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Stored And Restored: 1923 Willys Red Bird


We don’t think much about Willy Overland Cars, but from 1912 to 1918 Willys was the second-largest producer of automobiles in the United States after Ford. Most people only think of Jeep when they think of Willys. This Overland is listed on eBay and for sale in Prospect, Pennsylvania. It’s been bid up to $7500 but the reserve has not been met. It’s been sitting for awhile, but it doesn’t look like it was sitting very long and was restored before it was put away. It runs and drives well and did not take much to get it running.

front barn

They say it was stored for years, but that’s not much dust. It’s been sitting, but perhaps not long after it was restored.

left rear

It does look beautiful from every angle. The top and spare tire cover look well and recently made.


The interior is in great shape. The carpet and and other interior components may not be period correct, but they do look nice.

engine right

The engine is said to run well. It’s certainly looks like it’s had some recent attention.


Those turn signals sure look out of place, don’t they? Otherwise, this looks like a nice old car. It’s a contemporary of the Model T, but like other cars of its time was way ahead of the Model T . It has an electrical system, an actual transmission, standard pedal arrangement and all the things that make this a very drivable car. It would be a fun car to drive, but still not an everyday driving car. What do you think the bidding will reach? It’s being sold by a dealer who is also selling other cars, but the others are mostly parts cars. He says this car was stored for years. Perhaps he is thinking in “dog years”. I look forward to reading what you think.


  1. Speedo

    It is hard to believe it lasted 75,000 miles filling the gas tank over a hot engine!

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    • Rosso

      I had the same thought.
      I think in those days(?) you first had to hand-pump the fuel into the large glass vessel on the stand, where you could view the # of gallons desired, before releasing it into the hose to the vehicle; so there were some X minutes for everything to cool down a bit before fuel got near the car.

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  2. Matt Tritt

    Really nice one! That lap bomb gas tank approach isn’t my favorite 20th century idea, but it’s such a good looking car I could almost forget about the downside.

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  3. Mike

    If you ever had to put gas in a Ford 8N “Red Belly” Tractor from the 40’s to early 50’s you learned how to put gas in them, the tank was right in front of the driver and sit right on top of the motor. Being around a farm as a kid, I learned you paid attention to what you were doing at the time, so not to get a flare up of gas when you filled it after running it for sometime.

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  4. VetteDude

    So, to all: if Willys was #2 after Ford, what happened?
    How can an owner mess up that bad?
    (Although I do remember all the makes that are gone from the 50’s: Desoto, Packard…)

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    • RollerD

      Just because they sold a lot of cars does not mean they made a lot of money or managed it properly. I believe they had problems with too much debt.

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  5. z1rider

    Lots of European cars had the gas tank under the hood. I have to wonder if the fuel’s volatility from refineries made the designers want to keep the fuel warm.

    Like 0

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