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Ready To Use! 1956 Willys Station Wagon

The Willys Jeep Station Wagon (2WD) and Utility Wagon (4WD) have very interesting histories. This particular machine has received a lot of refurbishment, mostly mechanical, and is ready to perform its original role as “a comfortable family car.” Wait, I’m sure I got that wrong! Perhaps as a “practical utility car.” Regardless, this ready-to-use 1956 Willys Utility Wagon is being sold here on eBay, where bidding is up to $6,300 although the reserve has not yet been met. The Willys is waiting for you in Elmira, New York, the one-time summer home of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).

See, I wasn’t kidding! These pages are from the 1956 Willys Utility Wagon brochure and illustrate how Willys tried to sell Americans on the idea that their vehicle was capable of many tasks, from hauling people to hauling stuff. The basic design remained in production from 1946 to 1964 in the USA, but with slight modifications was produced until 1970 in Argentina and 1977 in Brazil.

What a tough-looking front end! As you can see, the seller has outfitted the Jeep with aggressive tires for off-road capability (or posing?). The exterior paint is faded but still shows off the Brooks Stevens-penned lines well. Trivia time: I discovered that Stevens designed all the panels for shallow (<6″) stamping so that Willys could contract with stamping plants that typically made appliances, rather than the more expensive deep-draws used by other manufacturers.

Inside, there’s nice upholstery, but as you can see, it’s pretty stark.

A lot of work has gone into the Super Hurricane L-head 226 cubic-inch inline six-cylinder engine. The seller states that over $4,500 went into the rebuild, with many new parts and that it runs quietly and without leaks. Parts replaced included oversize pistons and rings, main bearings, rod bearings, connecting rods, camshaft, cam bearings, valves, guides, timing set, fuel pump, water pump, and of course a rebuilt carburetor. The Willys even features a new gas tank and lines. I’m guessing the new owner will use this Utility Car/Family Car as more of a fun vehicle–what do you think? Have any of you spent time with a Willys like this?


  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Yes Jamie I have spent time with a Willy. Although not for the last year and a half thanks to my broken neck. Looks like the owner did most of the grunt work. Depending where you live this would be a fun rig. The wiper upgrade is huge, one thing I had not gotten around to. Heavy snow here in Wisco makes the vacuum unit difficult. Not sure why values are not like early Broncos. Howard and Dan B can add more.

    Like 5
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mike, hope you are doing better. That’s what’s fun about BFs, they seem to highlight vehicles they know will get a comment, from real people, like us. While a lot of work has been done here, it’s still up to 1956 specs, and probably the reason it doesn’t have the zing of a vintage V8 Bronco. This is Byzantine in nature compared to anything today, and requires a lot of patience, especially in todays driving. Unless something was done in the gearing dept., these had like 5:13 ratios, and at 50 mph, that “Hurricane” was hollerin’. Many, like mine, making nonstock holes in the engine block, because they just weren’t designed for that. They were a low rpm motor for pulling, not speed. Something many, I bet, discovered on the “test drive”. Someone stuck a lot of time and cash making this like new mechanically, “oversize pistons”( oh boy) sounds impressive except, all for naught, as the next person already has that LS Cummins something and clown wheels just waiting.

      Like 10
  2. JohnfromSC

    This one looks exceptionally clean. If the underside is not eaten by rustworm IMO it will take $20K to buy this. I think is is only 2wd, which might hold it back some.

    I’ll add (H and L are aware but didn’t mention), you can put a Warn overdrive on these which is easy to install if it is a 2wd. That will give you reasonable speed for highways.

    By the way, anyone know of a 62 or 63 pickup with Tornado engine for sale, let me know how to contact you.

    Like 2
  3. FordFixer Member

    John fromSC: this is definitely a 4×4 as the hubs, floor shifters, and shift pattern decal verify. I will admit it seems a bit low in front due to, probably , aging springs. Cool ride, whisking had it here in NM.

    Like 4
    • JohnfromSC

      @FordFixer duh me! I didn’t think to check the shifters! Good spot.

  4. Guggie 13

    when i first started to drive my Dad had a Jeep wagon similar to this with a V8 Ford flat head motor , lots of fun !

    Like 2
  5. Pauld

    These are cool. Not many around. My newspaper manager used one in the 50’s to take us newsboys out canvasing for subscriptions. Sadly, there was a single car crash, but no permanent injury to the occupants. The Willis was totaled and this was in the day when a scratch did not,”Total” a car.

    Like 2
  6. Oregonman

    Correct Jamie on Steven’s use of 6” draw dies. He used stamping dies that produced Kelvinator Refrigerator doors… smart dude. My father had a ‘74 Excalibur with a 454 cid and lots of Brook’s hallmark design features. Thank you for the skillful write up!!!

    Like 2
  7. Jay McCarthy

    It’s a beautiful truck but why only 4 connecting rods how much more money could 2 rods have cost

  8. Stan

    This is my 48 panel Wagon I bought this year. Originally from Oregon they tell me I’m the 4 th owner. 350 Chevy automatic. Mustang II front and rear susp. Still personalizing it to me.

    Like 1
  9. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Jul 10, 2022 , 4:00PM
    Current bid:
    US $10,101.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 39 bids ]

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