This is a photo of my 1943 Ford Jeep being driven around by one of my kids and family a few years ago. I acquired it about 35 years ago from a farmer friend. It had definitely paid for itself. It was stripped of everything that could be removed, had elements of many different colors of paint on it, and came complete with drainage holes made in the floor with a pick, no brakes, and a cracked block. But it ran!
Happily, all parts were and are available for it, and it was built to be easily maintained. If you have ever wondered, the side handles are to enable four people to lift the body off after removing a few bolts, thus exposing everything. My oldest kid was approaching driver’s license age, and the others were feeling strong car envy, so my plan (successful) was to make it into a kid driving machine.
It was easy to find the necessary replacement parts and I used the time-honored crack treatment of inserting screws into overlapping tapped holes until they broke off – no further problem. Despite the lack of seat belts, turn signals, and most other now-required safety devices, I licensed it, and we were in business.
Despite the fact that it is slow, noisy, hard to steer, hard to stop, open to wind and rain, and without any sign of effort to provide comfort, I love it, even though it would seem to violate many of the “essential” elements of product quality that I talk about in my Good Products, Bad Products book.
It simply drips with personality, and I have had it apart so many times that we know each other well. I have slowly replaced the parts that were missing when I acquired it, and during its life with me it has been in good mechanical shape, A few years ago I spiffed it up and gave it the paint job of the fighter squadron my aging Air Force boss had been a member of in World War II in order to give him a chuckle. Oddly enough, when many people see it for the first time, they are torn between not understanding why I have it, and thinking maybe they would like one.
I wonder whether any products I am purchasing now will be loved in this manner 35 years from now. Somehow I doubt it.