Peugeot Diesel Swap: 1962 Willys Pickup

I like this seller straight away: he starts with the bad news first as it relates to this 1962 Willys pickup he has for sale. Fortunately, the bad news isn’t that bad, and this pickup is sporting a wild diesel engine swap that makes it even more interesting. The pickup has some rust and lost its 4WD ability along the way, but they seem like reasonable fixes for the next owner. Find this Willys here on craigslist for a startling $16,000, which includes a free Christmas tree. 

The cab looks decent, but the interior is where some problems reside. The seller notes holes in the floor and a heater core with a leak that causes the windows to steam up. That sounds unpleasant, but the additional bummer is that there’s no front driveline for 4WD, which is a big part of the appeal of a Willys of any formation. By the way, if you’re looking for a cheaper project, be sure to check out this recent Barn Finds Exclusive for a wicked Willys pickup project. 

The engine bay holds another surprise, as the truck now sports a 2.3L turbo-diesel from a 1982 Peugeot 505. It features Bosch mechanical fuel injection and a Garret turbocharger, all while delivering around 25 MPGs. That’s pretty darn cool and far more unusual than the typical Buick V6 conversion these Willys tend to sport. A 20-gallon aluminum fuel tank makes a range of 500 possible. Safe to say, despite its mechanical issues, this drivetrain almost makes up for the lack of 4WD.

The body looks sound, too, and those meaty tires have plenty of tread on them. The seller notes this is his daily driver and he’s in no rush to sell (especially with that asking price!) Still, high price or not, you have to respect the level of customization that’s on display here and the novelty of the engine swap. Does the free Christmas tree make the asking price easier to swallow? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Roger for the find.

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  1. Chinga-Trailer

    I know the neighborhood where this truck lives, like they say, Keep Portland Weird!

  2. Mr. Bond

    Hope they haven’t cut the tree yet!

  3. Jeep Guy

    Peugot diesel, eh? So they made it a kind of “special needs” Willys.

  4. txchief

    I like unusual combinations like this. Unfortunately, the owner was consuming some sort of hallucinogen when he named his price.

  5. Pat L Member

    For that price I would hope that it is for a lifetime of Christmas trees 🎄. Keep in the right lane with that powertrain. Merry Chistmas to all of The Barn Finders!

    • Connbackroads

      Actually, that Xd2s is a great engine with plenty of torque–I ran an 81 505td on waste veggie oil for several years, and it accelerated great up any hill, cruising nicely between 80 and 85 on the highway

  6. Gaspumpchas

    19 large?? Good luck.even if its done nicely and not a cob job, still not worth that much coin. Good luck.

    Have a cool yule

  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    This would’ve been better with its original engine. The Peugeot engine is a good engine but sourcing parts is going to be a challenge. If you needed to go to a diesel, a Cummins 4BT would be a lot better choice. But then, that’s just my 2 cents worth. Nice truck otherwise…

    • Laurent Herjean

      This very engine was also fitted in the Ford Sierra in Europe. Not sure it was ever sold in North America, though. The only North American Ford Sierra was called a Merkur XR4Ti and had a gasoline engine.

  8. IkeyHeyman Member

    I owned a ‘61 Willys pickup, and putting a Peugeot engine in one of these seems like blasphemy!

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hey brother, I am with you. I still own a 1960 Wagon. Keep the flathead. Merry Christmas Ikey, Have a great new year as well. Mike.

  9. Howard A Member

    Yeah, this pushes the bile to the tip of our purist tongues. I don’t like this one bit. Look at that front axle, doing nothing. Goes agin everything a FFW enthusiast holds dear. Took a clean Willys and totally bastardized it. A turbo has no place in a FFW, and the fact they would go ahead with a project like this,,,quite frankly, scares me. Ok, the $16g’s is pure silliness, if it was original, maybe, considering what comes through here, I suppose this fits right in. POO-JOE diesel, what’s wrong with you?

