This car is hot rod royalty. T-Buckets and Deuce Coupes bow before the curvaceous—if otherwise plain—Willys. All kidding aside, the Willys coupe is a very popular pre-WWII car that was lost in the success of Willys’ other famous vehicle—the Jeep. The proper model name for the passenger vehicle that Willys produced from 1941-1942 was the Americar.
It is almost impossible to find these cars in original condition. Most, like this one, were heavily modified into race cars—mostly gasser-style dragsters. This one features a bevy of high-performance parts, including a 540-ci big-block, aluminum driveshaft, Ford 9-inch rear end with 4.30 gearing, and an electronic ignition system. The Powerglide transmission has two speeds, which are presumably fast and faster.
The body is steel, with a fiberglass deck lid and tilt-front end for weight reduction. Safety features include 4-wheel disc brakes, a 14-point roll cage, and racing seatbelts. The matte-black finish appears to be in good condition and the bright red of the roll cage and some interior pieces add nice contrast. Among the quirkier features are a race push-button start system and suicide doors. As is always the case, it’s a good idea to have an expert inspect the car before you buy.
The market for 1941-42 Willys coupes is a bit difficult to peg down. Because most are modified, they have different parts, and varied levels of performance and workmanship can change values significantly. Over the last year, just eight have been sold on eBay Motors, averaging over $37k for solid examples and $65k for excellent ones. Follow this one’s auction here.