The Willys Years
When I was 5, we lived in Flour Bluff, Texas. My attraction to Jeeps trucks started at an early age. Flour Bluff was later consumed by the city of Corpus Christi. My father was in the Navy and went into a three man partnership with two other sailors for this rig. It was a 1951 Willys Overland Wagon, had the old flat head four in it, would often forge water up past the floor boards and get through pretty soft sand with street tires. This allowed us to fish down in the Big Shell part of Padre Island. And fish we did! The above photo was taken during Hurrricane Carla in September 1961. The Jeep was sitting in the back yard on Amber Street during the storm. It was the standard green color with a white top. Not long after the storm had passed, my father attempted to ford a pass through the island and lost the old Willys to a rising tide. It was later recovered but was wasted by being submerged in the salt water. The last time I saw any trace of this truck was in 1969. It was rusted down to the frame and running gear. Farewell old friend!
This is me at 6 with Big Moose and his 9 foot Lemon shark on July 9, 1961. The Jeep was great for camping and fishing trips! There were high shell banks that made driving the beach a challenge. Nick is in the background rustling up something to eat. He was one of the partners in ownership of the Jeep.
This is Nick with the longest fish ever caught on rod and reel from the Texas coast. It was 17 feet 5 inches long and weighed 1300 lbs! This picture was taken at the Cabanas at Bob Hall Pier June 24, 1961. We had a trailer we towed behind the Jeep (seen on the left). The Sawfish was pulled up through the back of the trailer and up over the top of the Jeep with the help of some other four wheel drives to make the 35 mile trip to Bob Hall Pier. The little Jeep could sure haul a load!
This is Nick and Big Moose with a couple nice red fish in May 1961 on Padre Island.
Being a Navy family, we moved a lot. We always seemed to come back to Corpus Christi. The summer of 1965, we fished with Harold on Padre Island. He had a 1955 Willys truck with a six cylinder engine. Harold was a welder and built wide rims to balloon the street tires out for better float on the sand and had a nice home made camper on the back. These pictures were taken on Labor Day weekend 1965.
My father, Karl Boardman, Padre Island Beachmaster for 40 years now. Looking out for the next big one!