This Rare 1959 Willys Jeep Gala Is a Pink Candy Stripe Gem

1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala 13 photos
Photo: Street Dreams/YouTube
1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala1959 Willys Jeep DJ-3A Gala
Introduced in 1941, the Willys MB is arguably the most iconic light utility vehicle of the military variety. But it's also famous for spawning the civilian Jeep CJ, the spiritual predecessor to the equally renowned Wrangler.
Unlike the latter, the CJ spent most of its long life in showrooms (1944-1986) as a spartan vehicle without car-like comfort features. Granted, the company attempted to offer a more upscale vehicle with the Jeepster, but the two-door phaeton wasn't popular and spent only three years in showrooms (1948-1950).

On the flip side, Willys took advantage of the CJ's simple layout to create an even more affordable commercial vehicle. I'm talking about the DJ, a two-wheel-drive variant of the CJ. Also known as the Dispatcher, it became popular with postal services in the US and Canada and remained in production from 1955 to 1984. Not surprisingly, it's widely recognized as the Postal Jeep.

But Willys-Overland (and then Kaiser Jeep) also used the DJ platform to create a cute and colorful version called the Gala. Launched in 1959, the Gala was originally an export model only, and it was designed as a rental vehicle for Henry Kaiser's Hawaiian Village Hotel. It later found its way into other Caribbean countries as a cheap runabout and delivery vehicle. A similar model called the Jeep Surrey was introduced on the US market in late 1959. It was primarily marketed toward resort hotels and vacation centers.

What sets the Surrey/Gala apart from the regular Dispatcher? For starters, it wasn't finished in the usual CJ colors, which were often reminiscent of the vehicle's military past. Willys went with two-tone finishes that combined Glacier White with Tropical Mist/Coral (pink), Cerulean Blue, and Jade Tint Green. The Jeeps also featured a canvas top with matching candy stripes and a fringe around the edges. The package also included a candy-striped interior, a colored steering wheel, and white wall tires.

Production of the Surrey Gala lasted until 1964. But despite its five-year run on the assembly line, output included only around 1,000 units. That's only 200 examples a year and one of the rarest Jeeps ever built. And that's precisely why seeing a first-year model in pristine condition is an incredibly rare treat. Moreover, this stunning example showcased by YouTube's "Street Dreams" is finished in pink.

Reportedly built for the Caribbean Palace in Nassau, the capital city of The Bahamas, this Willys is not only a well-maintained hauler, but it still rocks an original 134-cubic-inch (2.2-liter) four-cylinder under the hood. It's backed by a three-speed manual gearbox, the only combo available in the Willys-Overaland Jeep at the time. And the fact that it runs and drives like new makes it the perfect time capsule. Check it out in the video below.

Oh, and before you hit play, Elvis Presley also owned one. He obviously went with the Tropical Mist/Coral version to match his pink Cadillacs.

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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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