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Come on, Howard, tell us how you really feel. No, if the truth be known, you echoed the opinions of nearly everyone else on this post. I’ve seen a couple of these with flathead V8s in them. And they were still running 4×4. Much more practical than this one. But sometimes a person has no choice. No, that’s wrong too; there’s always a choice.

  10. Carl

    My old Jeep pickup was similar. I bought it as a 51. But, it turned out to be a 56. It lost the original 4 or 6 and had an 283 SBC. Worked well, but the big clam shell Dana was geared too low for comfortable freeway cruising.
    Stump pulling power, yes, Hill climb power yes..

    Defintitely a fun truck

    … ,

  11. Bill

    I plowed snow with one in the 70s that had a 283 Chevy engine. It had real soft rubber retreads and would pull like a mother. Occasionally has to do a little welding on cracks in the frame and added some metal plates to stiffen. That diesel is probably easier on the frame.

  12. Dan B.

    Hope the buyer makes their way over to

  13. luke arnott Member

    Do NOT EVER put a diesel in anything please!

  14. David

    My two cents is the guy is out of his mind on the price. Why would someone destroy I Willys with a foreign born diesel. Nothing against diesel but not in this truck. Probably had the parts laying around and needed an engine in his driver.

  15. Wrong Way

    I would pay 10 for this conversion! He said no at a offer! I think that he really doesn’t care if he sells or not! I think that he threw a really high number out there to see if anyone bites! Kinda like the way I fish! LMAO, merry Christmas, my brothers and sisters of barn finds!

  16. lbpa18

    You guys are a tough crowd. I love the idea of a diesel in a Willys and applaud this effort. It may not work, as far as blocking the front driveline location, but at least he tried. High priced? Maybe. Show me another diesel Willys for sale to compare with. I wish the seller luck and am sure it will go to a happy new owner at a price they are both happy with.

  17. Greg Stegall

    I owned a Volvo 740 with Peugeot built turbo diesel. The engine was quite problematic. Cost me a fortune to keep it running. I finally donated it to charity and never looked back.

    • Connbackroads

      Ummm . . . you sure that wasn’t a VW engine in your Volvo ?

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Just thinking the same thing. VW used its own 4 cyl. engine but supplied a 5 to Audi and a 6 to Volvo. I remember seeing the VW on the block of a Volvo…

      • Daymo

        I very much doubt you’d find A VW engine in a Volvo. Certainly not here in Europe. Volvo, Peugeot and Renault jointly developed their 6-cyl PRV petrol engine and it went in their large car ranges here.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Probably 30 years ago when I saw it. At first I thought that the Volvo diesel engine looked a lot like the Audi that was in the shop a couple of weeks before. That’s when I saw the VW on the block, exactly the same location on the block of a VW Rabbit. Interesting that the injection pump drive for the 4 cyl. is on what we would still refer to as the front. But the 5 and 6 cyl versions drive off the rear of the camshaft…

  18. Greg Stegall

    Was told by my mechanic that it was a Puegot Turbo Diesel.

    • connbackroads

      Volvo licensed diesel engines from Volkswagen Group for decades.

      1979–1986 D20 — 2.0 litres – 1,986 cubic centimetres (121.2 cu in) inline five-cylinder SOHC, 50 kW (68 PS) — Volvo 240 (for Finland and possibly other export markets)

      1979–199? D24 — 2.4 litres – 2,383 cubic centimetres (145.4 cu in) inline six-cylinder SOHC, 60 kW (82 PS) — Volvo 240, Volvo 260, Volvo 740

      1982–1996 D24T — 2.4 litres – 2,383 cubic centimetres (145.4 cu in) inline six-cylinder SOHC, 80–90 kW (109–122 PS) — Volvo 740, Volvo 760, Volvo 780, Volvo 940, Volvo 960

      1990s–2000 D5252T — 2.5 litres – 2,461 cubic centimetres (150.2 cu in) Audi Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) inline five-cylinder SOHC, 103 kW (140 PS; 138 bhp) — Volvo 850, Volvo S70/Volvo V70, early Volvo S80s

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