Jeep A What? Jeep A Trench Barn Find!

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This 1957 Jeep was fitted with the “Jeep-A-Trench” attachment as well as a cab. It’s a fascinating look at how the Jeep was originally introduced to civilian life as a do-anything vehicle, and this unusual attachment is truly functional. The Jeep is located in Antwerp, Ohio and is up for sale here on eBay, where the buy-it-now is $8,500 but offers are being considered.

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image courtesy cj3binfo.com

When I saw this listing, I had to know more about this unusual attachment. Turns out they were offered directly from the Willys dealers! You can see the half cab on the left as well, which also looks to be a factory or dealer fitment. I was surprised to note that after reading the history of the Jeep-A-Trench here, they were manufactured by Auburn Machine Works, which is now called Auburn Consolidated Industries, which happens to be a manufacturing plant I’ve spent quite a bit of time inside for my day job! Who knew? Nice folks!

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Here’s the ID plate. The Gear-Draulic was a later iteration of the original trenching unit, which looks like it was mechanical. I found some videos of one in operation, you can take a look here.

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I’m guessing this mechanism in the front is the hydraulic pump for the system? Maybe one of you knows for sure. The yellow paint was applied about 15 years ago rather than the original baby blue you can see on the ID plate. I kinda like the yellow–but I’m not generally a baby blue fan. You may want to turn it back to original.

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The interior actually looks pretty darn nice. The seller says some patches were welded in at the time the body was painted yellow.8

Here’s the engine, along with some more blue paint if you want to match some. No, I don’t know what the large can is doing under the hood, although I’d hazard a guess it’s for running the engine without using the fuel tank, which probably means you have some cleaning to do along with the brake work the seller says it needs. Do you have a use for this one? Want to lay cable in your spare time?

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Comments

  1. Van

    Last time I trenches a yard beer was involved, and that was over 35 years ago.
    I haven’t mixed beer and driving since college.
    Could you use this as a stump grinder?

  2. rangeroger

    Jamie, that’s a snow plow lift on the front.
    When I lived in Fallbrook,CA, the avocado groves all used old jeeps to harvest. They had a hydraulic forklift on the back that held one fruit box. They could back up to the trees on the steep hillsides, a crew would load the box, and then they would drive out to a road, where a flat bed waited. They would set the box on the flatbed then head in for another load.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks, Rangeroger! I was curious. Around here, there are a lot of (believe it or not) first generation Broncos that are used to haul tobacco wagons. They are all WAY too rusted out/damaged to restore, but still in use…

    • John H

      That lift looks identical to the Meyer Electro-Lift still in use on my snow plowing tractor. You’re correct in that it is mounted too low for snow plow use, and was used for a dozer blade to backfill the trench.

      I remember the original ads for the trencher attachment but I think this is just the second I’ve seen mounted.

  3. rangeroger

    Thought about this last night after posting and realized the lift arm was too low. Figured the blade was used to back fill the trench. Looked at it again today, and sure enough, just look at the ad for the Jeep-A-Trench. Shows a blade being used exactly like that.

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