1949 Willys Jeepster Spent 46 Years in a Barn, Comes Back to Life for Christmas

1949 Willys Jeepster 6 photos
Photo: Mortske Repair/YouTube
1949 Willys Jeepster1949 Willys Jeepster1949 Willys Jeepster1949 Willys Jeepster1949 Willys Jeepster
Jeep is mostly famous for its off-road-oriented vehicles and pickup trucks, but the company also built an automobile back in the day. Well, we could say it's the ancestor to the modern crossover, but Willys-Overland's intention back then was to enter the passenger car market. I'm talking about the Jeepster, a short-lived nameplate offered from 1948 to 1950.
Even though it was related to the Jeep Station Wagon and Jeep Truck models that Willys had in dealerships at the time, the Jeepster wasn't designed as a utility vehicle. It was larger than the Jeep CJ, provided comfortable seating for four, and came with features that were considered premium at the time.

The list included whitewall tires, hubcaps with bright trim rings, sun visors, a locking glovebox, cigar lighter, and continental tire with fabric cover. And while these types of items came as optional extras on other automobiles, they were standard equipment on the Jeepster.

But the nameplate wasn't very successful and Jeep ended production after only three years and about 19,100 units built. The nameplate returned in 1966 as the Jeepster Commando, this time around for a two-door convertible pickup. It was discontinued in 1973.

Come 2021, and the original Jeepster is one of the rarest Jeeps out there. But because it looks rather quirky and its utility and practicality are limited, the Jeepster is not an overly valuable collectible. As a result, many of them are still stuck in barns and backyards.

The 1949 Jeepster you're about to see below spent no fewer than 46 years in storage. It's been in the same family since 1958, but it's been parked for the last time in 1975. Almost five decades later and YouTube's "Mortske Repair," who happens to be the owner's grandson, decided to put the old Jeepster back on its feet.

Definitely not an easy job after 46 years, especially with a stuck engine and a lot of parts that are way past their prime, but not impossible either.

Not surprisingly, the four-cylinder engine needs almost a rebuild to come back to life. But the old 134-cubic-inch (2.2-liter) mill agrees to run again and takes the Jeepster on its first voyage since it was parked in the corner of the barn.

The cool thing about this four-cylinder is that it's mostly identical to the "Go-Devil" powerplant that Willys offered in the CJ and the military-grade MB. The 60-horsepower unit was joined by the 148-cubic-inch (2.4-liter) "Lightning" inline-six in 1949.

For the car's final model year, Willys added the 134-cubic-inch "Hurricane" four-cylinder and an enlarged, 161-cubic-inch (2.6-liter) variant of the "Lightning" inline-six. But enough Jeepster history for today, hit the play button below to watch this vintage Willys come back to life.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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