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History Earliest Willys Racecars

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by elgringo71, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 13,967

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

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  2. SR100
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 370

    SR100

    Isn't that the wheel from a modern spacesaver spare on the front (w/ whitewall)?
     
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  3. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,292

    jnaki

    upload_2018-1-11_3-28-48.png
    upload_2018-1-11_3-29-0.png 1959-60 upload_2018-1-11_4-8-29.png BOB HAINES
    Hello,
    These were somewhat popular back then, just because they looked different(expensive.) But, were only for pre-1949 Ford bolt patterns. Made and distributed by a Seattle, Washington company called California Equipment Co.
    Jnaki
    $142 in 1960 equals $1,166.10 in 2017.
    Those on the Willys were $62: $62 in 1960 equals $509.14 in 2017.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

  4. View attachment 3770575
    Intrigued by this car - it has a really early look to it, but pics ive seen of it all look to be from past few decades. I thought i had an old pic of it but can't now find anything. Is it an original build thats survived? Does anyone have more info?
    Three Day & SR100
    This is a Minnesota car...more of the Minnesota tin. I know a lot about this car, but with all my time at the track in the 60's I don't think I ever saw it run. Where to start...the owner was a person, (now deceased) named Gary Gilgosch. (Gillys Willys). I first knew him when I was an instructor, at a local summer hockey school that he had enrolled his son in...but I was done with my racing at that time (the early 70's)...however I did not know that he had a Willys or was into gassers. When I got back into (Willys) cars in the late 70's, I found my old coupe, but it was not for sale. It later sold without my knowledge, and the new owner put a 426 Hemi in it. Now out of my price range, Gary bought it to become its 3rd owner (Un-beknown to me)...he didn't know of my willys background, and I didn't know of his. I got to meet him again when he joined Mid-America Willys Club, and began coming to my local (Annual) Willys Picnic. He owned a body shop, and I was glad that my old car would finally get finished. In the mean time he told me of his Willys history, and said he had another old race car (his '40 coupe) at home in a shed. I meant to stop by, and did get get to his body shop and saw my old coupe, but never did get to his house to see the red coupe in his shed. I first saw it at the 1999 Gasser Reunion get together in St Louis (actually East St Louis). It was an absolute throwback "period" piece from the 60's. By this time I had found a coupe (my white '39), and kept asking him about my old gasser that he had bought (now with the 426 in it). In all the years Gary had my old car, he and his son (who now owns the body shop) never got my (old) car finished. There is a lot more to the story, but this is enough for now, and I will add more later.
    The red car however is still here in the metro area with a new owner, as Gary's son decided to part with it. g-willys
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  5. Here's a story regarding Gillys Willys that was told to me by Gary himself. Gary was in a Willys dealership somewhere in St Paul, or the surrounding area, and asked the parts department person if there were any Willys parts anywhere in the dealership for a 1940 Willys, on the chance that they might have something that got stashed away and forgotten. The parts man told him that he thought there was an old fender somewhere upstairs in there storage area. Remember now this was perhaps back in the early 60's when a 1940 coupe was only a 20 year old car. Sure enough, as Gary told to me, the fender was for a 40-41-42, and still wraped in the brown paper from the factory. Gary said that he paid something like 5-10 dollars for it and carried it out to his vehicle...the parts guy was just glad to get rid of it. We were by the coupe at the Gateway drag strip in east St Louis, and Gary said, its the passenger side front fender, rub your hand under the wheel well, which I did. It was super smooth and kind of shinny black...it actually felt nicer than the top side of the fender, which had the red paint on it. Ron Ladley told me once, that he did similiar things by asking for any old left over parts a dealership might have in the attic, or in storage...he got lots of stuff that way.
    g-willys
     
  6. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,495

    elgringo71
    Member

    I like hearing these stories of parts finds and wild goose chases that turned out to be a Willys Coupe. Sometimes you get lucky.
     
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  7. The near Final Chapter...My 1940 coupe changed hands one more time. The owner of Gillys Willys, perhaps because he knew he was ill, I don't know for sure, but he decided to sell my old '40, now with the 426 in it, to another local guy.
    That guy wanted to finish it, and so he did. He put a lot of time and $$ into it and it was finally done. It was stunning, and it ended up in one of our local car show. You will see by the picture how fantastic it turned out after going through the 3 previous owners after I sold it in 1969...I had my fun, but it was nice to know that it brought lots of fun and satisfaction to the 4 who owned it after me. The car is still around the twin cities, and once again for sale...g willys 20140406_140609.jpg
    20140406_140555 (3).jpg
     
  8. steveo3377
    Joined: Feb 13, 2016
    Posts: 33

    steveo3377

    Not Indy,was at Orange Mass. Drags.Those pics. are from my collection.Coupe was owned by Maury Brodin back then.I owned it a while back but sold it to a friend of mine
     
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  9. steveo3377
    Joined: Feb 13, 2016
    Posts: 33

    steveo3377

    Another pic. from a slide collection I had transferred to disc a few years ago,probably taken at Orange Mass.airport drags.Buddy of mine sold it in mid-late 60's and has never been seen since
     
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  10. steveo3377
    Joined: Feb 13, 2016
    Posts: 33

    steveo3377

    Dickie Doyle from Ct.
     
