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History The Planets Align & I Buy a '41 Willys Coupe: Can you help track its racing history?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bass, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,350

    from Dallas, TX

    See post #307 for latest update!

    So I just did something I'd pretty much decided was never going to happen...I bought an all-steel ex-gasser '41 Willys Coupe. I've wanted to build one of these since I was a kid, and (thanks to my better half) that now looks like it's going to be a reality!

    The car is fairly solid, but does have some body issues. It's been crunched on the driver's side rear corner, and there is a little rust in the lower body and trunk pan. Overall though, it's way better than I ever could have imagined.

    The guy I bought the car from doesn't know any history on the car other than that he bought it out of Minnesota. The fellow he bought it from evidently drug the car out of a salvage yard back around 30 years ago. I haven't gotten this gentleman's contact information yet, but when I do I'm going to give him a call to see if he knows anything else about it.

    In the meantime, I figured it couldn't hurt to post some photos here to see if anyone recognized the car. I'm beginning to think that the car must have been raced really early...before the gas class heyday of the mid-60s. There are some distinguishing factors on the car that may help identify it.


    The spindle-mount magnesium 15" Halibrands are very early, and are actually in pretty good shape. I put the 16" rear wheels on the car after I took delivery...I'd been saving them for a car like this for 10 years! The Willys has what I believe is a '40 Ford front suspension in place with split wishbones. I haven't found a photo of another '41 Willys with this set-up yet.

    There are tow-bar tabs on the front, and it looks like the car center-punched a ball hitch at one point.


    The headlight rings are aftermarket Arrow sealed beams. The grille was missing.

    You can see the rear body damage in this shot:


    The car came with the original rear fenders, which still have their original paint, and have never been radiused. This is one of the reasons I believe the car was raced very early on. I also got the rear bumper, which must have been on the car when the damage occured...because it's taco-ed in the same spot.

    The rearend is Olds or Pontiac, and it looks like it had ladder bars at one time, but they're missing now.


    The firewall set-back is very nicely done. I don't know what engine the cut-outs in the firewall are for, but I'm starting to think it may have been for a 303/324/371/394 Olds?

    There is also a hydraulic clutch, which seems a bit unusual.


    The motor mounts are drilled out also. I'm not sure what the steering box is out of.


    The front crossmember is out of a '40 or so Ford. The work was actually done pretty nicely.


    The car evidently had front brakes at first, because there are drilled-out brake line tabs on the frame.


    The interior should also be an identifying factor. The inner structure around the rear window has been heavily drilled. The inner door jambs are also drilled.


    The steering wheel is a '50-52 Chevy butterfly accessory wheel:


    From the location of the shifter, I'm pretty positive the car ran a '37 Lasalle Transmission!



    Any help you can provide in finding any race history associated with this Willys will be much appreciated! In the end, even if I can't find anything out about it, I'm just plain stoked to have the opportunity to build this car. And when it's ready, I'll go out and make my own history with it.

    Thanks for looking!

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
    rumblegutz and wingnutz like this.
  2. KustomCars
    Joined: Jul 31, 2011
    Posts: 3,457

    from Minnesota

    No info .. but that is soo cool ! Goodluck
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,528


    Dang, you should be pretty excited right about now...that is a bitchin car!

    Imagine that guy drilling all those holes.....
  4. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,350

    from Dallas, TX

    Haha, yeah...I've been "that guy" before...but not to this extreme! All that drilling seems a bit excessive when the car still had the steel fenders and hood.

    But it sure looks cool! And I was told it whistles La Cucaracha at speed! :)

  5. nailhead terry
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,455

    nailhead terry

    Bass you luck dog ! Man Tinker might know something some of the old timers I hope reconize it. Look at the ugly nose in my shop old gasser parts I dont thing they ever met each other till now. Good luck on your search what a great find !

    Attached Files:

  6. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,700

    from Canada

    Cool find. Lucky you. Good luck tracing the history, I suspect you will find it eventually.
  7. bonesy
    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 3,000


    That's awesome!

