Ram Tough, or Rocky Mountain Sheep Tough?

This dog dish is one that sometimes confounds people; you might call it the hubcap equivalent of an “inkblot test.” What do you see?

That is a ram depicted within the grooves of this 1939 Dodge dog dish, a hubcap that was described this way in the ’39 sales brochure:

“New style hubcap, ten inches in diameter is designed with concentric circles to add to the speed motif – and give the car an appearance of fleetness even while it is standing still.”

The ram made its first appearance for Dodge in 1932. At its inception, however, Dodge was calling it a Rocky Mountain Sheep or Bighorn and, let’s face it, that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.


But why was this particular animal chosen to represent the company?  What follows is an excerpt from an explanation that appeared in a 1933 advertisement.  Note that, even though Dodge had already dropped the “Brothers,” from its name, it still gets a mention:

“Nimbly and sure-footedly invading the highest and most inaccessible spots, the Rocky Mountain Sheep – “the Bighorn” – reveals qualities typically expressive of the traditional characteristics of the Dodge Brothers Motor Cars. . . . . Those familiar with the romance disclosed in a study of this Rocky Mountain Sheep will grasp the significance of the fact that he has been chosen to symbolize the dignity, fleetness, and rugged strength of the new Dodge Motor Cars. . . . In this fine animal is found the perfect symbol of the sure-footed, agile dependability of the Dodge Six and Eight – of the characteristic Dodge ability to go and to keep going when all rivals falter – of the integrity and devotion to progress which continues to characterize the Dodge institution”

1932 Advertisement
1936 Dodge

Deciphering the Markings on a Vintage US Military Gas Can

We trekked over to Hastings, Nebraska, last weekend to check out the Military Relics & Weapon Show. I was hoping to find some Jeep parts, but there were none to be had. They did have this M38 on display, but that only served as a reminder that I had many unfinished projects waiting at home such as fixing the paint job on this vintage military gas can:

I am married to an old jarhead and liked the fact that this can was stamped “USMC.” Unfortunately, this particular “USMC” apparently stands for the manufacturer, U. S. Metal Container Company. According to the website jerrycan.com, the first line is the standard the can conforms to, the second is the initials of the manufacturer, and the last line (on my can) means 20 liters-5 gallons and the year manufactured. If it was a Marine Corps can, the USMC would be found on the side of the can. Mine says “US,” so what I have is an army can that was manufactured in 1968. I guess I will go ahead and paint it olive drab and then go fill it up before gas prices get any higher.

When Buying a New Willys-Overland Made the Papers

When the automobile industry was young, buying a new automobile was a newsworthy event and the newspapers of the early 1900s are full of such mentions. I was recently researching my great-grandfather and discovered he bought several new automobiles during this period of history.

From 1923:

And 1926:

Oops, also 1926:

My great-grandfather emigrated from Westphalia, Germany in 1881 when he was 13 years old and settled in Kearney County, Nebraska. Later, during World War II, there were many German POW camps in Nebraska, and he helped by reviewing prisoner correspondence at one of those camps, Camp Atlanta. He was a farmer and, like many in that vocation, embraced the new automobile trend with enthusiasm. His car of choice in 1918 was an Overland Light Six:

The seller, Lars Gundersen, was born in Norway and came to the United States in 1889. Originally a blacksmith, he entered the automobile business around the turn of the century and was the first mechanic and automobile dealer in Kearney County. By 1918, he was a Willys-Overland dealer and found a buyer in my ancestor. The newspaper doesn’t mention a body style, but that year the Light Six was available in a 5-Passenger Touring Sedan, a 3-Passenger Touring Coupe, a 5-Passenger Touring Car, and a 3-Passenger Roadster. This was just part of the full line offered by Willys-Overland in 1918:

The Overland was advertised as “The Thrift Car,” and a lot of them were made and sold. So many, in fact, that from 1912 through the war years, Willys-Overland was second in production only to Ford (a distant second, but second nonetheless).