- 355 cubic inch Corvette V8 which produces 388 horsepower and 396 ft./lb. of torque
- Borg Warner T10 4-speed transmission
- Ford nine inch rear end that's complete with 3.50 gears
- Authentic Willys frame that's been boxed and X-braced
- Original solid axle front suspension and custom ladder bar rear suspension
- Power GM front disc and Ford rear drum brakes
- 15 inch E/T wheels
- Highly correct fiberglass body that's outfitted with authentic trim and covered in Strawberry Metallic paint
- Custom Pecan and Almond leather interior
- Custom trunk that's outfitted with burled Redwood cabinetry
Seeing top-notch street rods come through our RK Motors Charlotte showroom never gets old. But when we get a custom car that's constructed around a cohesive theme, we know we're seeing something special and we ALWAYS take the time to appreciate every little detail of its build. After all, it' not like we're talking about some horribly named, extravagantly colored paint and body package that's as offensive as it is intriguing; we're talking about a car that was planned, researched, tweaked and detailed from its inception to be so true to an idea or time period that you'll need an expert to deny its authenticity. Built to be as close to an all-steel 60s weekend warrior as possible, this classic 1941 Willys Coupe is a great example of what happens when a stack of original Willys parts, hundreds of hours of correct build techniques and a roster of precisely modeled replica pieces are combined into a world class showpiece that's one of the most true to form fiberglass cars we've ever seen. If you're a discerning street rod buyer who's ready to go big and drop jaws, we've got just the car you've been looking for!
Parked at the front of our colorful showroom in all its subdued red glory, this awesome Willys is one of those cars that takes multiple looks to truly appreciate. Sure it's cool; but in the world of modern street rodding, seeing a cool Willys is predictable. And you bet it's nice, but in the age of 21st century build techniques, seeing a super nice Willys is expected. What's not predictable or expected is finding a build where an owner has gone the extra mile, and then some, to both honor what the car originally was and re-create an atmosphere from a specific era in the car's history. That subdued red paint, which is actually a very dynamic factory Ford color that goes by the name Strawberry Metallic, was sprayed on one section at a time and then covered with three layers of clearcoat to ensure both quality and durability. Those carefully formed sections have been detailed to the point that no 'raw' fiberglass is visible from any angle of the car. And that straight and smooth fiberglass was molded, laminated and accessorized to replicate an original Willys as exactly as possible. Today, with roughly 100 miles on its complete build, this one-of-a-kind street rod sits as a fully-sorted throwback to exactly what made these cars so admired and so unforgettable.
The idea was to create a car that looked, performed and drove exactly like a 60s-era racer; and naturally, a concept so specific and so scrutinized could only be achieved with a pile of top notch Willys parts and hours of skilled labor. At the front of the car a familiar chrome grille, which received 80 hours of work prior to being re-chromed, is centered between an authentic chrome bumper and original, red-detailed headlights that come complete with modified reflectors and halogen turn signal bulbs. At the sides of that grille, correctly modeled fiberglass fenders feature correctly ribbed wheel wells. And above that grille a fiberglass hood, which was fabricated out of four pieces to be an exact copy of Willys' original steel piece, features authentic stainless trim that terminates at a pristine “Americar” branded hood ornament. At the top of the car new greenhouse glass, which is cleared by power stainless wipers, rides between labor-intensive, bonded steel drip rails, a custom fabricated, fully-functional hood vent and correct chrome mirrors. Behind that glass, correctly modeled rear fenders hang authentic stainless trim above two more correctly ribbed wheel wells. And just below that glass, lightweight fiberglass doors hang authentic stainless trim between restored door handles and precisely replicated bear claw hinges. At the back of the car, a manual trunk lid centers a pristine chrome tag light above a restored chrome handle. At the edges of that trunk, correct halogen tail lights are bright and fade-free. And at the base of that trunk, an “Americar” branded bumper perfectly complements spotless stainless exhaust tips. There's no mistaking a Willys coupe, but as you can tell, this one has an identity all its own thanks to excellent workmanship and a careful attention to detail.