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  11. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member


    from Terryville Ct. :)
     
  12. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member

    RIP. Jack Merkel's 39

    jack merkel 39.JPG


    Speedway Custom & Speed

    speedway custom & speed shop check.JPG

    Truhitte Automotive

    truhitte automotive and early.JPG
     
  13. Hi Chuck...I know there will be someone who can give you a more accurate answer, but from my memory we did not narrow the rear end on my original '40 coupe...I CAN tell you that it was a 6 bolt chevy pickup rear end. My best recollection from at the track back in the early 60's, was that there were many of the old drag cars with wheels sticking way out of the wheel well, which tells me that they were not narrowed...but certainlythere were some where the wheels fit under the body too...I guess I never gave it much thought. I have a picture of the chasis on the '40 somewhere, maybe I can find it...if I have it you will see an olds hydro mounted, but it didn't run well with that trans...ran better with a 4-speed. I saw a lot of 8-lug set ups, but never looked into one...don't know much about them.
    Bill
    P.S. Al is sure having fun with his coupe...by the way, come to my Willys picnic this summer.
     
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  14. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,495

    elgringo71
    Member

    Thanks for the correction, it's important to get the facts right. Do you have any more pictures, stories or history that you can share about that coupe or any other early Willys race cars?

     
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  15. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,495

    elgringo71
    Member

  16. wheelguy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2011
    Posts: 293

    wheelguy
    Member

    Regarding some of the recent post about wide rear ends (truck), I'm not sure about those cars but I remember (faintly, I'm almost 73) that although it wasn't a truck rear end one of the earliest narrow looking cars was Jim Oddy's Willys, it had the wheels and tires inside of unradiased fenders. Looked very clean and almost unusual without tires hanging outside the body. Around the mid sixties era.
     
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  17. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member

    All these were at Pomona 63-64

    EDIT: from nhranut That Willys P/U is Finders/Casper/Watson.

    2 a  pomna.JPG

    again

    2 pomna.JPG

    Airoso Bros

    airoso bros pomona.JPG

    Brown Bros next to Duncan Shores

    brown bros next to duncan shores.JPG

    unk

    early at pomona.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  18. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 316

    Stan Back
    Member
    from California

    Looking above, I think we've all forgotten how popular flat-towing was. We registered our 23 T as a trailer (how, I don't remember).
     
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  19. NHRANUT
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 677

    NHRANUT
    Member
    from Western PA

  20. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member


    Fixed it again :)
     
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  21. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,292

    jnaki


    Hey Jason,

    I was reading an old Drag News and came across this photo ad from Scott Fuel Injection. This was right during our escapades at Lions with our 671 SBC 40 Willys build and race days. We were so wrapped up in our Willys runs and the excitement around the races that we overlooked this Hirshfield Willys in the Altered class. ( our races/runs were getting close to the national record in C/Gas and we were trying to push it a little harder with each run.) Besides, we knew of the Studebaker sedan from the Hirshfield race group, but this one just slipped by us.

    Junji

    upload_2018-1-16_6-32-47.png
     
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  23. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,495

    elgringo71
    Member

    Unfortunately this may be true and probably happened many times. A friend of my dads raced a Willys Coupe in the 60s and when I asked him if he had any parts left he told me that after getting fiberglass parts he put some of the sheetmetal on the curb for the trash man.

     
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  24. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,495

    elgringo71
    Member

    Junji, this is something that I had wondered about after seeing these wheels on a couple of cars. I was wondering if they were factory Willys wheels that had holes drilled in them and were them chromed but now I know.

     
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  25. 3day
    Joined: Apr 15, 2009
    Posts: 353

    3day
    Member
    from UK

    G-willys - Thanks you very much for the information. I had thought that it looked like an early build - I love the look of it and hopefully someone has more pics of it statshed away. And I'm glad your old car also got finished and you get to see it still being enjoyed.
     
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  26. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member

    Real old

    3.JPG
     
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  27. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,495

    elgringo71
    Member

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  28. One of my favorite threads.. Love seeing Willys from pre 1963.
     
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  29. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member

    Couple of the convertible. The ad was posted before in the thread about it but by itself

    4.JPG
     
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  30. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,203

    loudbang
    Member

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