1951 Willy Jeep Truck Gets Second Chance After 43 Years, Engine Refuses To Die

1951 Willys Jeep Truck 10 photos
Photo: Jennings Motor sports/YouTube
1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck1951 Willys Jeep Truck
As soon as World War 2 ended in 1945, Willys turned its military-spec Jeep MB into a civilian rig. In fact, the company began producing the CJ-2 in 1944, but the 40 units built weren't sold to the public. One year later, the CJ-2A hit showrooms and kicked off a legacy that lasted until 1986, when the Wrangler arrived.
But the CJ wasn't the only vehicle derived from the MB. In 1946, Willy launched the Jeep Station Wagon. Designed by Brooks Stevens, it was the first mass-produced all-steel wagon built for passenger use and among the precursors to the modern SUV. Production lasted through 1964 in the US and continued until 1977 in South America.

One year later, Willys-Overland expanded its lineup with a pickup truck based on the same platform. Called the Jeep Truck, the one-ton four-wheel drive rig was available as a pickup truck, platform stake hauler, chassis cab, and bare chassis. In 1949, Willys added a 3/4-ton two-wheel drive version.

The Jeep Truck remained in showrooms until 1965. It was replaced by the Gladiator, which Willys had introduced in 1962. The company sold more than 200,000 units in 18 years.

Although it was relatively popular at the time, the Jeep Truck is a rare sight nowadays. It's nowhere near as iconic as the Gladiator and many examples were abandoned when owners got access to more modern pickup trucks. How many have survived to this day? Well, let's just say that you'll need to attend many classic car shows to spot one in excellent condition.

The 1951 version you see here is rather rough, but it's one of those trucks that did not end up in the crusher. And thankfully enough, YouTube's "Jennings Motor sports" decided to give it a second chance after more than 40 years off the road.

It's unclear when this Willys was last driven, but our host speculates that it has been sitting for 43 or 44 years. And it sure looks like it. The paint is crusty, the body shows lots of surface corrosion, and many panels have been fixed with Bondo. Needless to say, this truck was already in rough condition when it was parked in the 1970s. It's safe to assume it was someone's trusty workhorse for a very long time.

But that someone didn't take very good care of the Jeep, so this truck needs a full restoration to shine again. It's unclear if our host plans to give the hauler a makeover, but he wanted to make it run and drive again. And amazingly enough, for a vehicle that sat for more than four decades, the engine agreed to fire up after an oil change and a bit of tinkering. And even though the rear differential doesn't work as it should, the Jeep moved for a few yards.

What's under the hood, you ask? This Jeep relies on a 226-cubic-inch (3.7-liter) inline-six mill. Called the Super Hurricane, it was offered in the Jeep Truck from 1954 to 1962. Since this example is a 1951, we're probably looking at a swap.

The pickup was initially launched with the ubiquitous 134-cubic-inch (2.2-liter) Go-Devil inline-four. The similar Hurricane replaced it in 1950 and remained the sole engine until the Super Hurricane became available in 1954. In 1962, the Super Hurricane was replaced by the 230-cubic-inch (3.8-liter) Tornado, also a straight-six unit.

But that's enough history for today. Hit the play button below to watch this old Willys come back to life after more than 40 years off the road.

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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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