

So I decided to look at other pinups. On the left is a Varga, and on the right is a Petty. I liked the look of the stretched leg, so I focused on that. The problem with the Petty on the right is, again, she’s on the phone. The Varga on the left is nice, but still just didn’t jump out to me.

I continued looking at pinups from 1940-1944, and I tried several different ones. But they still just didn’t have that personal touch. Two Vargas on the top, and a Petty on the bottom.

So I went back to the drawing board and decided to try different names instead of different pinups. Different fonts, layouts, etc. I used one of the Vargas as well just to see. But still, nothing really stood out to me. I was liking the ‘Picture Perfect’… but still wasn’t happy with the pinups.

That’s when I stumbled across this pinup, done by a J. George Janet in early 1944, same year as my Jeep! This pinup was featured in a early 1944 issue of ‘Fun Frolic’ magazine. The pinup is a black and white pinup, simple, reminiscent of Petty’s work. But she’s holding a clock and also no color… so that gave me an idea…

As with many pinups during WW2, they were often modified (mostly removing clothing) to suit whatever the crew of the vehicle wanted. So I popped the pinup into photoshop, cut her out, hand-colored her, removed the clock, and added in a 1939 Speed Graphic camera (which I own). The reason for the camera is because (as I’m sure you have guessed…) I’m a photographer, so it fits!

Before I made a decision, I wanted to visualize it and also figure out how large the pinup should on the windshield. I printed several different sizes and had my Cricut machine cut them out. I liked this size the best, it’s just held on with some blue painters tape.

Here’s a look at the Jeep overall with the pinup. I think it looks pretty good… but it needs the name. So, I went back to photoshop and started to play with sayings, names, and different fonts. I thought more about ‘Picture Perfect’ and came up with…

This concept. I like the 1940s cursive for ‘Picture’, and the stenciled PERFECT. It’s a play on words and means something personal… As a photographer and someone who likes the details, my Jeep is often looked at as looking a bit too ‘perfect’ and I spend too much time cleaning it. Blame the perfectionist photographer in me… So Picture in the cursive font is nice and appealing overall look, and the stenciled Perfect represents how I’ve done my markings a bit more perfect than they should be! I was starting to feel like I had something that felt right to me!

I kept wanting to add a ‘Ford’ touch to the name, and I realized there was a F in Perfect… so I thought, what if I threw a F stamp in there? As many GPW owners do, I’ve gotten my share of laughs from MB owners at how we go out of our way to add Fs to various things on the Jeep, or spend that extra to make sure something has the famed F. So, as a nod to me wanting to make the Jeep look ‘perfect’, why not include an F? A nice inside joke! And perhaps for the general public who ask me why the F is different, I can talk to them about F stamps on a GPW.

Eventually, I’ll have the pinup painted onto the Jeep, but for now, I wanted to be sure it’s how I want it, so I decided to make the lettering (for now) out of vinyl. I used the Cricut machine to make the lettering and the black shadowing.

Here I’m using transfer tape to keep the lettering together so I don’t have to manually line them up.

And the first look at the lettering added! Still need to add the shadow.

And a closer look. you can tell the pinup is just taped on, with the shadow from where she isn’t flush on the Jeep. But it’s giving me a good look at how it’ll end up looking!

As darkness started to fall that evening, I quickly snapped some shots before going in. I’m thinking it’s perfect!

The next day, I added the shadowing, which actually made it look painted on. The vinyl is so thin, it doesn’t have much of an edge lip, and honestly doesn’t feel any more raised than my hood markings!

Here’s a close up look at the shadowing. The shadowing was done in photoshop by copying the white lettering and turning it black, then offsetting it from the white down and to the right. I then expanded the size of the white lettering and removed that from the black shadowing. It gives it a painted look.

And of course, the F stamp!

Going back to the pinup, I decided to do the same treatment to it for now. So I found some printable vinyl, printed out the pinup (two of them, one to test spraying it with some top coat) and used the Cricut to cut it out to make perfect stickers.

After I sprayed the one pinup test with a Rustoleum matte clear coat, I waited to see how it responded to the spray. It actually made it darker, and left it with a weir film over the edges. So I decided against it. I figure, if the vinyl ever fades from the sun, I can just make new ones or (when I decide it’s what I want for sure) have it painted.

