Fresh professional build, 351 V8, auto, A/C, leather, functional 4x4 system
- Condition: Used
- Make: Willys
- Year: 1954
- Mileage: 16
- VIN: 654FA211237
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
The first name in off-roading is Willys. Sure, there were some others like Marmon-Herrington and NAPCO, and Ford was building military Jeeps, but Willys was really the first company to put 4-wheel-drive into the hands of consumers, both for practicality and fun. And while it wasn't technically the first SUV, this 1954 Willys Utility Wagon was probably the first that fit the modern template: a tall station wagon that would go anywhere under any conditions. The one thing Willys didn't offer was performance, with their top engine being a flathead six that made about 100 horsepower. They'd get you where you were going if you had the time, but today, it's OK to expect more. We have physics-defying SUVs that can outrun sports cars of just a few years ago, so it's perfectly OK if you want a little excitement to go with your go-anywhere capabilities.
And this Willys delivers in a very big way.
It's a professional build by a shop whose work has appeared on magazine covers, been featured at the SEMA show, and illustrates the kind of craftsmanship that you get when you write a six-figure check. It was built to re-create a childhood memory of riding around in a similar Willys wagon with his parents, although we're pretty sure they never had the power and luxury this sizzling orange wagon delivers today. The colors are Sunset and Sunrise Orange Pearl, both from House of Kolor, and they make this awesome 4x4 simply glow. It started out as little more than a bare shell and a few boxes of parts, but thanks to a lot of time and money, it's absolutely stunning today. Professional paint and bodywork are show-quality and this is a vehicle that has already won more than its fair share of trophies, including at the Good Guys Nationals where competition is fierce. Most of it is original sheetmetal, but a few sections were fabricated and installed to make it look like new and you'll never see where old and new meet—it's done right. You'll also note that the flanks have an industrial look with airbrushed rivets and panels, a cool touch that makes this truck look a bit more rustic. The windshield was Vee'd to give it a seamless look and all the glass is tinted, which makes the boxy Willys look a bit sleeker. In addition, all the chrome was restored to show standards by Paul's Chrome, including the rear bumper with its cool â€œWillysâ€ script embossed on its face. Headlights are HID units and there are LEDs in the original taillights, so it has an updated look at night, too.
The interior gets a 21st century makeover as well. Gone are the original hard bench seats with industrial vinyl coatings, and in their place you'll find a set of ultraleather-wrapped power bucket seats up front and a reupholstered rear bench. The front seats are from a late-model and include drop-down armrests that seem appropriate in a truck. Handsome two-tone materials give it an upscale feel that brightens the whole interior, and that theme is continued on the custom door panels, side panels, and even the headliner, which is made of the same stuff. Amenities include all the usual upgrades: cold A/C, a tilt steering column with a wood-rimmed wheel, power windows, and a powerful AM/FM/DVD stereo system with fold-out video screen. The original glove box lids have been painted to match the exterior bodywork with the same airbrushed rivets and the factory gauges in the center of the dash still monitor the engine's vitals. And just for style points, there's a custom fire extinguisher mounted on the transmission tunnel which has been painted to match, including the airbrush work. Nice! You will also note that this is a real 4x4, with a 2-speed transfer case that's fully operational, so if you don't mind getting it dirty, this Willys will go anywhere you want it to go. The back seat is comfortable for two and the cargo bay is fully upholstered with custom carpets, beautiful wood and stainless rub strips, and a battery enclosure with embroidered lettering. Someone was really sweating the details when this one went together.
Push a button on the dash and the hood powers itself open on screw-type electric struts, a neat trick at shows. The original Super Hurricane flathead six is long gone, replaced by a potent Ford 351 Windsor crate engine. Rated at 385 horsepower and detailed to match the rest of the truck and is more than three times more powerful than the original. Topped by a Holley 4-barrel carburetor, an Edelbrock aluminum intake, and a set of Ford GT40 heads, it's a torque factory ideally suited to 4x4 work. It's also beautifully tuned, so it starts quickly and easily, idles smoothly, and pulls the upright Willys around with genuine authority. This truck is a multiple show winner, and you can see why with the detailing under the hood, including more airbrush work and just about every single component has been painted to match the bodywork. Custom hose sleeves help with the monochromatic look and you'll note wonderful details like the custom radiator shroud, chrome hinge plates that are embossed with the â€œWillysâ€ name, and a smoothed firewall with raised ribs that mimic the exterior sheetmetal. Service access is excellent and the Ford's durability is legendary, so don't be afraid to use this truck as intended. All the wiring and plumbing is new, it's equipped with power steering and brakes, and just about everything you can see or touch has been replaced so reliability is superb. BBK shorty headers have been ceramic coated to look good forever and they link to a custom stainless steel dual exhaust system with burbling mufflers that give it just the right sound.
As long as you're looking around underneath, take time to note the ultra-clean floors, the reinforced chassis, and the highly detailed look. The transmission is a Ford C6 3-speed automatic, which is more than tough enough for the built 351. The front axle is from a Jeep Grand Cherokee, narrowed four inches and fitted with a Dana center and 3.54 gears and power front disc brakes. Out back is a custom-made Ford 9-inch with 3.55 gears and the drive shafts were custom made by Tom Woods Custom Driveshafts out in Utah. In between is a heavy-duty two-speed transfer case and the floors themselves are protected by spray-on bedliner material, so it's tough and easy to maintain. And yes, you'll note there's more custom airbrush work on the differentials, particularly out back where it simulates bolts and a removable rear cover. The springs were custom made just for this truck and even the heavy-duty off-road shocks were painted to match, making this a vehicle you'll be eager to show off at any level. Big 31x10.50-15 Yokohama off-road radials are a nice fit, especially on those polished 15-inch aluminum wheels.
This truck is also nicely documented with a build album showing its construction, some receipts and invoices, as well as a magazine where it's been featured.
Beautifully built and fully sorted, this Willys just works the way you'd hope. You could drive it cross-country today, A/C blowing cold and listening to the stereo all the way. It's also ready to show at almost any level and we can guarantee it will be the only one of its kind at any event. With eyeball-popping good looks, plenty of power, and modern comfort, there's just no reason not to enjoy everything this fantastic Willys has to offer. Call today!