Rat-Rod Custom: 1948 Willys Jeep Pickup

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There is nothing like creativity and imagination when it comes to old cars. And a healthy dose of mechanical skill helps with the endeavor too. Listed here on eBay with a BIN price of $7,100, and located in Martensdale, Iowa, is just such an example of creativity, imagination and skill, a 1948 Willys Jeep custom “rat-rod”.

In 1948, Willys, technically known as Willys-Overland was still in the passenger car business but they were better known at this point for their “Jeep” line-up. The Jeeps consisted of a station wagon, a traditional Jeep style military vehicle (today’s Wrangler), the “Jeepster” a convertible half Jeep/half passenger car and the Jeep pickup truck. It is the pickup truck that was the starting point for this Willys custom rat-rod.

The Jeep pickup, in 1948, would have been equipped with a 134 CI, in-line, four-cylinder engine, capable of generating 60 gross HP. Well, that’s long gone from this Jeep and in its place is a Chevrolet 350 CI V8. The seller doesn’t tell us to much about the motor and doesn’t include a full-on image of it either. He states, “does run, drive and stop; not street legal, no title, was built as a race car”. How well it does any of those things is anyone’s guess and should be investigated further if one’s intention is to drive this rat-rod for fun. Note the lack of a title, important to consider. Additionally, there are some other added mechanical features like a Turbo-Hydramatic 350, three-speed automatic transmission with a 3,600 RPM stall speed torque converter, a Franklin quick-change differential, four-wheel disc brakes and much more. This definitely sounds like a racing set-up.

This Willys has had a tremendous amount of metal work performed on it! It looks slammed, which is due to the suspension modifications, but the body has been cut and modified in many different places to accommodate the suspension and generate the total rat-rod vibe. I’d say it has been very successfully facilitated! Metal working is a skill, and an art, one that I don’t possess but wish I did. Note the cool Willys-Overland logo on the tailgate.

The interior is about what you would expect for a vehicle that has undergone this kind of customization. There really aren’t any good images of it but it does continue with the minimalist theme. The driver’s seat looks like a “one size that fits one size” sort of an affair and the extensive metal work with the floors is evident too.

Clearly, this is a limited use vehicle that has been hand-made for specific purposes, one of which is to be seen. The seller mentions that the ’48 Willys station wagon and tow trailer can be included in the sale if there is interest on the part of the purchaser. Racing was part of the plan too for this Jeep but it sounds like show/exhibition was first on the goal list. As stated at the outset, I really appreciate creativity and imagination but that’s where I’m getting held up as I can’t imagine what I would do with this custom Willys. If you were interested, how would you use it?

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  1. Stangalang

    Man that things freaking crazy!! I LOVE IT 🤣👍..and the tow wagon too jeez talk about creativity

    Like 3
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Leiniedude just threw up,,,IDK, seems like a ton of work, I know what I said about good ol’ boys having fun, and it’s cool, but if the past has taught us anything, ratrods have a very limited following, and most won’t see what the builder sees. Again, no offers pretty much tells the story.

    Like 5
    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

      Your right Howard, oh the horror! To early for a long neck, but one more look and I will be heading to the fridge. I would like to putz around with the tow rig though.

      Like 3
  3. Claudio

    Awesome build ,great talent ,great look but totally useless without papers…
    As a track build ; i cant say anything cause i dont know
    As a street car ; good luck with that 8 inch wheelbase and 4 oversized tires …
    But i cant deny that this has a lot of custom work and is certainly an attention getter

    Like 2
  4. IkeyHeyman

    Having owned a Willys Jeep pickup, I’m too much of a purist about them to see anything of value in this. If you feel like saying: “OK, Boomer!”, go ahead, doesn’t bother me.

    Like 1
    • KevinLee

      Ok Boomer!
      (Actually, I’m one too).

      Like 0
  5. Gator

    Horrible waste of a classic PU truck. And without papers, pretty much useless.

    Like 3
  6. Jack Quantrill

    $7100! They must be joking.

    Like 1
  7. chrlsful

    1 for rd, 1 for trail? (jack it tho)
    Some do it w/the ’78/9 bronk & EB

    Like 0
  8. MartyB

    Clearly an incomplete project. No radiator or signs of a radiator mount, the steering rack isn’t connected to the spindles. I’ve no idea what you would do with this thing, but it sure would be an eye-opener!

    Like 1
  9. JMG

    No title is a PITA, and will keep the sale price lower. I love the look & idea. But in anything like this, I always wonder about the welding, fab, and structural analysis skills of the creator in such a build. Might be stronger than the original truck, or it might split at all the welds and right angles when you push it…. But cool.

    Like 1

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