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Yellow And Mellow: 1949 Willys Jeepster

front left

After the war, Willys was producing the “CJ” or civilian Jeep for farmers and anyone who needed to drive off-road. In 1948 Willys added a line of vehicles of passenger cars based on the CJ, including the Jeepster. They didn’t sell well so they are rare. This Jeepster is listed here on craigslist and located in Champaign, Illinois. The asking price is $9,850. It appears very original and complete. It was found in a barn and restored to running and driving condition. The seller reports it has a new top and side curtains, but he also reports it appears to have a cheap paint job. There’s no mention of rust. The color looks like the original “Michigan Yellow” color.


There must have been some cleaning and restoration work here as well. The cutout on the far left of the dashboard is a puzzle.


The engine is the “Go Devil” 60 HP 136 CID flat head four. It appears original and complete under the hood. Someone has done a nice job cleaning up the engine compartment.


The “continental” spare tire really was a standard feature. Even the funny looking tail lights are stock. The new top and back window do look nice. Could you drive this as it is or would you need to repaint it? How much bondo and rust do you think you might find under that paint? It looks pretty nice in the pictures, but could it really be this nice? This could be a fun driver. It will be interesting to see what you have to say about this Jeepster.


  1. Bob Hess

    The way the dash is built the only place to put a radio is on the far left side… thus the radio shaped hole in the dash…?

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    • Ken R

      Yes, two dials, left hole was volume and right dialed in your station. The AM stations frequency was in the center. You can see the antennae in the first photo in front of the drivers door. Working original radios for the Jeepster are fairly rare.
      The ivory colored steering wheel indicated a deluxe model in 49 and 50.

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  2. Jeff DeWitt

    Those “funny looking lights” are actually pretty common. My Studebaker Champ had the same lights but when I got the truck they were in pretty bad shape.

    Needing to do something about the lights I went to Wal-Mart and got some trailer lights that looked very similar. I was REALLY surprised to find they weren’t just similar, they were IDENTICAL except the housing was plastic instead of steel. Even the markings on the lenses were the same.

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  3. Bill B

    I agree with Bob, it’s a radio hole. Bill B/’48 Jeepster

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  4. Puhnto

    Love these old Jeepsters! (Since they were new and I was just a kid.)

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  5. charlie Member

    Max 50 mph with that engine, unless it has overdrive, then maybe 56 mph, or you will blow it apart. No interstates.

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  6. Steve

    My Dad had one of these in yellow before I was around. I always wanted to get one for him while he was here, but I fell short. ),

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    • William H

      Yellow must have been a common color for these as my father also had a yellow one when I was 10 or 11. The body was incredibly rough though. I remember helping him rebuild the engine. He got it running great and we loved tooling around in it but, as someone mentioned above, top speed was about 50 mph. We ended up sandblasting the whole thing one winter and found the real extent of the rust issues. We put probably 100 patch panels on it then painted it with silver bed liner and added two black “SS” stripes. Turned out really neat and people started trying to buy it. He sold it for another project but we made some great memories building it.

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