Bob travels to Chickamauga, Georgia to visit Matt Fox at Quarter Ton Military Parts. Matt turned his passion for military collecting into a full time business, helping others find those unique and rare items they may need to finish a restoration.
In this episode, Bob will highlight some of Matt’s personal collection and we’ll even get a peek at his “secret stash” of very rare items.
[Bob Redfern] Welcome to Military Collectors. This week we’re in Chickamauga, Georgia. We’re going to have a special guest, the CEO of Quarter Ton Military, Matt Fox. He’s got a great store down there for all of you military collectors who need items from World War II, on up, for Jeeps, you name it Matt Foxe’s got it. Right here on Military Collectors. [Music]
[Bob] Well, folks when America’s wars have gone silent from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam. When they all go silent a lot of these things end up in collectors just like the one we’re gonna introduce you today and it’s Matt Fox in Chickamauga, Georgia at Quarter Ton Military Parts. And Matt I want to welcome you to Military Collectors. No, thanks Bob. You are one of those special guys then that you locate and find that has a boneyard like this. Tell me a little bit about you and your your, your passion for collecting and Quarter Ton Military parts.
[Matt Fox] Oh well, we start, I started this back when I was about 13. I got my first Jeep and got taken away from me when we drove it through the back of the garage. Knocked the wall out and crushed my sister’s bicycle but been doing it ever since. Went to school, for ah, got a degree as a park ranger or outdoor recreation and park management and started doing that but kept collecting these things and lost a job and started selling my collection off and I guess it’s kind of the American dream, you know. Your hobby turns into a business and then it kind of quits becoming a hobby and turns into all business. So, it’s, it’s interesting.
[Bob] Well listen, I mean, you, you came to Chickamauga here which is right on the backside of a one of the famous Civil War battlefields here in North Georgia. How did you… how did you end up here, you know, I mean pick this spot? Because I mean of all places that you could have come I know you were, you were living at Lookout Mountain and that sort of thing, I mean, it’s unique.
[Matt] Its default [laughter]. This little area was cut off when they built the bypass and we basically… property was cheap and this place was overgrown and falling apart and me and a friend I actually went together and bought it and we ran two businesses out of here for several years. And he ended up buying a larger building and we bought him out and moved up to the front building. And now we have the whole piece of property and well we’re kind of filling it up.
[Bob] Well, you know, one unique things as I walk around and I see all this lines of old historical..(yeah!)…actually pieces of and it’s not junk, you know. To the most folks they would say “Man, what do you do about..?” Listen, there’s somebody out there who will pay big bucks for the smallest or the largest parts and you have it here. I mean, you you, obviously have had a lot more but you still got a lot.
[Matt] [laughs] I don’t know, it’s the nature of the beast, you know. These things, they don’t make them anymore and every little small part counts. You know we don’t scrap. Anything we don’t have to because there’s somebody out there who needs this stuff and when you can’t find it where do you go? You know?
[Bob] Well, Quarter Ton Military Parts is you, focus on… just give the folks that kind of a gist of the years. Okay, you you kind of stopped short of Vietnam but you’re from World War II all the way up.
[Matt] Right, we deal with the… of course the MB, the G-P-W the CG-2A, 3a, 3B ah… the M38, 38a1 and the N170. Now we do get occasionally we get some M151 parts. That’s just… you know, stuff like that’s usually mixed in with everything because a lot of is interchangeable. And then now we’ve got a hold of a couple of surplus yards and we’re actually doing some bigger truck parts. Just kind of by default, you know don’t want to see the stuff get scrapped so we’re trying to you know, get that stuff out so people can use it.
[Bob] Well in your 33 years, okay I’m gonna kind of date him because he’s 46 certainly 47, you’ll have a birthday coming. But in your 33 years of collecting and doing this business amassing a collection like this for business that, that, that has to be exciting for you and still finding pockets of stuff out there. It’s out there! [laughter] How do you locate?
[Matt] It’s uh, uh, it’s kind of funny. Craigslist! We get a lot of Craigslist. We do a lot of work with museums and people will actually contact museums and say well my husband died or my granddad died or you know we have all this stuff that dad collected and we don’t want… to know what to do with it. Do you want it? We’re gonna throw it away or what? And they’ll contact me or, you know, and say well, this stuff is available we don’t want to see it get scrapped and we’ll go in and you know make an offer and buy it or, or help you know, help the people sell it or you know, just whatever, whatever we can do to get the stuff out people on the market out there because they don’t make it anymore.
