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Unique 1940 Willys Two-Seat Roadster Kit!

Let’s agree that cars have personalities: Headlights look like eyes, grilles look like mouths, and the metal crafters’ skills often create “facial expressions”  portraying images that the manufacturer hopes will attract buyers who connect with the car’s personality. Yet, so many of today’s cars have such mean and angry expressions it’s easy to make a connection with this hand-made roadster that has a “sad puppy eyes” face. Hard to not just take her on home and name her Mildred. You can find it here on eBay. Thanks to Peter R and Kyle K for finding us this pokey puppy.

Lots of American classics have been created by the Kustom Kulture artists, car builders like Ed Roth, George Barris, Dean Jefferies, and paint and pinstripe artist Kenny Howard (Von Dutch).  The Monkeemobile comes to mind, as does Dragula and the Batmobile which Barris originally built then sold it for $4.2 million in 2013. Our subject car probably doesn’t look much different than anyone of those Kustom Kars in mid-build progress.  And don’t forget Carroll Shelby’s iconic 1960s Cobras.  Step up and finish this one-of-a-kind wild child ride like the Beatnik Bandit—oh, you don’t want a Hot Wheels car made to look like the wicked hot rod in your garage?

This could well be that wicked hot rod! The eBay posting for this car is quite well written and it’s worth a look.  If you look closely at this photo, you may be able to see the faint outline of some letters on the driver’s door saying “Car Show” which may have been the steel-bodied car’s original duty as a “sign,” advertising a show.  The narrow-bodied sports car rear end has been fused to the 1940 Willys front end giving it a wide front stance, almost like a bulldog. The steel wheels are 16” and it would not be surprising if the steering wheel is actually from a Willys (cannot confirm).

Then, there’s this.  It is a rebuilt Dodge 325 KD500 Hemi just sitting in the engine bay but not mounted in or adapted for use in this car–yet. Scratch the last paragraph above about the wide front wheel stance—if this little Hemi is built out and pours out the hp, the front wheels may not be entirely in contact with earth very much unless you’re driving by the Police station or through the School Zone.  We sincerely hope that this little baby car actually sees the pages of a hot-rodding magazine someday—could happen if some Gearhead with a lot of creativity has that one-in-a-million happy, joyful wife who has inherited the family fortune. Sadly, Mrs. Gearhead would have to sing happy-happy joy-joy songs alone most evenings while hubby is having his way with the “mistress” in the garage—but maybe only for about 25 years.  An inspiring car-to-be—and just another little, lonely puppy looking for a good home. As of this posting, the lonely little roadster is hovering around $2,500 bid (Reserve Not Met), with an eBay closing time of Saturday, November 7 at 10:56 a.m.  She’s located in St. Augustine, Florida.


  1. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    You would have to be a Monkee’s uncle, with Bats in your belfry and a Bandit in your Cobra, to think you could drag this Kustom anywhere but the local HS shop class, where it probably originated.

    (And how does a shop class even operate nowadays).

    Like 4
  2. Joshua

    It kind of looks like an old MG that got stung by a bee in the front and then had an allergic reaction and got swollen in the front clip so bad the grill fell off. Still I do see the potential in this car and it starts with removing the front fenders.

    Like 4
    • Mike Tarutis Member

      Love the posts, guys. Joshua bee sting + allergic reaction got me to laugh. . .Joshua, I was thinking the opposite of removing the fenders. . .how about extending some running boards from the front fenders to just behind the doors?

      Like 0
  3. Kenneth Carney

    I dunno. Call me crazy but I really dig it.
    Don’t think I’d use the hemi in this car.
    Instead, I’d put it into a larger car just to
    keep all four tires on the road. In fact, I saw a ’57 Coronet 2-door post on YouTube that needed everything and the
    hemi would be a good start for that car.
    As for this car, I’d use the running gear
    from a ’90s model S-10 pickup. The V6
    would be more than adequate to power
    the car without flipping it. That way,
    you’d have a nice little cruiser to drive
    and enjoy.

    Like 0
  4. Pwog Member

    Has some Allard K2 in profile to my eye.

    Like 10
    • Derek

      My first thought was Allard, too.

      Like 2
  5. Steve R

    Right now there are people scouring vintage photos of hot rods trying to find something about this cars history, if they do, and it was built by a named builder the value of this car could skyrocket. Even though this might one day see the pages of Hot Rod magazine, the real prize would be coverage in The Rodders Journal.

    Someone put a lot of time and effort into this car, well before 40 Willy’s were held in such high esteem. Cars weren’t as refined back then, to laugh this one off as some sort of high school project gone wrong is incredibly disrespectful to people building these at home without access to much of the modern shop equipment nor taken for granted.

    Steve R

    Like 26
    • Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

      you are right of course. it was flippant and disrespectful for me to assume that this car was created by noobs and i give myself a thumbs down or two. regrets to all panel beaters and pipe bangers everywhere; your creativity and skills eclipse mine.

      Like 2
    • Mike Tarutis Member

      You are right, Steve R, even the Barris brothers started out with minor modifications to late 30s and 40s cars. . .good info easily found online about their early shop on Compton Ave and later in Lynwood, CA. Wish a connection to a name builder could be made, too for this car. Despite tons of criticism, those guys with imagination and who are unafraid of brute labor make something special, somehow, ignoring the skeptics.

      Henry Ford was known to say: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t. . .you’re right.”

      Like 2
  6. oilngas

    This is one of best looking home jobs I’ve seen. It flows. But what do I know? I took two years of high school auto body. If I was 20 years younger I’d drag this home.

    Like 7
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Steve’s got the right stuff on this car. Thousands of custom, home built, modified cars were built in the ’30s through the ’60s that should be preserved as part of our automotive history. Someone, somewhere has the history on this car and it would be interesting to see what it is and where it came from.

    Like 8
  8. Bob

    The current bid is worth the hemi sitting in the engine bay. Nonetheless, if somebody could track down the pedigree to see if this car was built in a milestone shop. The body is all steel, so whoever fabricated this one of a kind obviously was several levels above the “tin knocker” level. No high school auto shop could spit out such a coherent build.

    Like 1
    • Mike Tarutis Member

      My exact thoughts, Bob, on engine and level of car building abilities.

      Like 1
  9. Bob

    Can anybody tell me where that rear bumper came from! The provisions for the exhaust fall into the category of the corvette/T-birds of the mid 50’s.

    Like 0
  10. BlondeUXB Member

    Love it and the Old-Yeller spirit it conjures up…

    Like 2
  11. bigdoc13

    The rear bumper looks a lot like the center grill from a 1955 Olds.

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      I was thinking ’54 Olds, but on reflection, I’m thinking you might be right.

      Like 0
  12. Jaker76

    This thing intriques me!!! Wish i had room in the back garage for another project!!! And someone already said it, the Hemi is worth a lot in and of itself!! Hum, some serious thinking as this could be a cool finished project!

    Like 0
  13. Bill B

    I thought Allard K 2 at first glimpse too. I think this is great! A lot of work but well worth it in the end imo. But I’m too old and no garage.

    Like 1
  14. Bob

    This car has been bugging me for the past 24 hours! I think one of the potential clues is to identify the frame and suspension. At that point we could figure out a portion of the car’s pedigree.

    Like 1

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