1949 Willys Overland Barn Find

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As I have noted before, one of the hazards of being a Barn Finds writer is being notified about cars for sale that you think are really cool — and are affordable! Thank you to Ikey H. for sending this great 1949 Willys wagon our way! It’s listed for sale here on eBay with no reserve and with about a day and a half to go as I write, bidding has only risen to $6,200. The recently recommissioned wagon is located in Scottsville, New York, which is only about 35 miles from some family I’d like to visit–can you see the wheels turning in my head?

We’re told that the Willys was stored for 40 years in dry storage. The primer that you see in this picture was causing potential bidder angst, so the seller wiped it off to see what was underneath and then posted some more pictures. As it turns out, it’s not covering rust, just some peeling paint. By the way, despite the wagon looking like a woodie, it’s not; that was just paint over stamped metal.

Here’s a close-up shot of what was under the primer in one location. Nothing that scares me much.

Although one would have to accept the low gearing and overall “Jeepness” of the vehicle, I can’t help but think this classic could still be used for short trips to the store or perhaps delivery runs for a classic parts business. Aaaargh, stop it Jamie, just because you are retiring soon doesn’t mean that you can go buy every classic in sight that appeals to you!

“But the interior is so, so cool-looking,” says the little voice in my head that won’t go away. I even looked up the perceived value of this 2 wheel drive 4-63 model (there was a 6-63 six-cylinder as well). It didn’t help keep the voice quiet. Perhaps one of you readers can rush and bid on this Willys to keep me from doing something I shouldn’t?

The wooden slat load floor is both practical and attractive–enough so that this same basic vehicle stayed in production all the way to 1964, with some unsold models remaining through the next model year. By that point, its dated looks had almost become a selling feature!

The engine shows signs of recent attention (at least more recent than 40 years ago) and the seller tells us that it fired right up after a fuel system cleanout. I’m sure brake work will be in order along with a full service, but the vehicle is simple enough where pretty much anything can be put right. The low indicated mileage (21,216) does have me wondering either if it’s right or why the wagon was taken off the road in the first place, but at a price close to where the auction is right now, how could you go wrong? Let me know if you agree in the comments!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA Howard AMember

    This is pretty cool too, very hard to find. The 2 wheel drive will hurt the sale, because it would make a lousy road vehicle, and if it was 4 wheel drive, you could use it for so many other ( slow) things. Caution advised here. 40 years in a barn, why does it have a Wisconsin collector plate? No way on the 21g’s,( but not 121 either, those speedos didn’t last that long) even though, these didn’t rack up a lot of miles, because they were so unpleasant to drive. I’m confident this is an older restoration, but still nice. 4 banger got to go, sorry, barely adequate to push snow, much less on a highway. For a while, prices were way up for these, until, I speculate, like the VW bus buyers, once they got one and felt what an underpowered, underbraked, rattle can these are, the prices fell off. I had a couple FFW’s, a ’52 4×4 wagon and a ’51 pickup with a SBC ( from the wagon) and was a much better solution. BTW, the Willys wagon was made until 1977 in Brazil.

    Like 8
  2. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Well, I like it.

    Like 15
    • On and On On and OnMember

      Good for you buddy, you tell ’em! LOL

      Like 5
      • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

        Thanks for the video Gregg. Man, was that driver a moron or what? Best of luck on the move!

        Like 1
  3. Puhnto

    I’ve loved these since I was a little kid and these things were new! (The two-wheel drive version in this color combination.) No idea why, just do.

    Like 8
  4. JRHaelig

    When I was a kid in the early ’70’s my Dad had some tenants bail on him and left one of these in the garage. I remember none of the important details other than it was one of these and I wanted it. I was only 12 or 13 and my Dad gave it to the guys who cleaned up the place.

    In line with what Howard said – probably only a shade nicer to drive than the M-151’s I would be driving a few years later.

    Like 4
  5. Rust Belt Ricky

    Wow, 10.2 miles from me. Think I’ll put my coat on and go see. Don’t imagine I’d ever pull up next to one like it at a traffic light. I could tell all the kids it was an original SUV. Doesn’t have to be fast or push snow to be fun for me. Just sayin. Take it to a picnic and play slap and tickle with my honey on the bench seat all the way there 😛

    Like 3
  6. lc

    The perfect fair weather vehicle for around town chores, smiling and waving all the way. No need for 4WD with this sweetheart – who would want use it that way anyway as there are other machines fully capable for those salty messes out there. Snag it Jamie!

    Like 9
  7. Dan B.

    Wow. Super rare in that condition, especially that “Willys-Overland” script on the tailgate.