[Bob] Well, you know, and I, I want to focus on a little bit of that and folks stay tuned for more Military Collectors because when we come back, Matt is going to show us some of the more unique items that he’s found at some locations and for a lot of you collectors out there who may have a World War II era Jeep or maybe a Korea, um…some of the things that we may show you will surprise you that it’s still out there. Stay tuned, won’t you?
[Bob] Well, every collector has his secret stash. Every collector and folks there in the business they also have new old stock parts okay and I’m looking at one right here. You know Matt, this thing still got the tag on it. Oh yeah! But one of the unique things that you have here… tell me about what’s in these crates.
[Matt] These are actually new old stock N38 A1 fenders. It’s a left and a right. (Wow!) And a lot of people don’t realize that there’s still a few out there it’s the it’s the right front fender that you can’t find because actually the government never requisitioned the right front fender as a spare part. So anytime you find a new old stock right front fender, it’s normally an M170. They did for the N170 ambulance but for the 38A1 they didn’t do it. (I’ll be darned!) So they’re extremely rare and and this one here is a new old stock right front fender. And that’s the one that everybody always hits and tears up.
[Bob] Yep, because the driver couldn’t see what…
[Matt] Exactly! and it’s the early style with the with the leg that goes down that’s what you would see, uh… you know, 53, 52, 53, 54.
[Bob] And you got it here at Quarter Ton Military Parts.
[Matt] I got one or two, they’re kinda hard to find.
[Bob] Well, now I have to ask you now, this secret room that you guys always have…(Oh Lord!) Everybody always has that secret room with the parts that nobody ever knows about. [Matt] Yeah, you caught me!
[Bob] Okay, well listen. Folks, we’re headed over to the secret room, okay, and you’re going to get a Military Collector first right here Quarter Ton Military Parts!
[Bob] Well folks, I know this room in here doesn’t look like much, okay, to a collector, this is where the secret stash is, okay. One of the most unique things that you’ve got in your secret parts stash, okay, because I see when we were talking new old stock, still original packaging and all that kind of thing.
[Matt] Oh yeah! [laughs] I think the prize of my collection is well, it’s it’s a Ford… it’s a new old stock Ford steering wheel. I mean it’s still in the original box with the original label on it but what’s so unique about it it’s the early black one. It’s a sheller. You don’t see the early black ones like that especially in in normal production. This is what you would have seen on their early script Fords. Having a very first production for jeeps that were, you know, the first contract. (Right!) And so, that kind of makes this the rare of the rare, I mean.
[Bob] Is this the only one you have?
[Matt] This one, only one I’ve got.
[Bob] Only one. What’s that thing worth, roughly?
[Matt] I sold some, some metal spoke new old stock ones I found years ago and they went for fifteen to seventeen hundred…I, I don’t really wouldn’t even know where to price it. I mean, it’s probably, it’d probably bring probably, two thousand or something but I mean, the thing that it’s still in the box would be almost a shame to use it. (Exactly!) I mean, it’s just, yeah, they just don’t exist and it’s, it’s some.. it’s more of a Museum piece than it would be on a Jeep.
[Bob] Exactly! one other item, okay?
[Matt] Oh yeah, it’s my favorite over here… okay, good old greasy Cosmoline!
[Bob] Listen, I don’t want to…
[Matt] Oh yeah, I found these at a surplus yard. This was kind of… I know it looks horrible but it’s a, it’s a YS 637. It’s early with the penny and the bowl. These are some of the rarest carburetors for the M38, that’s the flat fender 24 volt Jeeps. We just, just a dumb discovery. We covered, uncovered them cleaning out a storage container and the guy who had’em, it actually… He knew what they were. He actually stashed’em away back in the very back corner of a cabinet. And they were rebuilt by the government and they were sprayed with Cosmoline and then covered up in this whole greasy stuff.
[Bob] Goodness! And those are worth what? Five, six hundred?
[Matt] Yeah, they’re anywhere from four twenty five to five. Okay. I mean, yeah, there’s a little bit of surface rust on it but hey, it’s, you know, 50, 60 years old and it’s been in storage that long. But yeah, this is one of the one of the rare carburetors that’s really hard to find and very sought-after by the the purist when, when they’re building an M38. I also got the newer style. This is a first, first style of the 637.
[Matt] Wow! Well, I tell you Matt, this is impressive and folks listen, there’s so many more things in his secret stash room. We just can’t cover them all but listen if you’d like to talk parts. Reach out to Matt Fox at Quarter Ton Military Parts okay. Go to. MilitaryCollectorstv.com. His icon will be there, his emails, his phone numbers. This guy, if you are restoring a vehicle, this guy’s probably got the parts to do it with right here. One of the largest in the country, maybe even one of the largest in the world right down here in Chickamauga, Georgia. Okay, stay tuned, when we come back, this guy is also a restoration expert, okay, and I say expert because again the things that we’re going to show you and the one vehicle that he restored will really surprise you. Stay tuned for more Military Collectors.
