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26k Barn Find! 1952 Willys 4-73 Pickup

Mechanically refurbished and running “excellent… per 1952 standards,” this 1952 Willys 4-73 Pickup in Durango, Colorado served one family for nearly 70 years! The sturdy Willys sat in a field much of that time, but accumulated minimal rust. With a new fuel tank, re-wiring of electrical systems, and a host of replacement parts, this Colorado classic is ready for a second round of adventure. Offered here on eBay, a single click of Buy It Now makes it yours, for $14,995. Thanks to reader T.J. for spotting this well-weathered Willys.

Simplicity rules the day in the utilitarian interior. This array of gauges could be from 1952, or 1932! I believe that box on the right is the optional cabin heater. How posh! A forum thread at TheCJ2APage suggests the left lever selects gears as we’re used to, the middle is “In/Out” (of four wheel drive, sending power to the front wheels), and the far right lever is forward for Low Range, Neutral in the middle, and rearward for High Range.

The original family welded up custom bumpers front and rear. Anyone parking near this pickup or finishing a text while following it risks total devastation of any parts bumping this reinforced rig. Undercarriage pictures show surface rust, and the seller details some imperfections completely in line with the vehicle’s history.

Wow; holy orange-painted fan shroud, Batman! I’m not much for fake patina, but I’d have to attack that fluorescent eyesore with some steel wool or something. A new exhaust system mates up to the original cast iron manifold. A new fuel pump and ignition parts illustrate the sympathetic approach to making this pickup safe without erasing its history. Apparently the truck’s project manager took vacation while a 12 year-old sprayed the radiator shroud Safety-Orange.

BarnFinds’ down-under correspondent Adam Clarke will appreciate the DIY cattle guard on this ’50s workhorse. It’s all business up front, daring would-be rear-end insurance scammers to do their worst. I wouldn’t change a thing on this truck, and hopefully it can enjoy anything but a life of leisure after its second coming. How would you treat this wonderfully-worn Willys?


  1. Rw

    Love the orange fan shoud it is a piece of survival equipment on Jeeps,I painted the underside of my OD Green YJ very bright orange,if you’re stranded somewhere flip Back help you get spotted

    Like 2
  2. Howard A Member

    What a wonderful money maker, for everyone except “old Rick” ( 74) who maybe got $500 bucks on a donation writeoff,,then the roller coaster began, and probably not over. Heck, it’s not even resto-modded yet. I know it’s getting old, I realize that, and this is America, founded on bilking someone out of their cash, and to a limited extent, I did the same thing. It’s the magnitude of the “ripoff” that grinds my gears. Colorado has become the “new” California, or Texas, most that have run the gamut in their state, Colorado is the next big thing. I hope many of the “regular” folks here will agree, 5 figures is way out of line for this, and “Jim”, may be a nice guy, but he’s not your buddy, wants your money, period. He’s in the right place, as nobody from Mississippi( poorest state in the union) is going to pay that.
    All that aside, the reason I’m so upset, is this just like my ’51 that I put the SBC in. The fact that people are actually bidding on this, tells me, we’ve shifted our values considerably, and about as far from the original intention of this truck, just a money maker today. He said it himself, “by 1952 standards”,, I wonder how many bidders, none yet, know what that means? Surprise,,,

    Like 7
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Howard – you’re right on the money with some of your comments. First of all, let’s be glad this truck runs and drives. It could have eroded for another 70 years then been plowed under or scrapped. The days when someone would pay $500 for it and put it back to work may be gone, but to erase its history, torch off the home-made bumpers, and try to make it look like it did when it left the factory would be almost as bad as the resto-mod idea. I’m sure there are some finished ’52 Willys pickups out there if you want a perfect one. The ship has sailed on this one, I suppose, but I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine a scenario where someone local snags it for under $5000, uses it for hunting or ranching (not daily), and it becomes part of the memories and legacy of a second long-term family. Making it a full-sized Matchbox collectible for parades and car shows feels all wrong to me. Thanks for your comments!

      Like 6
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Somewhere in the late70’s a bil to my e-wife bought a 57 model in Montana in January. It must be the coldest place on earth because I went there to drive that thing back to Everett, Washington for him. It was a very long drive in an ancient 4×4 pickup with 4 cylinder 4 speed. It made it all the way though with no mechanical problems. I was a lot tougher then, I’d never attempt anything like that these days at 75. Now the speed limit at that time was 55mph so I just plugged along. These are fairly rough riding trucks but I driven much rougher. Of course he turned around and sold the truck for a nice profit.

    God Bless America

    Like 3
  4. chrlsful

    I dont see the needs for all the put downs. It is what it is.
    All of the automotive Qs are answered by “What is the application?” Said as
    unfortunatly might be done here ‘there’s a seat for every a$$.’ I say: plenty of good use here.

    The vehicle is 3/4 or even all the way there for many. I’d prefer the ‘wagon’ but that’s me. Thnx 2 the op for curating well (upkeep) and passing on.

    Like 2
  5. Dennis

    Hope he isn’t waiting with baited breath for a buyer at that price. I’ve seen nearly restored ones at this price recently. It doesn’t even have the hard to come by original tailgate with WO on it.

  6. greg

    Cool Jeep but the cow catcher on the front has to go! Try and buy one that is ready to rumble for that price and see what you get.

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