    Hope the lucky buyer makes it over to http://www.OldWillysForum.com. Very helpful group of Willys folks there with a ton of technical info and experience.

    Good luck to the seller.

    Like 5
    • Mountainwoodie

      Couldn’t agree more with you AND HoA. In this livery you dont see many. I also suspect its been reconditioned but whatever.its just so cool.

      I don’t know enough about the drivetrain set up to say but I wonder if there’s a 2 speed rear end/overdrive you could drop in without much adaptation.

      Then you might be able to drive it more regularly. Anyone know?

      Love the Overland script and the faux woodie pint and the interior color.

      Go for it Jamie!

      Like 2
      • Dan Harrison

        It is a flat head six banger.

        Like 0
  8. RayT

    I’m sure this is truly awful when used as a Real Car, but I like it anyway. The temptation to restomod it is easy enough to understand: a SBC, some serious suspension tweaking and modern brakes under that neat body would surely do wonders for it….

    These were pretty rare — in SoCal, anyway — back in the day. I remember a guy who sold “fresh fish” cruising the local streets (along with the Helms Bakery guy and the Good Humor Man) when I was very young. I’ve seen a few others since, but not all that many.

    At least the seller hasn’t confused this Jeep with a 356. At the price, it would tempt me if I was in the market for a third — or fourth — car. Should be fun, and reasonably inexpensive, to make it all shiny and fresh again.

    Like 3
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Jamie I believe you should go check this out. You just might have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year.
    God bless America

    Like 6
  10. Mel

    Find a Borg Warner overdrive,complete tuneup,fresh fluids etc and drive. Very neat ride. Mel in a Wyoming.

    Like 1
  11. John

    Had a 50 Jeepster, 6 W/OD, was a great vehicle but only used it around town
    and when dry. Left it in the garage when it looked like rain, even W/new top was leaky. Did everything like it should.
    Wonder why they put the 4 in these SW and the 6 in the Jeepster.

    Like 1
  12. Scouting Ranch

    I had a ’49 in 1966 and drove that darn thing all over Southern California. The things that will be dead on this are; all the suspension to include springs shocks and of course tie rod ends. People seem to forget how handy these are. We would stuff people in the back and surfboards on top. Gobs of room.
    I like my vintage vehicles stock and my women straight, but, the call to place a 289/302 with an automatic c4 and 8 or 9 inch Ford rear end with some disks may be the ticket.
    Full disclosure, I’m all vintage Willys Jeep products.

    Like 1
  13. Bob McK

    Nice, really nice!

    Like 0
  14. Ken Cwrney

    Saw one of these here in Winter Haven
    20 years ago. In true redneck fashion, it
    was lifted about 5 feet off the ground and sitting on 44 inch mud tires. All I
    could think of was how over worked the
    6 cylinder engine would be turning those
    monster tires. Here in Polk county, they’ll
    turn anything into a 4X4–even a mobility
    scooter! Saw that going down the sidewalk while on my way to the smoke
    shop. I like this one though. I would,
    however, add some Di Noc decals to the
    Insert parts in the body to make it like
    a real woody. Wouldn’t use it much on
    I-4, but around town, you betcha! I can
    just see the stock boys fighting over who
    would get to load our groceries into it.
    It looks great and would be quite a
    conversation piece. You should bid on
    this James, it’s really you.

    Like 1
  15. bobhess bobhessMember

    Hard to argue with anyone on this one. Me, more engine and brakes and hit the road. Wife even likes it as a grocery cart. Nice old machine.

    Like 3
  16. Del

    Great find !

    Worth twice that 61 Benz roadster parts car

    Like 1
  17. SteveTheD

    I would like to compare the performance of this Willy’s to my daily driver 2018 Elantra Value edition. It weighs 2,811 pounds and the engine produces 147 horsepower. Pretty sure I can outrun it in the 1/4, and I can’t imagine the Willy’s will come close to my 42 MPG in return (rated @ 37, but I can beat that on a regular basis).

    Like 1
    • Charles Hatcher

      Drive your Elantra across a plowed field and then compare the two. Of coarse the fuel economy and fuel mileage will be better. 70 years difference in the advancement of technology, it better.

      Like 2
  18. Chuck Hatcher

    I like it but I’m going to let you buy it. You can keep them running with paper clips, rubber bands and tie wire. Dang dependable little vehicles.

    Like 1
  19. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Ended:Dec 27, 2019 , 7:37PM
    Winning bid:US $12,787.00
    [ 50 bids ]

    Like 0
  20. TimM

    I had a 61 with a 252 super hurricane motor and spicer transmission!! It was 4×4 and it went anywhere!! Did it all at 45 mph or less but it was a fun ride and my first plow truck!!

    Like 0

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