After taking America to war in Europe, Willys came back and made
the military Jeep a household name with the Jeepster and its many
derivatives. This 1947 Willys Wagon is a great example of the
utility, style, and rugged character that they built for a market
clamoring for new vehicles and fresh ideas. But under the skin,
it's fully updated with V8 power, an independent front suspension,
and all the modern conveniences inside the upgraded interior.
The handsome, upright wagon body says Jeep as loudly as any modern
CJ, and it's instantly recognized the world over. Restored just
2,705 miles ago, it remains in very nice condition, and has come
from a careful owner where it was obviously very well maintained.
The finish is great driver-quality and makes this handsome wagon
stand out not just for being unusual, but also for being gorgeous.
It has a lovely gloss that looks entirely appropriate on the mini
SUV's bodywork, and the white-on-red colors work rather well,
preserving the vintage look but making it much more appealing. The
recessed panels on the bodywork re adorned with decals and don't
just simulate the conventional woody styling, but also strengthen
the overall look of the bodywork, making this a sturdy little
trucklet that can do a lot more than you'd guess at first glance.
It also offers nice chrome bumpers, tinted glass, a roof rack, and
little else that would suggest there's serious firepower hiding
You'll find that the interior has been upgraded far beyond the
basic little appliance it was in 1947. Power leather bucket seats,
plush carpets up front, and a tautly finished headliner are all
nods to comfort that the original lacked, and it's remarkable just
how right everything looks in there. Custom door panels match the
side panels in the rear of the cabin, and a rear bench provides
more room for friends, so this Willys is now a first-class
cross-country traveler. Upgrades like R134a A/C (controls are in
the glove box), a powerful AM/FM/CD/Bluetooth stereo system, remote
door openers, and a full set of Auto Meter gauges beyond the
steering wheel and in the center of the dash make it feel very
modern from behind the wheel. On the other hand, you still have
things like the upright windshield in front of you, so it feels
vintage at the same time. The rear compartment is fully upholstered
on the side panels and offers speakers so it's ideal for tailgating
or road trips, and the flooring is finished with wood slats just
like the originals.
Performance was given a massive upgrade in the form of a 350 cubic
inch Chevy V8. The original 4-cylinder (or optional 6-cylinder)
engine had modest performance, but this V8 makes the Willys feel
like a legitimate hot rod. Of course, it's got a Quadrajet 4-barrel
carburetor, a matching aluminum intake manifold, and HEI
distributor, and Hooker headers that feed a Flowmaster dual exhaust
system that is about the only thing that gives away this Willys'
secrets. The accessories are tucked in tight to the block and it
uses a giant aluminum radiator up front to keep everything nice and
cool. Underneath there's an S10 chassis on custom body mounts, a
TH350 3-speed automatic transmission, and a 10-bolt rear end that
combine to make this a fantastic highway cruiser. The engine has
less than 3000 miles on the build, so it's still quite fresh and
with power steering and power front disc brakes, it's as easy to
drive as a modern SUV. Classic Cragar SS chrome wheels give it some
flash, and the modest 225/60/15 Firehawk Indy 500 blackwall tires
are exactly right for the serious little truck.
Back to basics was never as much fun as in this Willys wagon.
You'll appreciate its easy maintenance, utility, and especially the
smile it brings to everyone's face when they see it on the road.