There are thousands of antiques to ask Sid van der Meer about, however, his most recent addition has been the latest topic of discussion. The 1949 Jeep, that was once gold, has now faded to a stil de grain yellow as it basks in the dry sun. “The yellow is chipping in some areas and you can see that its army green underneath,” Sid points out. The shiny red rims reflect the sun’s rays while the moss that lines the window frames soak up nutrients. The Jeep’s front end is similar to that of the modern Jeep, however the shape of the cab is not.
“My son John had found it and I traded a ’49 Ford for it. We took a 1993 Chevy S10 pickup truck and stripped it, then took the body of the Jeep and put it on the Chevy frame,” Sid tells me. “We had to move the entire motor and tranny back by 7½ inches to fit the Jeep’s small size.
“The Jeep now has the S10 drive, power steering, its dash and a V6 engine. It drives like a new car!”
The yellow Jeep is surely one-of-a-kind and if the bright colour doesn’t catch your eye perhaps the oddness of accessories will.
“There were a couple of bad spots with rust so I covered the holes with old license plates and signs.” Sid had bent and sculpted the Yukon license plates to fit flush with the corner. “The tailgate is an old Firestone tire sign from the ’50s and it was the perfect width.”
The bright red sign stands out as you follow Sid down the Alaska Highway. “I like the look of it,” Sid says charismatically.
I recall that before Sid buffed the paint, the Jeep had words and a happy face written across the doors and roof. I asked Sid’s son, John, why those words were there.
“That was back in the day when it was a mud bogger. Just… sponsors,” John says.
“John built the front bumper and we cut holes in an old jerry can and put the gas filler in it so it would go through the jerry can,” Sid explains standing proudly by the side of the Jeep, which oddly resembles its owner.
Sid’s latest touch is the addition of a painting as an inside driver’s door panel. The mountainous landscape works surprisingly well with the Jeep’s aesthetic. I asked Sid if he calls the Jeep a “rat rod” and he was very adamant that he doesn’t like the term rat rod, but prefers to call the Jeep a “hot rod.”
To Sid, “it’s always been hot rod.”
Visit Beaver Creek, Yukon today and go for a cruise in Sid’s hot rod Jeep.