Build it and drive it, that's my motto! These are cars, not pieces of sculpture, gas is getting expensive, and the highways are getting clogged and there's no better time than now to get out there and enjoy that special car. How better to do it than behind the wheel of this great '41 Willys coupe that was built to cruise?
With a fiberglass body from Antique and Collectable Body in Buffalo, New York, this Willys looks killer in 2-stage Hot Hues Radison Red with polished aluminum wheels. There are no wild graphics, no scoops or flares, just the traditional Willys shape and some clean bodywork to create a car that makes a statement without shouting it. If you know fiberglass, you know that Antique and Collectable Body puts out some of the nicest stuff in the industry, and the finish work on this car is first rate. The panels are straight and wave-free, there's no sign of orange peel in the paint, and gaps are tidy. The doors open and close with a decisive click and seal up well. This car has clearly been driven it has almost 3200 miles after all but the paint shows like brand new. Someone took very good care of this car while they were out enjoying it.
To my eye, this cars most striking exterior feature is the trick rear brake light; a long LED assembly that spans the entirety of the rear valence and has been smoothed and frenched into place under the clearcoat so that it's virtually invisible until you hit the brakes. Too, too cool! You'll also notice the neat side-view mirrors that match the body's curves exceptionally well, and the early Ford V8 headlight lenses that look exactly right on this Willys.
When you open the hood, you'll know that this car was built to drive! Power is supplied by a GM Performance Parts crate 502 making 502 horsepower and 502 pounds of torque, plenty to motivate this relatively lightweight car with authority. But you'll also notice that the engine bay is well-engineered and functional. There's not a lot of dress-up and flash under here aside from the cool custom-built air intake on top of the carburetor. A set of ceramic-coated headers dumps into a custom-built exhaust system featuring Flowmaster mufflers that exhale through custom tips under the running boards. You'll also find a well-laid-out wiring harness, lines and accessories, a big radiator with an electric fan, and a dead-nuts-reliable carbureted intake system. A pair of electric fans was added to the inner fender wells to help extract engine heat from that tight engine compartment, a clever idea. Still, this engine is pure function, which is just as it should be on a driver. Having a flawless, polished, chromed, painted, pinstriped engine might discourage you from actually driving the car! Instead, the builder of this car focused on getting the mechanicals 100% reliable so he could hit the road. The workmanship under here is first-rate, don't get me wrong, it just isn't built to wow show crowds. The only person this car is designed to impress is the driver, and it does that exceptionally well.
The engine is backed by a built TCI 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission with an 1800 RPM stall converter, and features a deep overdrive for effortless highway cruising. A Lokar shifter controls the transmission and has a vintage look. Out back, you'll find a Currie 9-inch Ford rear end stuffed full of 4.11 gears, a Detroit Locker limited slip and 31-spline Mosier axles. This beefy powertrain is definitely up to the rigors of the road, even considering the massive power being churned to the tires. And again, it tells you that the owner was all about making it reliable, tough, and fun to drive.
The chassis is an Art Morrison tube frame that has been powdercoated gloss black for durability. Up front, the suspension consists of tubular upper and lower A-arms with Alden Eagle adjustable coilover shock absorbers. The rack-and-pinion steering is manual, with a Flaming River setup that includes a polished tilt steering column. Out back, the narrowed 9-inch hangs off a custom 4-link rear suspension that rides on another pair of those Alden Eagle coilovers. The 4-wheel disc brakes are fed by stainless steel brake lines that will last forever and you'll see a set of matching stainless fuel lines running right alongside for a trick look. Of course, for the true Pro-Street look, the rolling stock is a traditional big-n-little combination featuring Weld Racing polished aluminum wheels with knock-off style centers. Up front, the Hoosier tires are 26x7.5R15s and the rears are massive 31x13.5R15s.
The interior is a great environment for getting down to the business of driving and has clearly been designed for long-haul comfort. The charcoal gray upholstery looks awesome with an almost OEM feel, which is not surprising given the seats out of a late-model GM truck. The combination of leather and suede on the seats is both comfortable and stylish, and this is an interior you'll be happy to both sit in and admire. The center console is custom fabricated from aluminum, and houses the remote switches for the power windows, ignition and other electronic controls. The aluminum center stack houses the Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo system and HVAC controls from Vintage Air. A pair of simple round gauges from Classic Instruments is housed in front of the Grant steering wheel, while a Sun tachometer is perched on the dashboard up near the windshield for a vintage racer feel. For battery and fuse block access, the passenger seat folds forward, and check out the aircraft-style swivel lights on the headliner cool! The trunk has been professionally finished as well featuring more charcoal faux leather and carpet; all accessed with heavy-duty electric struts that open the lid with the touch of a button.
This car also includes a thick binder full of receipts for every single component that went into the construction so you'll know what you have and how to operate it. There's also a professional appraisal pegging the value of this incredible street machine at $110,000. And to make it easy to title and drive, it carries an authentic 1941 Willys data tag and VIN.
We have trailer queens, and if you want one, give us a call to check them out. But rarely do we get a car that was actually built to drive like this one was, while showing like a piece of jewelry. Sure, they're all cars and they can all hit the road equally well, but the fellow who built this car knew from the start that it was a driver, not a show piece and spent his money where it mattered most. He built a reliable, powerful, fun bruiser that has already covered more than 3000 miles. If you're the kind of guy who likes to drive and enjoy his hardware, you owe it to yourself to check out this fabulous Willys and see if you don't agree with the builder that getting there is all the fun.
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$299.00 Dealer Administrative Charge is not included in advertised price. All prices and offers are before state, city and county tax, tag, title and license fees. Out of state buyers are responsible for all state, county, city taxes and fees, as well as title/registration fees in the state that the vehicle will be registered. Dealer not responsible for errors and omissions; all offers subject to change without notice, please confirm listings with dealer.
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