1949 Willys Jeep
The first quarter ton, four-wheel drive reconnaissance truck "pilot
model" produced for the U.S. Army was built by the American Bantam
Car Company of Butler, Pa. It was delivered for testing to Camp
Holabird in Baltimore on Sept. 23, 1940. Subsequent designs by
Willys-Overland and Ford while important were refinements on this
original U.S. Army and American Bantam concept. Ultimately Willys
secured the lion's share of the contract from the Government mainly
due to its engine which was developed from an L134 Go Devil
For consignment a 7-passenger van in Willys Jeep style with a rare
jump seat in back. Some recent new chrome plating, and a two-tone
paint job, and a refurbished interior finished off just this year.
A wonderful boxy look for the body styling and of course the iconic
Prior to the war, woody station wagons were expensive hand-crafted
wood paneled luxury vehicles, but that would all change thanks to
designer Brooks Stevens. Willys-Overland wanted their new
product-line to leverage on the "jeep" success. The answer for
1946: the Willys-Overland all-steel, two-door, two-wheel drive
"Station Wagon" with a "woody-look. It was a hit, finally a woody
for masses! This model is bathed in bone white with the green
"paneled" woody style box on the back. One of the most distinctive
elements of the "Jeep" design is the flat slotted grill with
integrated headlights - for this - Ford gets the credit. Ford's
Pilot Model GP- No. 1 "Pygmy" featured a flat grille with
integrated headlights delivered to the U.S. Army on Nov. 23, 1940.
From thirteen slots (1940), to nine slots (1941), to seven slots
(1945) - that's the history of the iconic "Jeep" grille. A nicely
re-plated bumper on front with extra chromed tube style uppers is
on and in back a beautifully curved and re-plated bumper with
Willys script badge in the center in black. Just above is a hinged
upwardly mobile lift gate window, and below is the downwardly
mobile hinged tailgate. The body is mostly excellent although I can
note some cracking and waviness around the front wheel wells.
Wheels are red painted steel, and sport nice trim rings and center
moon caps shiny and bright. All corners are wrapped in wide whites
for that late 40's look.
A swing of the simple doors and we can see some tweed broadcloth in
light and dark brown screwed on panels all surrounded by the greed
trim color of the exterior. A push button actuator with a chromed
bezel and a central bakelite button opens the doors. Shiny cranks
and well-preserved armrests are here too. Inside, a green smooth
vinyl 80/20 front bench is noted with the larger seat in front of
the steering wheel and into the center. A jump seat is on the
passenger's side. These present nice and clean, with no tears and
some white piping to highlight them. Rubber floors are all over in
front, and a metal base with wood slats hold the remainder of the
seating (another 80/20 bench) then the rear jump seat making room
for the 7. Headliner is white and clean, and the remaining seats
are all excellent. The jump seat in the back is brown vinyl. A
square dash panel in the center houses all original gauges and some
of the insulation within the glass has pooled on the bottom of this
Under the hood is a fully restored engine bay and engine. A
pristine orange block in its 148ci inline 6-cylinder form sits in
the middle. This is fed by an oil bath cleaned 1-barrel carburetor,
and has a 3-speed manual transmission on back complete with
overdrive. The rear axle weighs in at 5.38 gear ratio. A nice lack
of many add-ons and certainly no emissions to clog this engine, one
could nearly step inside and work on the engine there is that much
open space! By the way, this engine has new main bearings and new
front and rear seals.
On our lift we see solid black rust free steel framing and
suspension. Primer red floor pans are like new particularly for the
passengers and the bed. The bottom end of the engine shows nary
even a drip and is ultra clean. Our consigner states it's a
remanufactured transmission with overdrive, and a new clutch was
installed in 2020.
It started with ease, and on the test track had smooth acceleration
with no breakneck power, but it gets you from point A to point B. I
noticed the brake light was non functioning, and the truck has a
very hard pull to the left under heavy braking, hence a bias
adjustment is in its future. All else was working and there were
several upgrades and redos in 2020.
A piece of history from a Government war contract to a very popular
vehicle among the civvies, this 7 passenger two tone painted all
steel Willys is a nice throwback to the early Jeep history, fully
operational and looking very "Jeepy!"
663-Willys Jeep Station Wagon
16970-Sequential Unit Number
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special
interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale
with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle
barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown,
Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia
on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is
www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914.
Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the
vehicle in person.