Model A Alternative: 1931 Willys Whippet


When most people go pre-war car shopping, they usually start with the Model A. Who can blame them? Ford’s affordable transporter was well-built, handsome, and plentiful. So, if you want to follow the crowd, then by all means, go with the Blue Oval. If you want something a little different though, may we suggest a Willys Whippet? This one is located in Bucyrus, Ohio and is listed here on eBay where bidding starts at $1,931 with no reserve!


With its relatively powerful four-cylinder engine and light body, the Whippet was actually quite nimble. With decent looks and a sturdy build quality too, Willys had no problem selling these puppies. For a while there the Whippet even held the title as third best selling car in America!


This particular car has its flaws, but looks about perfect if you actually want to drive your antique automobile. The underside is clean and the seller has done the work needed to get it up to snuff after long term storage. These cars had a few improvements over their Model A rival including four wheel brakes, a water pump, and pressurized lubrication.


The seller believes that much of the car is original, but it has obviously been resprayed at some point. As you can see here, there’s a few problem areas, but apparently there isn’t any major rust. This is the sort of car that you wouldn’t need to feel bad about driving. The seller couldn’t feel good about turning it into a hot rod though.


It would make a unique custom, but I would probably side with him and keep it original if it were mine. Heck, there’s even room to bring along the whole family on that Sunday drive. Parts supply may not be as good as the Ford, but this really does look like a good alternative to the obvious choice. What do you think?


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  1. motoring mo

    Imagine cruising in your Whippet while inhaling a whippet while listening to whip it…

    • Bruce Joslen

      …..with your faithful whippet on the seat beside you.

  2. JW454

    Very nice car. My only concern would be repair part support. I’d think anything it would need, would be a life long search. I hope I’m wrong because it would be nice to know it’s still on the road somewhere.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      They actually made a ton of these so I doubt it would be a lifeline search for anything.

      • JW454


        That’s good to know. An acquaintance of mine worked on restoring a 1929 Rickenbacker for 29 years. Sadly, he was still looking for parts two years ago when he passed away. The car was sold at auction and I don’t know what ever happened to it.

  3. Mike

    I helped restore a 1932 Willys Whippet some years back and I found some of the much needed parts on a couple of websites, I paid for the parts, but it was nice to find them.

  4. dirtyharry

    What an awesome find. I want to buy it, just so I can say: “Yes, I do own a Whippet.”

  5. whippeteer

    Whippet approved!

  6. Hank

    I am glad the pup approves.

  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    A guy in our club restored a ’29 model. His runs a six cyl. A local farmer had one that was all stripped down to the frame. He installed a second transmission to gear it down so he could cultivate his trees. Not successful but it sure looked neat. I wasn’t aware that the Whippet was available with anything other than a six.

  8. G 1

    My great grandfather had the dealership in northern Mn until 1932 and then switched in 1933 to Chrysler-Plymouth, then added Allis Chalmers in 1938. There were a few of them around up there in the sixty’s still driving around that I remember.

  9. Kerry Glenn

    The Ford Model A had four wheel brakes and water pumps

  10. Peter

    The 31 model must have been an over-run of earlier models as the photos show it still has a vacuum fuel delivery system and the old pressed steel spoke wheels.

  11. bcavileer

    Looks complete, an easy freshen up and another great car saved from obscurity. I say YES!

  12. Joe

    I purchased this car. Wheels are wood spokes, not pressed steel…just painted black. It is a nice car but parts are very hard to find being that this was the last year it was made, Willys used whatever they had left in inventory and then added new parts so this specific car seems to be a hybrid of sorts. Slightly later builds have different parts. There are not a lot of interchangeable parts from the 96 to the 96A. I’m still learning about this vehicle and I’m sure I have tons to learn. For the most part, it is all original.

    • DEAN

      can you tell me what the correct mascot should be for this car

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