So here it is, added to the windshield! Looks pretty darn good, and the pinup (now vinyl), looks much better.

I think the nose art is a good combination of something vintage, something personal, and something literal.

So I took the Jeep out to a new location for some photos with the new nose art!

Looks good!

I think it’s a nice balance between pinup and the lettering, making it not obnoxious and just a side note to the Jeep.

And with that, I also started a design for an A-2 jacket, something with an Army Air Force theme to it (since the Jeep is AAF) with everything. I think this will turn out nice!

So that ends the nose art and the name of the Jeep for now! Aside from still needing to change the hood numbers from the estimated ones I had gotten to the actual ones I discovered on my original hood, another thing for the future I might change is the hood star. So far, two photos of Jeeps I’ve seen on Horham Airfield in the UK during WW2 have the D-Day broken circle star. So I will probably change to that when I acquire another original hood.

On to the next thing! Last week I talked about how I got some original 1942 Firestone F-40 spark plugs (three of them for now) and installed them into my Jeep. Firestone F-40s were one type of three (Champion QM2, Autolite AN7) that were used in Jeeps.

A week later, the engine is still running GREAT with these Spark Plugs. I hope to get a fourth (and maybe several more) in about two weeks! Another nice original addition to the Jeep.

And now an update on the GPW axles I’m restoring to replace the CJ axles on my Jeep currently… this is the ‘calm before the storm’ as this coming weekend I hope to set the ring and pinion along with repairing the rear axle crack. Once that’s done (thanks to a friend), I should be able to begin rebuilding the axles for eventual replacement!

Once the axles and steering system are replaced (which will be heavily documented), I’ll then be putting the combat rims with the Firestone tires on. Can’t wait till I get to that point!

One thing I wanted to start inspecting is the springs and shocks, as I’d be doing a full restoration of those while they are off. The rear springs, shown here, are not on the frame shock brackets… in fact, those brackets are missing. I have a take-off pair I restored that I will be riveting and welding to the Frame (like they would be). Whoever put the CJ axles on my Jeep also ‘bubba’d’ the rear ones by using a bolt to secure them to what should be the bottom rivet hole for the shock bracket. So I wanted to find out, are these non-standard brackets?

The front shocks are correctly mounted on shock brackets riveted/welded to the frame, as shown here. I’ll be checking out what shocks these are in next week’s update.

Going back to the rear shocks, the first sign that they might actually be original shocks is the correct rock guard on the bottom of the springs.

It also has a tapered lower edge… so I went ahead and started searching for markings. Carefully using a wire wheel under the Jeep, I soon started to see some markings.

Getting a closer look, they appear to be GABRIEL shocks, correct for GPWs! They appear to say… GABRIELClevelandMade In USAUS Patents2182016 RE21908OTHERS PENDSERIAL 454

The markings are a bit worn in some spots, so it’s hard to exactly tell. But they do seem to be originals…

I found not using flash helped in some spots to see the markings better.

Moving to the other side, it appears to be the same lettering, also GABRIEL shocks.

I couldn’t quite get back there to see all the markings, but I’m pretty confident they are original.

After doing some research into Gabriel shocks, I found many GPW ones had a F stamp above the markings I found, so I moved up to look for one. They were worn more as I went up on both, but on the driver’s side rear spring, I spotted these faint marks. It could just be my eyes, but that does seem to be like the partial top of a F stamp.

Here’s a look at where that mark is in relation to the main markings. It seems to be in about the right spot.

And for further verification, here’s what I’m seeing. The blue arrows point to the marking, and I drew in red what I think it looks like. It’s perfectly lined up with the GABRIEL marking… What say you internet?

Wrapping up today’s post, a few parting thoughts. First, I found this fun metal sign at Hobby Lobby! Perfect for hanging in the garage.

And one thing I’ll be doing next week is working on a fire extinguisher I just acquired on eBay for the Jeep to replace the post-war one I used in the meantime! That will include a full cleaning, removal of the brass plate, repainting, and adding a final correct late-war style SOS decal!

And that’s it for this week, as mentioned… this is the calm before the storm. If all goes well with the axle work on Sunday, then it should be a VERY busy few weeks with busy updates! Till next week….