Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jeep WWII Synthetic Tires Ad

Natural rubber was the preferred material for tire manufacturer prior to World War II. It was cheaper and readily available. While some of the naturally occurring rubber came from Africa, Central and South America - the bulk of it came from Southeast Asia (especially the Netherlands East Indies). This of course caused a problem as Japan controlled much of Southeast Asia in their expansion efforts.

Jeep vehicles and other military vehicles would be stopped in their tracks without a substitute for natural rubber in their tires. Planes, trucks and Jeep 4x4s all depended upon rubber to keep the War machine moving.

Synthetic rubber wasn't new technology, it was typically a mixture of oil, natural gas, coal, acetylene, and other items. But it was expensive.

B.F. Goodrich Company, with the help of scientist Waldo Semon, developed an cost-effective synthetic rubber call Ameripol in 1940.

The first synthetic tire was unveiled to the U.S. public by B.F. Goodrich on June 4, 1940, eighteen months before Pearl Harbor. More than half of the tire was synthetic, but was 1/3 more expensive.

The U.S. Government launched a major campaign (some of which was top secret) to help improve synthetic rubber production lower costs. The nations technical powerhouses came together during the war to produce a general purpose synthetic rubber known as GR-S (Government Rubber-Styrene), on a massive scale.

With the fear of losing the war at their hands, America's scientists, university research laboratories, and the petrochemical industry industry collaborated to produce almost a million tons of high-quality synthetic rubber in 18 months. Many called it an industrial and scientific miracle. Annual production increased from an annual output of 231 tons of general purpose rubber in 1941 to over 70,000 tons a month in 1945!

Tennessee Eastman began manufacturing hydroquinone (a photographic developer) for the war effort when it was found it helped keep synthetic rubber from becoming gummy.

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Firestone Tire and Rubber Company were instrumental in furthering the development of synthetic rubber products during World War II. According to the book World War II 1935-1945, the War Production Board ordered the construction of 50 synthetic rubber factories.

According to the book, The Magic City - Unemployment in a working-class community, "The government spent millions of dollars to build factories to produce synthetic rubber, which was then sold cheaply to companies making essential war material. After the war ended, Harvey Firestone, who was eager to preserve "free enterprise," spoke out strongly and successfully against government operation of these plants (Lief 1951:354).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jeep MA with Santa and Troops

Ma_with_Santa by lee.ekstrom
Ma_with_Santa, a photo by lee.ekstrom on Flickr.
Great Jeep historical Christmas Image from the archives. Santa Claus delivering a tree to the troops in a Willys MA "Jeep Sleigh". The honor guard and image were taken at Camp Lee, Virginia - part of the Quartermaster Replacement Center.

Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration Archives.

Gang Sign in WWII Philco Brag Ad

Advertising during World War II could often be very strong. Ad agencies had to tread a thin line between promoting patriotism and the war effort and bald-faced braggadioco look-what-we-did promotion.

This boastful in-your-face brag ad was produced by J. Walter Thompson for the Philco Corporation. W.H. Crawford, the illustrator, used a reverse V sign as a severe insult to the enemy.

According to - the gesture was one step away from flipping the bird. The European community was familiar with the sign as it meant, "F#@? You", or "Up Yours."

According to historian Juliet Barker in her Book, Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England (2006), King Henry V included references to the french cutting off longbowman's fingers. The two-fingered salute, or "longbowman salute" was a jab at the French to show the English were still going strong.

I especially like Philco's pledge to soldiers of industry in the second paragraph, "More-Better-Sooner." Nice slogan.

Today the symbol is used my many on the web as a friendly or nice gang sign. For those who want to be cool, but not want to flash the wrong sign.

For more on the V sign and it's many meanings - visit Wiki.

Image approved for research purposes only. Part of the Duke Library Digital Collection - J. Walter Thompson Advertising Collection.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pentastar V6 - One of Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2012

Ward's Automotive just named the Jeep Pentastar V6 engine in its "10 Best Engines" for 2012. Second year in a row. Pretty impressive. Only one of four repeat winners.

This engine was a big part of Wrangler & Wrangler Unlimited's success this past year: 40% more horsepower, 10% more torque, and 26% faster times from 0-60 mph.

Pretty impressive. I especially like the fact that the oil change interval was changed to 8,000 miles instead of the typical 6K. That and the clever top-mounted "canister free" oil filter - no more messy oil changes.

The engine was purpose built for off-roading. The upper and lower oil pans were engineered to supply oil even when driving at steep angles. Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited also received a higher-mounted alternator to allow for a full 30-inches of water fording capability.

Image was tweaked at

Learn more about Ward's 10 Best Engines here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit

You can count on the Jeep brand to deliver all-weather warriors. Ready for anything Mother Nature can throw your way.

The Washington Post seems to agree. Columnist Warren Brown called the Grand Cherokee "a long-distance runner if ever there was one." He went on to add, "We want ... the sense that we can handle anything likely to confront us on a long road trip. The Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers that sense of well-being, even with its standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine (260 foot-pounds of torque, 290 horsepower)."

Brown summarized, "It's a good feeling, not having to worry about slipping or sliding into misery..."

Agree wholeheartedly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Dan Neil of the Wall Street Journal describes the new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 as "one angry whale."

I love this article on so many fronts. Neil states the SRT8, "corners like an 80-foot sperm whale." And goes on to add that "This is the vehicle version of Ray Kurzweil's singularity theory."

Had to look that one up.

His ode to Melville's classic Moby Dick is entertaining to say the least. Check out the full article and corresponding video here:

Exerpt from the article:
"With a 6.4-liter, 470-horsepower Hemi V8 in the powder magazine and a series of very smart clutches and differentials delivering torque to all four half-shafts, the SRT8 hurls its 5,200-pound bulk to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and barrels through the quarter-mile just fat of 13 seconds. By those metrics, the hyper-Cherokee is the murdering, harpoon-straightening, bang-for-buck champion in performance SUVs, as fast as or faster than the pricier Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, Porsche Cayenne S, Range Rover Sport Supercharged, BMW X5 xDrive 35i or Audi Q7."

He goes on to say, "Now it starts to get interesting, because—as the SRT8 proves—we're getting to the point where vehicle type doesn't really matter. If the computer programming is supple enough and the on-board processing is fast enough, engineers can now virtually nullify effects caused by vehicle height, weight, roll centers and center of mass. Throw enough code at it and you can get a Ferrari to drive great in the snow, an Audi A8 with Quattro to drift like a tail-happy Toyota Supra, and you can get an 80-foot sperm whale—I mean, a Jeep Grand Cherokee—to corner like a sport sedan. This is the vehicle version of Ray Kurzweil's singularity theory."

Wow - this is great stuff. About the Kurzweil thing, as I understand it ... The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 represents a paradigm shift in vehicle capability through an exponential growth in technology and computing power. But whose responsible for "throwing the code" at the SRT8? None other than a creative and technologically savvy Jeep engineer named Jeff Roselli. He created a game-changing machine that is taking the performance world by storm.

Perhaps Roselli's title should change from Lead Vehicle Engineer and Development Manager for SRT8 to "Captain Roselli."

Now go to your local Jeep dealer and pick up one for yourself. But please, please leave your harpoons at home.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Properly secure all cargo.

A very versatile Jeep CJ-5. That's a full-size trophy Elk in the back. Thanks to Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star for posting.