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The Newlywed’s Willys Version 1.0

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features

Back in January of 2010, Dan contacted me saying he and his fiancee wanted to trade their Willys wagon for a flattie (wagon is to the left).  After patiently waiting four months, they finally found someone to make the trade.  Their goal was to do a low budget build with more modern running gear.  Even more ambitiously, they wanted to complete the project by the end of summer. Here is their story of creating version 1.  There is plenty of additional work left, but it runs and drives well, so congrats to the newlyweds (may you have many more great adventures together)! And, let me know when the second iteration is complete 🙂

Dan also notes he still has the complete 1946 Willys chassis and drivetrain available for sale if anybody wants it.  (He’s in central Idaho).

Dan writes, “My fiancée (at the time) and i decided to get ourselves a Willys since both of us had always wanted one ever since we were little…

We thought that we would spend our weekends working on it in the months preceding our wedding and then use it as our getaway car for the ceremony (I even suggested a 4×4 trail out into the hills for the wedding but that was pushing it a little bit too far 🙂
We found our specimen (see below)  on eWillys and traded our ’62 wagon for it. *sniff sniff*

The motor was shot, but that didn’t bother me as i was planning on putting a toyota chassis and running gear under it.  The original plan was to put all of our time into the chassis and suspension and engine to make it SOLID and drivable. Then, later, restore the body at our leisure. However, once i started stripping down the body it became apparent that the body wouldn’t hold together without immediate work; the floors had galvanized metal screwed over them to give them an appearance of -something- but underneath was just rust held together by an occasional shred of metal. So, diamond plate and 18g metal were quickly purchased to make new floorpans with and the welding and grinding started.

For 2 months of weekends all we did was cut, grind, weld, grind and assemble (see pics). As we wanted to keep the budget tight, we gathered a variety of parts, including:

1965 toyota 4runner chassis
1983 toyota pickup axles
Completely rebuilt 22r motor
1987 5sp tranny/t-case
Rear driveshaft shorted to 11″
Front driveshaft lenghtened aprox 14″
Bought an m38 arctic top from an ewillys user over the hill in montana

We were pushing the limits trying to get it done in time for our wedding in august of 2010, but then a week before our wedding K got in a serious car accident and all work on the Willys stopped (of course) as we attended to her broken bones.

We still got married the next week -her with her jaw wired shut and on pain meds but, sadly, the Willys wasn’t able to attend the wedding. The following months we focussed our energies on work ($$) and working on our house. After Christmas passed I again had some free time available and set about finishing the project which was mostly connecting the new engine, building a clutch/brake pedal assembly and creating a wiring harness.

Finally, after many long weekends, last week she ran! We took a weekend trip up to see the in-laws in it the very next day. Other than a clogged fuel filter (old tank) and the brakes being sticky from disuse, he did awesome! The power steering is nice; K says that he’s even easier for her to drive than my toyota pickup.

Today i built a rear bumper for him and put in some better (hopefully) seats. There is still much to do like a complete front bumper, custom fuel tank (today i spied an air-compressor tank that looks like it might be perfect to modify and bolt underneath the back end.) and create a new tailgate.  Sometime this summer we hope to get around to doing some body work but for now maybe we can just try our different colors with rattle cans to see what we like (hey, we could have a different color every week!)

Can’t wait ’til the warm weather comes and we can take off the hardtop!

 

4 Comments on “The Newlywed’s Willys Version 1.0

  1. Craig B.

    THEY took a non running jeep maybe destined for the scrap heap and made a cool runner that no doubt give them much happiness through the years. Though I am an original restore kind of guy, I tip my hat to the lucky couple. It’s not too often you run into a wife that shares your passions and dreams. Hang on to that gal Dan, she sounds like a real keeper!

  2. Mark in Indiana

    First, Congratulations!
    Second, Any wife that enjoys all fun that a Jeep can bring (both the ridin’ & wrenchin’) is definitely a keeper.

  3. dan.m

    thank you both. -and i totally agree: however rare our willy may be, my woman is rarer; i plan on keeping her a looong time.

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