Russ Lawton & His 1951 Jeepster “Charlene”

Russ Lawton has joined our expedition. He’s driving his 1951 Jeepster. When not jeeping, he operates a machine shop. Russ will be joined by Tom Ogle, also from Paris. Tom is a Retired mail carrier, now full time cattle rancher and admitted Willys Jeep addict, too. His latest creation is a John Wayne movie themed from Hatari.


Though Bob’s pride and joy is (after his wife and cats) his CJ-3B, lately he’s been focusing on a different jeep, the restoration of a Jeepster.

The Jeepster was first introduced in 1948 by Willys Overland. It was their first post-war sports model. Though it was built on a jeep chassis, it was actually a 2WD vehicle. Hoping to entice those interested in a more luxurious jeep, the Jeepster included numerous deluxe features and interior fittings in addition to a high level of standard equipment that cost extra on other automobiles. These included, among many others, whitewall tires, hubcaps with bright trim rings, sun visors, deluxe steering wheel, wind wings, locking glovebox, cigar lighter, as well a continental tire with a fabric cover.

Unfortunately for Willys Overland, the model proved unpopular. Less than 20,000 units were produced and the model was ended in 1950. In the 1960s, Jeep revived the Jeepster under the name Jeepster Commando. But, they didn’t prove all that popular either.