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Hot Rod Material? 1940s Willys, 1947 Panel Truck, 1951 Ford F-1

Here’s an interesting post, here on craigslist: two Willys – a 1940 and a 1941; one 1947 panel truck; and a 1951 Ford F-1 pickup looking for new homes. This is about as terse an ad as I’ve ever seen, and it’s one of the few with no price. The seller wants phone calls and doesn’t insist on selling these as a package. The vehicles are said to be mostly original. This flock is located in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Thanks to Chuck Foster for a very eclectic tip! The photos supplied are not helpful but one car – the blue 1941 Willys – seems to be in the best condition of the bunch. This is probably an Americar sedan. Its forebears were born in 1937 and as Willys Overland cycled through designs, each successive model grew more similar to Ford’s products. The Americar’s motor was a 134 cu. in. four-cylinder with a single-barrel carburetor. This package made a modest 60 hp.

I am hazarding a guess that this is the ’41’s interior. Given the derelict state of the cars and their storage site, I’m surprised the cabin isn’t worse. The dash can be beautiful when restored; this one is red and tan. Despite a reasonable price and good fuel economy, the Americar didn’t sell well, exacerbating Willys’ financial troubles until the war came along and the company became famous for its Jeeps.

Then there’s the 1940 Willys, a year too early to be called the Americar but substantially the same as the ’41. This one is a sedan as well; photos show a few blemishes here and there. The coupe body style has tempted many a hot rodder; fewer sedans have been customized but here’s one to fire the imagination.

The panel truck looks like a GMC to me, but if anyone knows better, tell us in the comments section. Obviously, someone needed the front grille section so this poor thing underwent surgery to be a donor. The windshield is missing, too.

The Ford F-1’s paint and grille look decent; too bad the seller didn’t snip the weeds and remove the part from the hood. These trucks have generated plenty of interest from collectors lately, with prices strong as a result. Nice versions can sell for around $25k. This might be the most desirable model of the lot here, but it’s going to take an in-person inspection to answer the myriad questions prompted by this brief ad. Which of these is your favorite, and what would you do with it?


  1. HoA Howard A (retired) Member

    Rubbing eyes, a Willys that wasn’t turned into a drag car, much less TWO? Whoever had these held out as long as they could. Willys coupes were the #1 favored car for drag racing. Fact is, I never remember seeing one that wasn’t a drag racer. So that’s what they look like. Not sure of the future, and drag racing isn’t what it was 50 years ago, when these would have been snapped up. I hope someone saves them, but like asking for .59 cent bags of potato chips again. The panel truck, I think is a Chevy by the hood sides. ’47 came out with the AD series, so this has to be one of the last like this.

    Like 16
  2. "Edsel" Al leonard Member

    Gotta love those Willys…..

    Like 2
    • HoA Howard A (retired) Member

      What are we looking at here, Al?

      Like 5
      • bobhess bobhess Member

        Looks like a blue car falling down an elevator shaft.

        Like 16
    • stanley kwiecinski

      pix giving me the willies!

      Like 0
  3. "Edsel" Al leonard Member

    sorry…too many pixels says BF…..

    Like 5
  4. Rick

    That 1951 Ford F-1 is a 1952, provided it’s got the correct ornamentation. On a 1951 the V8 emblem would sit on the upper grille panel, not between the hood nostrils.

    Like 3
  5. Steve R

    Both Willy’s are 4 doors, nobody is going to turn them into race cars, they have limited appeal as a street rod and likely not a lot of value as restoration projects. The way the ad is priced at $1, suggests the seller could be on a fishing expedition. I’d be surprised if they sell in the near future. The design of the front clip is iconic, but on these cars that ends at the firewall.

    Steve R

    Like 3
    • Dan H

      I’d buy that for a dollar!

      Like 2
    • Rw

      Wrong Steve .

      Like 0
    • RKS

      These make awesome street rods. Also, I always thought they looked great from behind. I always liked how they slope straight down and aren’t rounded through the trunk area. They look fast no matter what.

      Like 1
  6. Kenneth Carney

    I really like the two Willys cars more than I do the trucks at this point. Like Howard so aptly said, you don’t see these In their original condition that often. Those 134s should be easy to redirect again provided they’re not seized up. And if they are, an early 4-cylinder from a Jeep should fit nicely but measure it first. And while you’re at it, take the Jeep 4-wheel drive stuff and mount it on both cars for some real fun. Dad told me about some old guy he knew that did it in the ’50s and he said it worked out great. I’ll bet he was the only one on the road when we had a blizzard. Think he was the same guy that drove a ’37 Willy’s coupe with caution lights on top of it to keep people from hitting him. Anyhoo, think I’ll watch the Mecum auction and watch the
    robber barons play. I’m sure I’ll see why other boneheads are charging stratospheric prices for some rusted out hulk they think that’s rare and valuable. Peace out!

    Like 1
  7. Duaney

    Leave those Willys original. There are so many street rods that we don’t need more of them. People should be able to see what these cars were really like when new. And the truth is, they run around just fine with the 4 cylinder. After all, thousands of Jeeps can’t be wrong.

    Like 8
  8. HC Member

    Wow it is a kick in the head to see these Willys in near bone stock condition and not heavily modified into the gassers we all love. Someone may have some fun getting one or two of these in this condition.

    Like 1
  9. Brad

    The Blue one is a 1941, and the Red one is actually rare, its low production number 1942. The front Clips of both sedans are worth $5k, the Dashes are worth $1500 and the front doors are worth 12-1500 complete if they are solid.The 42 parts will bring better money, the center trim on the grill and the dash trim alone. Chassis are worth $1500 complete

    All production numbers in 42 were very low as they were turning over to GP production for the war. Eachof these will cap out complete between $7500-8500. You might get lucky on the 42 for a little more money.

    Like 2
  10. John C.

    1940-41 Willys bring a high price, and the fact that these cars are probably real metal, not fiberglass increases their value, even for a parts car if nothing else. nice find!

    Like 2
  11. Jimmy Novak

    With all this talk about hotrodding this nice 1940ish Willys, just a quick thank-you for reminding me why I don’t get excited about cruise nights (“krooze/cruze”, etc.) anymore.

    Like 0

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