Pretty In Pink: 1963 Willys Surrey Gala Jeep

Jeeps are all the rage these days. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Wrangler, Grand Cherokee or a new Gladiator, they sell. Jeep, along with its truck sibling division Ram, is pretty much, financially, holding up the entire FCA shebang. It wasn’t always the case as there was a time that Jeeps were considered a bit quirky but still had a small but very dedicated following. And it didn’t matter if the owner was Willys, Kaiser-Jeep, American Motors, Chrysler Corporation, Daimler-Chrysler, Chrysler Group (Cerberus) or FCA – there has been a certain affinity among four-wheel-drive enthusiasts for any vehicle with the Jeep name. Looking back, here’s one of the more unusual examples from the end of the Willys/beginning of the Kaiser-Jeep era, a 1963 Surrey Gala Jeep, located in Costa Mesa, California and available here on craigslist for $25,000, OBO. Thanks to Ikey H. for the tip!

The Surrey Gala Jeep was produced by Willys and then Kaiser-Jeep between 1959 and 1964. Its origins commenced with the conclusion of the DJ-3A postal truck and that is what this Gala is based upon. Approximately 1,000 were built and they were used to ferry hotel passengers around and about. The idea came from Henry Kaiser, Willys & Kaiser-Jeep CEO after he purchased a large hotel in Hawaii called the Hawaiian Village. The Surrey Jeeps were perfect for island rentals. Besides this pink example, the Surrey Gala’s were also available in Cerulean Blue with Glacier White and Jade Tint Green/Glacier White, essentially tropical hued blue and green.

An original example, not the Jeep being sold!

In the case of this example, the listing images will have to do the talking as the seller gives us a history lesson but says virtually nothing about the operability or general condition of his offered Jeep. And that said, don’t be thrown by the included images of an original condition Gala Surrey Jeep, there are as many of those as there are of the subject vehicle. Clearly it has some surface discoloration/rust/patina but nothing that would be classified as rot. The pink finish is pretty faded but there are, as in so many examples, no real good comprehensive images of the exterior so we have to piece the visuals together. There appears to be no top for this example and none is referenced. An awning manufacturer could probably produce one, it would be helpful if a template existed. The top frame will be another matter entirely.

The interior appears to be intact and the stripped upholstery is in place though it looks a bit faded but it is hard to tell much more than that. These are pretty plain-Jane operations so there’s not a lot to be concerned with, dash or accessory-wise. It would be helpful to get a close-up image, especially of the floor.

Under the hood is a Willys L134, 134 CI in-line four-cylinder engine. Power ranged from 60 to 75 gross HP and these are considered extremely tough, simple engines but pretty primitive too. No word on how this Jeep engine runs, or even if it does. Backing it up is a three-speed manual transmission. I can recall from experience that these F134 CJ/DJ variants are rough around the edges. I worked for a Chevrolet dealership in the ’70s that had a 1950’s vintage, supposedly left over from the Korean conflict, and we used it to tow dead cars into the shop for repair. Traction-wise, it would go straight up a tree but it was like operating a pea-thrasher on the street – you really didn’t want to use it for anything more than pushing a Malibu into the main shop.

I see these Galas come up for sale from time to time but will admit that I haven’t tracked their market value. In this case, the seller is asking $25,000 OBO for this example and providing scant information about it so talk among yourselves and let me know, is this reasonable or not?

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I could actually enjoy one of these, pink, stripes and all. They were popular as Tonka toys and I almost got one, opting for a pickup instead. I remember one in the Elvis Presley movie, Blue Hawaii. I liked it then and still like it now…

    8
    • Bob_in_TN Member

      geomechs, the first thing I thought of when seeing this Jeep was the Tonka version. I had one.

      7
    • Packrat

      In 1987, Graceland had Elvis’ version of this parked out with Mama’s Cadillac for the anniversary of his death. A simpler time; I sat in it briefly. This would be worth the coin, probably, if it were that *same* Jeep.

      2
  2. IkeyHeyman Member

    I’d love to have this. The asking price seems outrageous, but maybe it’s not – look at what a Fiat Jolly, a very similar vehicle, can bring at auction.

    3
  3. hatofpork

    Plus 1 on the Elvis movie! Too bad Ann Margaret sold separately!

    3
  4. Jack Quantrill

    Rented these in Hawaii, and Acapulco. Big fun!

  5. mikey8

    we rode around in one in Sedona. It was a blast!

  6. Gaspumpchas

    Think they used these in the extremely lame TV show, Fantasy island, Boss!Boss! DePlane- de Plane!! Gotta admire the risk they took building something like this, but then I have to commend mopar for taking risks like the prowler, PT cruiser, Maserati in a junk vehicle, convertibles, Challenger, etc. some good, some not so good. You didn’t see the rest of the big 3 taking this kind or risk. Its all good. Happy motoring!
    Cheers
    GPC

    1
    • Moit Member

      Those where custom red 4dr I believe

    • SG

      It was a modified Volare or Aspen wagon on Fantasy Island, fixed up with the same type of top.
      This is kind of neat, as a 10 year old kid I thought the Fantasy Island cars were neat too.

  7. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Seems the interior survived better than the exterior (paint). Must be the formulation of pink enamel that made this fade and eventually begin to flash rust in places. Seems to have a dealership name painted at the base of the windshield. A bit optimistic in the asking price, a quaint reminder for island-hoppers from a simpler era. Shame there isn’t any top fabric to speak of…that might be the biggest hurtle in the restoration.

    1
  8. stillrunners Stillrunners Member

    Been for sale before – same owner.

    1
  9. Andrew

    What is a pea thrasher?

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