Jeepster club hosts fall rally in New Ulm

Back by popular demand

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Midstates Jeepster Association member Ralph Machemehl of Lester Prairie poses with his Jeepster at the Best Western Plus in New Ulm Thursday. Machemehl and his wife Donna are hosts for the Midstates Jeepster Association that is spending the weekend in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — In case you happen to notice the group of unique-looking vehicles motoring around town this weekend, it could well be Midstates Jeepster Association (MJA) members at a tourist attraction.

“We were here 10 years ago and now we’re back because members said they wanted to return to New Ulm,” said Ralph Machemel of Lester Prairie, who along with his wife Donna, is hosting the group’s fall rally here.

“We’ve got about 66 club members coming from places as far away as Ohio and Texas,” Machemel said.

The group plans to visit the Glockenspiel, August Schell Brewing Co., and Hermannfest, to mention a few places.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday morning in an empty parking lot behind the Best Western Plus, club members will drive their Jeepsters on an obstacle course. Wives will tell their blind-folded husbands how to maneuver the course, Machemel said.

Dedicated to the restoration and preservation of 1948 to 1951 Willys-Overland Jeepsters, the club will hold its 2018 spring rally in Beloit, Wi. and a fall rally in Sandusky, Ohio.

Basic Jeepster models included many features and interior fittings besides many standard equipment items that cost extra on other vehicles. Deluxe features included hubcaps with bright trim rings, wind wings and a continental tire with fabric cover, among other things.

The Jeepster name was revived in 1966 with a new model, the C-101 Jeepster Commando, introduced to compete with the Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Bronco. American Motors, Willys-Overland’s successor, removed Jeepster from the name for 1972 of favor of the Jeep Commando. Production continued through 1973.

In 1971, a small number of Hurst Jeepsters were built with a console-mounted Hurst Dual Gate shifter or Hurst T-handle shifter for manual transmissions.


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