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In the Garage: 1948 Navy Jeep

Paul Dooling bought this 1948 Navy Jeep in

Paul Dooling bought this 1948 Navy Jeep in September 2006. (Credit: Handout)

1948 Navy Jeep owned by Paul Dooling

When the first prototype of the Jeep (slang for the military’s “general purpose vehicle,” or “GP”) rolled out of the factory more than 72 years ago, it would be the beginning of a remarkable story. More than a million of the lightweight, rough-terrain vehicles would be produced during World War II alone. They would quickly distinguish themselves on the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific. When the war ended, Americans took to the Jeep like few other cars, both for recreational and family use.

And while today’s Jeeps have gone upscale, they are still among the most popular and best-known automotive brands. Dooling’s 1948 ride is dressed to the nines in naval paint and equipment. He describes his Jeep as a combination of leftover World War II parts and the new civilian postwar models. “It was used by the Navy for shore duty and that’s why there are regular tires on it,” he says. Military-type tires were in short supply and were not needed.”

Since September 2006

“I found the Jeep in the backyard of an old World War II veteran in Hempstead,” Dooling says. “It was sitting out in the rain and snow for five-plus years. He was glad to sell it to me and see it get a new life. I was able to blow up the tires and tow it home. It is amazing what can be found in backyards.”

“It has 63,000 miles on it and runs great,” he says of the Jeep, which still has its original drive train. “No leaks and no smoke. I drive it often. The (previous) owner told me it was owned by (founder) Henry Austin Clark of the old, now-long-closed, Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton. He used it to go fishing on the beach. His shop replaced some floorboards and installed a military rear body panel instead of the tailgate.”

“Buy something you can enjoy and use as a driver,” Dooling advises. “Check oils and change engine oil once or twice a year. Lube the chassis at the same time. All the parts are available with a little research.”

He estimates the value at $7,000.

Dooling’s Jeep can often be seen during parades and military vehicle displays at places such as the Cradle of Aviation and American Airpower museums. “I enjoy getting my hands dirty,” Dooling says. “I find old cars easy to fix and fun to drive without any drama. I also enjoy the chase for parts and goodies to dress up the ride. My wife says it changed her life, but she won’t say whether that’s good or bad.” 

If you have an antique, classic or collectible car to be considered for this page, please send your information and a jpg photo (at least 200 dpi) to David Fluhrer, Optimum Autos; e-mail:

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