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Montana Ranger: 1959 Willys Wagon


I love the look of this ex-US Forest Service Willys Wagon. I can even enjoy the updated wheels and larger tires because of the off-road capability that comes with them. It’s located in Stevensville, Montana and has apparently been in Montana since original purchase. The wagon is listed here on eBay, where there’s an opening bid of less than $1,250 and no reserve. The seller has owned the wagon for 20 years and has done a lot of mechanical work, including rebuilding the “Super Hurricane” flathead inline 6 as well as the carburetor, generator, starter, and fuel pump. There’s a video of the engine starting and running here. They also mention a rebuilt transmission and transfer case, and have replaced the brakes as well. On the other hand, they have kept the original cosmetics, including what appears to be original paint. There are remnants of its Forest Service days still present in the way of faded decals. This is one wagon I’d love to bring home!



  1. Howard A Member

    I had a couple of these. A 1950 wagon just like this with a SBC in it (same wheels) and a 1951 pickup, that I put the SBC from the wagon into. I don’t know the worth of saying it was a govt. vehicle, aside from the fact, it was in a shelter, and maintained, but it’s no different than any other one. It must have an aftermarket heater, because mine was horribly inefficient. Truth be known, these were hot in the summer, cold in the winter, noisy, terrible brakes and steering, rattled like 6 marbles in an empty coffee can, and I beg to differ with the sellers claim of “cruise at 60-65”. Maybe with the overdrive, as suggested, but with those gears, you’d be darn lucky to even SEE 60 mph, and 45-50 was about it, comfortably. The pluses, they were unstoppable, and dependable ( think WW2). Most saw plow duty, and rusted to bits, so to see one like this, that hasn’t been altered, is truly amazing. I’ve seen nice ones go 5 figures, so grab it now. BTW, those chrome “Willys” bumpers, along with rear tailgates, are almost extinct.

  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Having bought a 1960 wagon several months ago I had to make a comment. It is so fun to drive. Great view from behind the wheel looking down that deco hood, wing window open blowing fresh air in your face and the old school click when grabbing a gear! People wave like crazy, its like driving the clown car. Someone will be very happy with this well maintain rig. I wish mine was this nice. Jamie, do your Soul a favor and place a bid! Take care, Mike.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I wish I could, Mike…but right now we have to finish the house and shop :-(

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Yes, by all means Jamie, taking care of business. Best of luck to the house and shop. More towards the shop! Enjoy! Mike.

  3. Toast54

    What’s a “few” bullet holes, anyway? Old Skool Kool..Yellowstone Park Co had quite a few of these in that horrid puke yellow.

  4. JW

    I love it and if it wasn’t so far away I would bid, leave it just the way it is and enjoy it. Nice find.

  5. Matt Tritt

    I had a 51 with the 134 F-head 4 banger that I loved dearly. I rebuilt all the mechanicals and installed a Advanced Adaptors OD to get me above 50, but 60 was as fast as I drove it on the freeway. The heater, as mentioned wasn’t much to write home about and the defroster not so hot with plenty of old school condensation and opaque side windows in cold, rainy weather for that vintage feel. I used it in my off-grid solar and wind work for years, which included lots of long distance driving and very primitive work sites up nasty trails and firebreaks, with no issues at all. I’d love to have one again, but maybe not so much for work because today’s traffic has become WAY to fast to allow any relaxation in a vehicle made for 1940’s driving conditions.

  6. dj

    The seller is pushing the 60 mph. I’m restoring a 48 Military Jeep for a neighbor. 45 is the max on that thing. These are great and basic fun.

  7. Tom

    Like a fool my brother, a friend and I took one from Colorado Spring to Cripple Creek before the was a paved road. This was Christmas time and no one checked the weather. We had lots of Coors so we had fun. The weather did turn very bad. Lucky we did die or drive it off a cliff. BTW that was 1976 still young and dumb.

  8. Damien Hebert

    I have a ‘58 Wagon, 4WD, Super Hurricane Six. Very weak drum brakes on all four, top speed on mine is 50-55mph. At 50 the engine is winding up so tight I am afraid it might throw a rod. A lot of fun to drive and it could probably pull tree stumps in first gear with the transfer case in low range. I’ve owned mine since 1995 and have no intention of ever selling it.

  9. Matt Tritt

    I owned a 1951 version of this car for a number of years that had the original 4 cylinder F-head and T-90 3 speed. Highway speed was dangerously low even for ‘late 80’s traffic so I installed an Advance Adapters Saturn overdrive unit that plugs into the back of the transfer case. This gave me a cruising speed of 60 + and raised MPG by over 4. It works in 2 and 4 wheel drive because it isn’t mounted on the rear output shaft, but replaces the main output gear within the transfer case. If you you love your Willys now, you’d want to marry it after installing one of these babys.

  10. Dan Koch

    Years ago l had a 62 Willey’s Utility Wagon w/a 300 HP 327 SBC & a Warn PTO Winch & a Warn mechanical Overdrive too & Man was it a Hell of a runner too! I was in the US Army stationed in Denver Colorado & we used it to go every weekend l wish l cud find it bcuz the Guy that bought it didn’t pay for it completely & l’d re-posess it by God

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