    I can't wait to see this one come to life under you.
  8. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,438

    el Scotto
    from Tracy, CA

    That is sooo cool, I'm totally with you on the dreaming of owning a Willys Coupe but never expecting it to materialize, really glad to see it happen for you! :D
  9. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,618


    Couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy. I can't wait to see what you do with this one..
  10. Well thats downright cool. First thread i opened after logging on.
    I look forward to seeing you work some magic with it.
  11. cheveey57
    Joined: Mar 11, 2010
    Posts: 676


    Put me in the "wish it was me " category. Congrats!!
  12. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,418

    from Mass

    Yup same here. I'm happy for you and I hate you at the same time, :p

    BTW, I have the same double master cylinder set-up in my coupe. They're from mid-fifties Ford.
  13. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,415


    thats some coool car , have fun , hope someone can fill in some history on it
  14. violet springs
    Joined: Apr 2, 2006
    Posts: 389

    violet springs

    Great find, somebody spent alot of time with a drill on that rear panel.
  15. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,402


    Great score!! Don't know about the history -- there were so many Willys running in the late 50s - early '60s...I recall that the early gasser rules required front brakes, which may be why it still has front brake lines/tabs....never seen one drilled out that much. think of the hours that must have taken for, what, a couple of pounds? Very cool car, sure you will make it a real runner...
  16. Tsquared
    Joined: Feb 5, 2005
    Posts: 522

    from Pratt, Ks.

    Nice score! If you take a wire brush to that steering gear, I think you`ll find it`s a
  17. Hotrodbuilderny
    Joined: Mar 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,646


    Nice find, good luck tracking the history down.
  18. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,038

    1. 60s Show Rods

    thats so damn kick ass!!!!

    i have a 37 lasalle for sale in the classifdes with a caddy / olds bell.. just sayin..

    Can have it dilivered next week to Austin.. Just saying... Again.
  19. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,350

    from Dallas, TX

    I forgot to mention that I believe the blue paint underneath the dark gray/black primer is actually the factory original paint.

    My plans aren't real firm just yet, but I think I'm going to have to 'do the right thing' and put a blown 392 Chrysler in the car. Probably going to put a 4-speed behind the Hemi, and possibly run the Olds/Pontiac rear. I'll have to source another Olds rear for parts though, as this one is missing the 3rd member and has mis-matched axles.
  20. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,350

    from Dallas, TX

    I do believe that you are most likely correct. I'll check it out...thanks!

    Piero, I have a '37 Lasalle already. I don't know if I'd want to put it in this car behind a blown Chrysler, but I'm just crazy enough that I might do it!
  21. Mr. Bass, sir, I officially now hate you.
    (that's a joke, count me in as one of the "wish it would happen to me" club)

    That thing looks absolutely BITCHIN !!!!!
  22. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,727

    from Calgary

    Cool. Just cool.
  23. metal man
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,949

    metal man

    Awesome,you lucky dog.That is a real gem. Coincidentally, a buddy of mine got hit by texter in his '41 back in April. The (new) '41 grill only got one tiny scratch,but since the insurance co. bought him a new one,he changed to a '40 grill and front panel. The '41 grill is available...I'm thinking real reasonable. I'll see what I can get it for if interested.
  24. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,511

    from California

    Great score Brian, Kiwi Kev is going to shit rubber nickels......I also have a soft spot for Willys coupes.
  25. 29 bones
    Joined: Sep 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,126

    29 bones
    from so cal

    That is one Great project...Wow
  26. Rude Dude
    Joined: Dec 14, 2003
    Posts: 356

    Rude Dude

    That is a nice Willy's congrats my Uncle has two 392 Hemi's in storage I can ask if he wants to part with them.
    rod1 likes this.
  27. boogeracng
    Joined: Feb 13, 2008
    Posts: 343

    from Eureka,MO

    If anyone on here should have knowledge of a Minnesota car, gwillys should know....what say ye Bill? Recognize this one?
  28. Blown 392...... im drooling on my keyboard after reading that you know its the right thing to do.
  29. Can't wait to see what you do with it.

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