[Music] Welcome back. Military history still lives in Chickamauga, Georgia. Not Civil War but we’re talking Matt Fox and Quarter Ton Military Parts and he’s going to show us some of his restoration projects, okay, we’ve got several here inside the shop. You know Matt, let’s talk about this one because this is headed to a museum…(mm-hmm)…up in Monteagle Tennessee, yes? right? Tell me just a little quick run over about this.
[Matt] Okay, this is actually a 1964 USMC MCM38A1. This was a contract Jeep. A lot of those jeeps, a lot of these in this area were released out of Albany to the Civil Defense units. And since nobody ever restored civil defense jeeps and I like weird stuff. It’s a Civil Defense Jeep!
[Bob] I’ll be darned!
[Matt] We put it back to its former life and this is more or less a realistic restoration. I mean, we don’t go around and knock all the dents out and I mean, it still got flaking paint and all that on it but when a civil defense unit got a wore out Marine Corps Jeep they were like that to begin with so it’s, it’s very realistic I mean, it still has the holes where the rectifier went for the radio or the the xenon Searchlight. We just basically left, left it beat up just like the civil defense would’ve got it. So, it’s not over restored, I mean, there’s like overspray… (yeah) …you gotta remember, these guys weren’t worried about it (nope) It was used for rescues and so we’re trying to put it back as realistically as we can.
[Bob] We’ll see, I’m probably dating myself, but I still remember back in the 60s when they were rotating out the civil defense, I mean those big tins with them biscuits! I remember those! All right, let’s walk over here because you’ve got a project in progress here. Tell us about this one real quick.
[Matt] This is a WC 21, is that right? (Yes!) Can I get, I get my numbers all mixed up it’s a, it’s a WC 21 command car. It’s a, it’s actually a European bring back. It was in Denmark. He was in England during the Second World War and since the half-tones were too light for combat according to the army, it never really went into mainland Europe until after the war. It was brought back through Savannah. It was purchased by a surplus dealer and basically stuck in a, stuck in his barn or shed for, for years and when he died, we bought it off the estate and I started building it.
[Bob] And this color, this is kind of unique to help you yeah because they’re gonna think well that’s not that…
[Matt] Everybody thinks it’s progress. (it’s not) No, this is, this is actually, oh, it’s ugly, I know it’s ugly but this, this is called pre-war olive drab. It’s, a lot of people say, “Well, hey, you picked it before it was right!” but no, that’s, that’s what this vehicle… that’s what the original color was.
[Bob] Oh, and also over here, of course this is this, that’s the the body.
[Matt] That’s the body still in the Danish blue (Wow!) and we got the scratching on it to find the original color and there it is. (Wow) That’s the original, the pre-war green under, under all the other different colors of olive drab.
[Bob] Now how long, just roughly, will you and your guys work, will it take to work to get this thing back in the museum show? (Wow!) year or two?
[Matt] Yeah, it’s gonna take… we’re not, I don’t normally work on Dodges, this… I like weird stuff and the weird stuff usually takes a whole lot longer to restore than just a Jeep. A Jeep? Ah! that’s easy. (I gotcha) But but when it comes to Dodge that, I’m not real familiar with it’s all, like it’s a learning curve. I’m learning all about this and it’s, it’s. I think the fun part is just learning about’em.
[Bob] I tell you what, I’m kind of excited about this next one, okay, and, and folks, we’re headed over now and we’re going to take a look at another project that is a restoration beauty that I know some of you guys out there will recognize and Matt has really done it up well. Stay tuned, because when we come back, well, this is going to be a surprise restoration project here at Quarter Ton Military Parts.
[Bob] Well folks, what we find all over the country, folks that are in the business, they’re also passionate about collecting as well as restoring vehicles and in their own collection, we’ve got a special one here down at Quarter Ton Military Parts, Matt Fox has got a M2 Scout car that’s absolutely immaculate. All right Matt, back it up Bud! Oh my goodness, this thing is absolutely beautiful my friend. Look at this thing, Wow! Okay, tell me quickly about the backstory on this thing.
[Matt] This one was actually in North Africa during the Second World War and was basically followed up the boot hill of Italy and after the end of the war the Greek government got it and to rebuild their army with and in the early sixties a place called Sarafan imported a couple of these and the government made them cut them all up and we literally put it back together. And here she is! Well now, you acquired this when, roughly? [Matt] I’ve had this about five or six years now. (okay) I got it from a buddy of mine, a customer, and he done a pretty good job on it and we had to go back through it and fix a lot of stuff that he just got, I think he just got tired of working on it. So.