Somewhere along the line, street rodding deities handed down a decree that all Willys must have the largest engines their builders can find. Fortunately, the owner of this car doesn't spend time at the altar of hot rod voodoo and appropriately sourced a 1969 Corvette mill instead. Now, before you start mumbling about outdated technology, bear in mind this isn't just any old small block Chevy. It's a high quality pavement pounder that was fine-tuned to 388 horsepower and 396 ft./lb. of torque by the experts at Maryland Performance in Fredericksburg, Maryland. At the top of the bright red 355, a polished Hilborn electronic fuel injection system mixes air from eight chrome velocity stacks with a steady stream of dino juice that surges through a Mallory regulator, a liquid-filled Marshall gauge and carefully bent stainless lines. At the back of that Hilborn system, you'll find an aftermarket points distributor which shoots sparks through custom loomed MSD Super Conductor plug wires. At the sides of that Hilborn system, factory Chevrolet heads hide a Comp cam, Scat connecting rods, TRW forged pistons and roller rocker arms beneath Moon filler caps and chrome Corvette valve covers. At the front of the engine, a custom, speed drilled alternator bracket hangs a chrome Powermaster alternator between a full set of braided hoses, a full set of chrome pulleys and a red detailed flex fan. And at the sides of the engine, traditional fenderwell headers funnel spent gases into a ceramic coated true dual exhaust system that's complete with straight-out side dumps. Aesthetically, the car's tight engine bay is a virtually flawless piece of street rod art which features a correctly duplicated firewall, a correctly formed steel inner nose piece and a correct chrome replica hood prop that's been speed drilled as if it were 1969. And the small block's workmanship is first-rate with details like completely hidden wiring, early canvas-style wire loom, a custom fabricated throttle system, and a manual oil pressure gauge reinforcing the fact that someone put a whole lot of thought into its build.
That storied small block engine is backed by a proven Borg Warner T10 4-speed transmission which spins power through an awesome checkered driveshaft to a familiar Ford nine inch rear end and stout 3.50 gears. Holding that fully-detailed drivetrain off the ground is an authentic Willys frame that has been boxed, equipped with a new, original-look X-brace, and bolted to the car's fiberglass body via steel mounts that are patterned after original equipment. At the front of that frame an original straight axle, which has been chromed, drilled and shackled to old school leaf springs, hangs a Vega steering box between chrome suspension components and brand new bushings; and at the back of the frame, custom fabricated ladder bars combine with a smooth silver axle and two more leaf springs to provide drag strip worthy launches. That suspension, which has been lowered as much as those stock pieces would allow, bolts up to GM power front disc and Ford rear drum brakes that utilize a dual diaphragm, floor-mounted booster, a vacuum pump and a vacuum reservoir to turn high speeds into drama-free stops. The engine's exhaust is handled by mandrel bent and ceramic coated pipes which either roar through straight-out side dumps or growl through high quality ceramic coated Magnaflow mufflers. And keeping all the car's muscle rolling down the road is a slick set of 15 inch E/T wheels, ten spokes up front and fuelies out back, which wear 195/65 Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring and 255/70 General Ameri-G4S respectively. With a beefy drivetrain that's been reliably built to be both tough and fun to drive, this '41 Willys is the real deal. And from its exact replica floor pans and AN fuel line fittings to its Corvette high capacity oil pan and 20 gallon stainless steel fuel tank, it's a super impressive piece that's likely to take home gold at any show you chose to attend!
Twist this Coupe's precisely replicated door latches and you'll find an inviting leather interior that's a great blend of high quality materials and basic hot rod etiquette. Built around a modern split bench seat that's equipped with original, refurbished SCTA seat belts, this stunning cockpit wraps its occupants in a nice combination of Pecan Tan leather surfaces, Almond leather accents and hand formed stainless trim. At the front of the car a body-matched dash centers an authentic Motorola radio, which has been rebuilt into an AM/FM MP3 compatible stereo, between an original-style glove box, custom milled Willys accessory knobs and an engine turned instrument panel that's stuffed with early-style Stewart Warner gauges. At the bottom of the car, color-keyed wool carpet anchors a Lokar emergency brake handle, a re-bent and re-chromed Hurst shifter and vintage looking Moon foot pedals between Lizard Skin sound deadening and traditionally drilled door sills. At the sides of the car, Pecan door panels hang custom armrests and custom polished trim between authentic Willys door hardware and driver-oriented kick panels that are complete with large Pioneer speakers. And at the top of the car, an Almond Ultraleather headliner perfectly complements almond window frames and Pecan trimmed sun visors. The driver is connected to the road via an old school Bell steering wheel that spins a black rim around a polished Limeworks early-style steering column, a large Stewart Warner tachometer and an NOS turn signal lever. And the passenger's cargo is stored in a professionally finished trunk which centers burled Redwood cabinetry between speed drilled sills and a custom fabricated support system that's designed to preserve the integrity of the car's fiberglass decklid.
From mold and jig to paint and trim, this killer Willys was designed, assembled and finished by one person who has an extensive background in the street rod industry. Not surprisingly, the car's sale includes a very comprehensive build book which consists of detailed pictures, a stack of receipts, the owner's thoughts and notes pertaining to almost every aspect of the car, and a flash drive that features both a video of the engine's dyno run and another round of build pictures.
Few cars of this nature can truly back up their looks with astounding performance, but this Willys definitely has what it takes. You're looking at a 60s street-racer; and when your foot hits the floor, you'll get a 60s street-racer. The question then becomes: when will you ever find another Willys that's this detailed and correct? We all know the answer whether we want to accept it or not. NOW is your chance to benefit from someone else's hard work and put a one-of-a-kind street rod in your garage. If you're a fan of horsepower, Willys or just going fast and looking good, your car awaits!
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