BF Auction: 1953 Willys Aero

Sold for $5,600View Result

UPDATE – Additional photos of the car have been added to the gallery below!

UPDATE – The reserve has been met, so this one is going to a new home at the end of the auction!

People considering dipping their toes into the water of classic car ownership sometimes worry about the cost. However, affordable alternatives provide the pleasure without costing the earth. That could be the case with this 1953 Willys Aero. It is a clean and tidy example that appears to need nothing and could offer an excellent starting point for the right person. It requires a new home, with the seller listing it exclusively here on Barn Finds Auctions.

Classic cars wearing Black paint generally make a bold first impression, and this Aero is no exception. The paint possesses an impressive depth of color and shine, with no significant flaws or problems. This shade is excellent for exposing panel imperfections, but none are visible in the excellent array of supplied photos. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and there is no rust to rain on the new owner’s parade. The chrome and bright trim sparkle impressively, strikingly contrasting the dark paint shade. The lights and lenses look fantastic, and there are no signs of glass issues.

Practicality was the overriding theme of the 1953 Aero’s interior. Luxury appointments like air conditioning weren’t a consideration. However, the inclusion of bench seats and cloth upholstery means the car is a vehicle that could comfortably swallow a family of six. This car’s interior presents well, with no tears or significant wear in the cloth or vinyl. The painted surfaces look crisp and clean, the wheel is spotless, and the gauge cluster features a clear lens and markings. The carpet fit around the driver’s feet is slightly off. Although carpet sets aren’t thick on the ground like with other classics, finding a replacement set would be worth the effort to lift the overall presentation to a higher level. Otherwise, the interior appears to need nothing. This car has been on display in a private museum until recently in the hands of the same family of the dealership where the car was sold new in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  A thorough inspection of the brake system would be advisable in the interest of safety.

One of the attractions of the Aero is its elegantly simple drivetrain combination. A flathead six with a capacity of 161ci sends 75hp and 145 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission. Although that doesn’t sound like a combination promising muscle car performance, contemporary road tests confirmed that the Aero could easily better 22mpg, and open-road cruising speeds of 60mph were within reach. As previously stated, the fundamental nature of the mechanical components means an owner can perform most of the maintenance tasks in a home workshop. That would be gold for someone wishing to be hands-on with their classic and would help to minimize the cost of the ownership experience. This Willys has 77,912 miles on the clock and is mechanically unmolested. It is a turnkey proposition that is ready to be enjoyed by the successful bidder.

This 1953 Willys Aero may offer an enthusiast more than a tidy classic that can provide immediate enjoyment. The elegantly simple nature of its drivetrain means that a competent buyer could perform most of the maintenance tasks in a home workshop, making it an affordable long-term investment. It is also a practical vehicle, which could mean it’s perfect for someone with a growing family. If you can tick any or all of those boxes, this could be the perfect candidate for you.

See the rest of the Kaiser-Frazer Collection here!

  • Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Mileage: 77,912 Shown, TMU
  • Engine: 161ci Flathead Six
  • Transmission: 3-Speed
  • VIN: 653KB114215
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

Sold for: $5,600
Register To Bid
Ended: Apr 17, 2023 11:04am MDT
Winner: mehalley
  • mehalley
    mehalley bid $5,600.00  2023-04-17 11:01:47
  • Bailsout bid $5,500.00  2023-04-17 11:00:00
  • mehalley
    bid $5,400.00  2023-04-17 10:56:14
  • Bailsout bid $5,300.00  2023-04-17 10:56:03
  • mehalley
    mehalley bid $5,200.00  2023-04-17 02:51:13
  • Bailsout
    bid $5,100.00  2023-04-16 21:22:34
  • mehalley
    mehalley bid $5,000.00  2023-04-13 07:08:52
  • Bailsout bid $4,100.00  2023-04-12 19:21:11
  • UncleSnuggs
    bid $4,000.00  2023-04-11 09:01:19
  • mehalley
    mehalley bid $3,000.00  2023-04-10 16:06:14
  • jjfab bid $2,600.00  2023-04-09 21:24:56
  • gt
    bid $1,100.00  2023-04-09 15:58:28
  • duaney bid $500.00  2023-04-09 14:01:57

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Joel

    Built where!

    Like 0
    • Rick

      Either in Toledo, Ohio or in Maywood, California.

      Like 0
  2. Maggy

    There is nothing not to like about this car. Love it .Glwts.

    Like 8
  3. SubGothius

    BTW, note it’s pronounced “Willis” (as in “What’chu talkin’bout”), not “Willies”.

    Like 6
    • Phil

      >BTW, note it’s pronounced “Willis” (as in “What’chu talkin’bout”), not “Willies”

      Not by anyone I have ever met.

      Like 0
      • duaney

        Watch the original Aero Willys televison commercials on YouTube, they all pronounce the name correctly as Willis. A Willies pronunciation would be spelled Willies, or Willees.

        Like 0
  4. Dale

    That’s the 226 flat head, I believe. The 161 was the F head engine. The Darrin has the F head in it. When Kaiser bought Willys, their 226 was used in the Aero.

    Like 0
    • duaney

      Dale this is the Lightning Six, 161, Willys engine. Used also in the Henry J. The 161 Hurricane Six F head has a rocker arm cover for the overhead intake valves. Kaiser did install the 226 in some 1954 Willys Aero models, but this is a 1953. This is also the Aero Lark, the 226 never went in one, even in 1954. The author says will cruise at 60, but I see the overdrive handle, this car will easily cruise all day at 70-80, and even faster. I drove a similar car daily for many years.

      Like 3
  5. Robt

    Very nice.

    Like 1
  6. Joshua MortensenStaff

    The reserve is off!

    Like 0
  7. phil


    It does not matter anymore. You will not be able to change virtually-universal usage in the USA. Unlike Jaguar or Porsche whose pronunciation in their home countries is somewhat-known in the USA, the proper pronunciation of Willys is virtually-unknown.

    I have a French-Canadian family name. A name no-longer-recognized and probably-extinct in France, but still common in Quebec. A name whose pronunciation is well-known in Quebec, but sounds incorrect in Paris, and therefore sounds incorrect to Yanks who learned French in school. The name has developed a consensus Anglicized pronunciation in the USA, one used by USA sportscasters while one of us was a slugger for the Dodgers. The odds of me convincing people either in the USA or France to use the Quebec pronunciation is nearing zero.

    Like 1
  8. Dennis Bailey

    Is there a heater in this car?

    Like 0
  9. Stu PMember


    Good for you. A nice tidy car and mostly original except paint.

    Like 0
  10. Bailsout

    Congratulations, Mehalley, I was your competitor at the end and I wandered away just a little too long and at 2 minutes too late my next bid was not allowed. For the best. I do not need another car, but it is my birth year and it had everything on it I wanted. My first introduction to the Aero and I was impressed by its simplicity, reminiscent of my ‘56 Scotsman. Good luck with your new sweet ride.

    Like 1

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