“I was delivered from the hospital in a Willys Jeep ... The only new car my family ever had was my dad's Willys Wagon ... I learned to drive in that Willys ... Today, I'm still driving and restoring that same Willys Wagon ... I came into this world in a Willys and I'll go out with one."
Will Springer – organizer of the Southeast Willys Jeep Get Together – came by his love for all things Willys - early and honestly.
“In 1962, I remember the day my dad pulled gravel up to our little mountain home, and parked his brand-new Willys Wagon. Dad was normally a somber, shell-shocked WWII veteran. But that day, he was grinning, holding the steering wheel of a new Willys’ Jeep.”
Will’s whole life has been involved with that Willys, “Our first and only family vacation was in that ’62 wagon. It was actually a 'coon hunting trip for my dad. Sally the 'coon dog rode quietly at 50 mph from the Carolina mountains to Orlando, Florida, anticipating chasing those swamp 'coons.”
Other family activities included camping, church, Saturday grocery runs, and self-driving lessons on Georgia back roads. "On another hunting trip to Georgia, Dad let me drive alone out a sandy road from the hunting camp. I felt 10 foot tall and bullet proof."
Will’s hard-working dad was a carpenter. "He worked out that Jeep until he retired and never once washed it." He kept it greased and never "strained it." It even has the original clutch. Will's dad oiled the tailgate hinge and protected the wood slats. Today, the tailgate is solid and the floor is in good shape. "It's a rust bucket. Dad got all the good out of that wagon. It's a mess."
As the organizer of the Southeast Willys Jeep Get Together, Will brings enthusiasm and savvy honed by his years of attending Willys Jeep shows, and other car shows. He’s traveled to Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, talking shop, learning tiny details, seeing how car shows work, going to technical sessions, riding through Gettysburg in a Willys Jeep, and touring the home of General Eisenhower – the man who ultimately and most momentously dispatched the greatest number of Jeeps on their most world-saving and most world-changing missions.
The Willys Jeeps’ creation, rollout and history is a great American success story. When the tiny American Bantam Car Company hired an independent engineer Karl Probst to help design the first Willys Jeep, it changed the course of history for the American war effort and laid the groundwork for today’s Jeep. "I love going to Butler. Thousands of Jeeps."
"Willys guys needed their own event in the South and we got the perfect spot. Asheville/Hendersonville has lots to see and do.”
Even today, Will still has that ’62 wagon and drives it every week. It’s been rolled, rebuilt, repainted, rusted out, repaired and now under restoration. Clearly, Will is no late-comer to the Willys Jeep thing.
Will invites you to exhibit, sell parts, attend or get involved with the Southeast Willys Jeep Get Together.
Meet Your Host & Jeep Brother
Southeast Willys Jeep Get Together
First Saturday in October
10 am - 3 pm
65 Wilkie Way
Fletcher, NC 28732
495 Cardinal Road
Mills River, NC 28759