[Bob] I mean, military vehicles, they’re expensive, (yes, they are.) [Laughter] Expensive to maintain, they’re neat, but as long as they are running…
[Matt] Yeah, but when they ain’t… it’s a whole different story.
[Bob] Well, I tell you you know one of the things, if you had to pass on some advice out there for a future collector, okay. Now you sell the parts, you’re a collector, you’re a passionate guy about all this stuff, what one big piece of advice would you give for somebody that wanted a Jeep okay uh-huh and called you and said, “Hey, Matt, I want a Jeep!” What would you tell’em?
[Matt] I’d say first of all do your research, research, research, research! That’s 100 percent of it and a lot of people don’t realize that the older the jeep you get the more expensive they get. And I know, the World War II Jeep is the icon, that’s what everybody wants. But, um, you know, if you’re starting out restoring a vehicle, some of the easiest ones are the M-series jeeps. Like the M38 and the M38A1. The M38A1s are very plentiful and also there’s a lot of CJ 2a and 3a is out there that people are cloning up as World War II Jeeps. But I think research is the biggest, the biggest part of it, you know. You know, price, price a water pump. price the distributor. Price stuff you have to, you have to have to keep the vehicle maintained. If you get a really unique vehicle, you’re gonna pay really unique prices because the stuffs just not out there.
[Bob] Well you know, the vehicles that I have, I bought, not only do I use in the production of the show (mm-hmm) but I also bought them as an investment and I just like’em. [Laughter] I’ve had all the way to twelve and I’m down to three and my wife is happy, okay, because a happy wife, happy life! (Exactly!) But, you know, for those folks that really want to do this, I think that you’re exactly right that’s great, great advice. But they need to find an honest guy like you here at Quarter Ton Military Parts because again what we find across the country (yeah, yeah) You know what I’m saying.
[Matt] Oh yeah, yeah, look out for the paint and drives, yeah.
[Bob] With that I want to go in, and see one last unique collection, (okay) then (okay) probably a lot of folks will be interested. So, let’s head on in. You park the Scout car man. (yeah!)
Well, Matt is a collector at heart and he’s got a special collection that he really puts all of his energy into and thats collecting World War II German helmets. Okay, now one like this one, I mean, listen, where on earth would you find with the original plus the guy’s name still in it? (Oh yeah!) Plus, you have a collection of nine that are kind of very very unique that you collected your personal self in Europe.
[Matt] I dug these.
[Bob] You did? Okay, what makes those nine so special.
[Matt] Well, the thing is, the the place you get’em and there’s no question that they’re real. (I got you) Especially when the guy’s still in them (right) but anyway, yeah, this one was dug at Stalingrad. We got this, well, out of a, out of a bunker that had collapsed and it’s kind of sad but the guy was still wearing it. But we, we, you know, you turn the remains in and everything’s good. He gets put back in his country and all that (Right) and buried in a grave but just it’s, just, it’s history it’s, it’s stuff that’s just not around anymore and you can’t, you can’t, hide history.
[Bob] Well, in your collection how many total of these German helmets do you have.
[Matt] I have no idea. I probably got…(50, 60, a hundred?) Probably… nah, I probably got about sixty five or seventy (do you really?) that and Japanese. I like to, I like the Japanese stuff too because, well, back when I was collecting those hot and heavy they weren’t reproducing them. So, you can, you know, now everybody’s reproducing stuff and it’s harder to find the original.
[Bob] Well, I mean, yeah, how unique is this?
[Matt] There’s no, there’s no question about when you dig it out of the ground if it’s real or not.
[Bob] Wow! well, well, you know Matt it’s been an awesome visit here. Military Collectors, it’s been… it’s just been an honor and a privilege to be here to showcase you, your collection, just Quarter Ton Military Parts. And so, if folks want a part for a jeep, they need to come here, they need to call you, go on the website, okay, and I do want to talk one quickly thing. Go to eBay, okay, because you have a great eBay store.
[Matt] We’ve got a big eBay store.
[Bob] And so, folks, if you want a part for a jeep, this guy’s got it. Okay, if he don’t, he’ll get it for you, okay.
[Matt] Or find somebody who has it.
[Bob] That’s our show this week from Chickamauga, Georgia and Quarter Ton Military Parts. I’d like to thank Matt Fox and all the great folks down there, his staff do a great job. If you need paint to parts and you’re restoring a military vehicle or jeep or you need one, reach out to Matt, go to militarycollectorstv.com and you can get his website from there and you to become a collector of military history. We’ll see you next week, right back here on Military Collectors! [Music]