Bill Norris has had a fascination for anything mechanical for as long as he can remember. In fact, he began wrenching on automobiles with his dad when he was just four years old. Since that time has had a constant burning desire to disassemble everything within eye shot and then attempt to reassemble it. Sometimes there would be parts left over after reassembly but other times he was able to completely reassemble the object back to perfect working condition, much to his mother's joy.
As time went on, his mechanical abilities were focused more towards automobiles and particularly, Jeep vehicles — especially the earlier Willys models. When Bill was 14, his dad acquired their first Jeep: a 1948 CJ-2A. Later, the father and son team went on to perform a complete ground-up restoration on a 1947 CJ-2A, doing all but the body work themselves. This beautifully-restored Harvest Tan 2A has since been commissioned by marketing officials at Jeep for advertising in USA Today and on the internet. Furthermore, they used it for historical display at past annual Camp Jeep events. It has also been featured in three magazines including one where it commanded a cover story.
Along with his obsession for mechanical widgets, whirligigs and Jeeps, Bill is a history hound and a freelance writer. That combination of interests has led him to write numerous feature articles for Vintage Truck Magazine, Antique Power Magazine and the West Coast Willys newsletter, to name a few. Although he has written on numerous subjects, his primary focus has been on the history of Jeep vehicles. Bill has also been a featured speaker at various Jeep shows across the U.S. Additionally, he was interviewed by the Discovery Channel’s Ultimate Cars Series for their Ultimate 4-Wheel Drive segment.
Bill resides in Troy, MI with his wife, three children, three gold fish, Herman the turtle, a gorgeous 1947 Jeep CJ-2A and, of course, boxes and boxes of disassembled toasters, vacuum cleaners, blenders, coffee makers, computers, fuel pumps, speedometers and differentials.
Kevin Banonis collects, restores and thus constantly tinkers with vintage Jeep vehicles. He exclaims: “I buy ’em to drive ’em, not to park ’em.” He acquired his first Jeep, a half-cab/olive drab 1948 CJ-2A, almost 40 years ago and after all this time can still be seen rolling down the Blue Ridge Parkway towing a trailer piled high with boxes, baskets, buckets and different degrees of mangled tin bungied to an intact 7-slot grille. When he is not torching on rusty tubs or mixing up knuckle pudding, you can usually find him sitting at his Mac researching and laying out the Norris-Banonis calendars that are said to be “nice enough to be on your coffee table.” He also produces advertisements, posters, literature, t-shirts and cap designs for the Midwest Willys Reunion, a popular vintage Jeep show now in its 22nd year (MidwestWillysReunion.org).
Kevin is a trained firefighter and EMT and has been a member of fire departments in both Florida and Wisconsin. He and his wife Lora now reside in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
Bob Christy first discovered his love for photography at the age of 13 and it soon became his life-long passion. Today he is an accomplished photojournalist and the Coordinator of Photography for the Kent State University Communications and Marketing Department.
Bob’s professional work has been published in newspapers, magazines and on websites worldwide, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, MSNBC.com, and of course BrokenDownHeroes.com. He has covered three New Hampshire primaries and two baseball World Series. He has met and photographed four U.S. presidents, as well as countless U.S. senators, governors and congressmen. Bob has received honors from the Ohio News Photographer’s Association and the University Photographers of America Association.
From tricycles to bicycles, mini bikes to automobiles, Bob has, from an early age, held a deep fascination for anything mechanical. Today his mechanical interests are split between his 1953 Willys CJ-3B Jeep (which he bought in 1998 and has since beautifully restored himself) and a 1964 David Brown diesel tractor. About the only thing Bob hasn’t taken completely apart is his Hasselblad camera - yet.
Bob and his wife, Mindy, reside in a log cabin in the beautiful woods of Ohio.
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