Willys Hotrod Project

This is a long term project to full fill a childhood dream of building myself a hotrod one day. For some reason I always had in mind a 1950-1964 'pointy nosed' Willys Pickup. Might stem back to the time when I would spend my summers down at the beach in San Remo where I would sneak into near by yard and climb inside one of these that was rusting away there. Thought of it again off and on for years and even went back to check on that old Willys PU after I had rolled my 400 Chev powered Toyota Hilux. Thought I could do a body swap but it was too far gone by then and could not locate another one. No such thing as eBay back then in the 80's! Then one day I saw one come up on eBay and for a joke sent the auction details to my wife and mentioned the childhood dream. Well instead of thinking it was just folly, she said we should bid on it! Well we won it and that is how it all started. Mind you, we didn't even have anywhere to put it but the sellers agreed to keep it in their paddock for me for a few months, which turned out to be nearly a year, until I got my plans through council and then the built the workshop to put it in.

My long term plans is too get a wrecked WH/WK Grand Cherokee with a 5.7 litre V8 Hemi and use as much as possible from it from the whole drivetrain including front and rear suspension, the wiring loom and instruments etc. Also to widen the cab around 6.5" so the front and rear tracks will be the same and match the Grand as well. Will see what actually happens over the build which will take around 10 years I predict as in no rush and want to do all the build myself as far as possible, apart from paint which I have an allergy to.


Did some quick photo chopping to see what a widened cab would look like. Also with two sets of lights below the headlights. One set for parkers and the other indicators. The next photo shows with the roof pancaked, or flattened some, to see what it looks like.


Now on to the actual Willys that will be used. This is how we found it on our pickup morning, still sitting exactly the same since we last laid eyes on it after buying it off eBay 11 months earlier. Also here is my wife's drawing of the photo above. Been teaching herself to draw in the last 12 months or so and this is her first attempt at a vehicle as been mainly animals up until now. Quite good I think and have this framed next to my computer on the wall.


The wife checking the passenger side ( RHD ) cab door which is free of rust remarkably, at least on the surface anyway. ;) To get the Willys, with no wheels, only one hub, and even a spring missing, onto the trailer was a little different to the norm. Got a front end loader to lift the front right up while I backed the Jeep under as far as I could.


With the bum of it still down and the springs buried in the dirt, I dragged it forward with it attached to the trailer winch so it would not slide back off. At least it is missing the engine and rest of the drive train to make it a little lighter. Got it forward enough to get the loader in from behind to lift and help push it forward while winching it at the same time. The end of the U bolts were digging into the checker plate floor so was not that smooth!


Good to see 35 years of difference in Jeep age together ready for the trip home. ;) Now we have to get it off at home without a loader. I decided to chain the back of the Willys to the house and drive forward pulling it off. My wife's brother came up with an idea of using some pipe under the U bolts which dad thought of as well. Worked well to get it to the end of the trailer.


Once at the end, put some timber under the springs to help it slide off. Once the back was down I put the rear axle on some wheel skates. Lifted the front on a trolley jack and drove further forward until the front was about to come off. Did the same with some timber until if could be jacked up and the trailer driven right out and lowered down on to another pair of wheel skates.