Like fashion, the collector car market is cyclical. And, like fashion staples, there are some cars that never go out of style. For instance, you just can’t go wrong with a comfortable pair of jeans. Likewise, you’ll always be admired when you pull up in a ground-pounding Willys. Back in 1941, at a small automaker that was about to go through its second bankruptcy, no one would have guessed that, 71 years later, we’d think a striking silver Americar is one of the coolest street rods we’ve ever seen. But alas, great design endures. And when great design is mixed with modern technology, it’s a sure-fire bet for success! Featuring an impressive roster of components, a supple leather interior and a 502 cubic inch big block V8, this head-turning custom is poised to draw big attention and take home very big trophies. It’s also completely sorted, scary fast and amazingly comfortable. Forget all that nonsensical talk about boring coupes and trendy roadsters owning the next cruise season, this first class Willys is your go-to piece for stopping the show!
For over 25 years Outlaw Performance of Avonmore, Pennsylvania has been a leading supplier of custom fiberglass bodies, and this spectacular coupe is a testament to just how well they’ve honed their craft. Purchased as one of their full body and chassis packages, the car benefits from a hand-laminated, one piece construction technique that combines an embedded Poplar floorpan with a sturdy, unitized steel structure. Take a look at our high resolution photos and you’ll see that every panel is as flat as Kansas, with a shine that’s only found on six-figure hot rods. That shine comes courtesy of a radiant coat of House of Kolor Mercedes Silver candy. And that impressive paint is accented by a dynamic array of Wade Hughes’ reverse flames. It’s hard to find any well-done street rod that doesn’t turn heads and inspire stares. But this car, with its excellent stance, sublime paint and well-planned detailing, makes most custom builds seem amateur and second-rate.
When you build a stunning, ground-hugging Willys, it doesn’t take much to make the car pop. That’s why professional customs like this fully sorted Outlaw feature just enough high quality bolt-ons to create a classy and timeless appearance. At the front of the car, a contoured hood rides above a polished grille and two original-style headlights. Behind that hood, lightly smoked glass and remote power windows sit between stylish, polished mirrors. At the sides of that glass, remote doors hang shaved handles behind tough aluminum hinges. Behind those doors, a remote trunk, custom tail lights and retractable license plate add a healthy dose of function to some of the best automotive form ever created. And overall, this coupe is simple, smooth and classic, carrying the true hallmarks of enduring design.
One thing you won’t have to worry about in this Willys is power. Thanks to a 502 cubic inch V8 that’s been balanced and blueprinted to 502 horsepower, this sleek street rod is more than just a pretty parking lot poseur! At the top of the world class mill, a chrome carburetor mixes air from a polished cleaner with a steady stream of high octane dinosaurs that travels through polished lines and a polished canister filter. At the base of that carburetor, a chromed intake rides between familiar aluminum heads that anchor polished valve covers under a combination of polished and chromed breathers. At the back of those heads, an MSD Pro-Billet distributor sequences fire through loomed Taylor plug wires. Cooling is provided by a coated water pump, which is aligned behind an electric puller fan, a triple-pass radiator, a chrome corrugated hose and an electric pusher fan. And exhaust is handled by a pair of ceramic coated block huggers, which look great next to the motor’s bright red skin. Naturally, this Willys clean engine bay is a sea of first rate hardware, from its chrome mini starter and braided coolant lines all the way to its polished accessory drive and Willys branded cowl. And overall, the car displays a first-rate level of workmanship that conveys a quality, tailored demeanor.
Behind that professionally built engine, a modern 700R4 4-speed twists torque through a 2,800 RPM stall converter to a Strange FAB9 and big, 3.73 gears. That first class drivetrain is held off the ground by a custom, square-tube chassis, which is bathed in a smooth layer of Mercedes Silver paint. At the front of that chassis, a polished Heidts suspension, which is equipped with modern rack and pinion steering and individually controlled air shocks, mixes pleasant rides with vintage feel. At the back of the chassis, a polished 4-link suspension utilizes two more individually controlled air shocks to provide drag strip worthy launches. Serious stops counter the car’s serious speed via a power-assisted Wilwood set up that wraps polished calipers around drilled and slotted rotors. Exhaust duties are handled by 3-inch, Jet-Hot coated pipes that growl through polished Borla mufflers. And keeping all this muscle rolling down the road is a slick set of polished Budnik Gassers which spin 25x7.50R15 Hoosier Pro Streets in front of 31x16.50R17 Hoosier Pro Streets. With a beefy drivetrain that’s been reliably built to be both tough and fun to drive, this ’41 Willys is the real deal. And with its clean floors and super impressive hardware, it’ll fare well at any show you chose to attend!
Pop the car’s lightweight doors and you’ll reveal a custom-tailored cabin that was installed by Shannon Walters of Interiors by Shannon. Featuring a stylish combination of glossy paint and supple leather hides, it’s the kind of space you just won’t want to leave. Traditional bucket seats are coddled by color-keyed belts. Auto Meter supplied the sporty looking gauges, which are arrayed across a red and silver dash. A custom console hangs a Vintage Air climate system in front of a Lokar shifter, power window switches and controls for the aforementioned air ride. Billet door handles detail completely custom side panels. The primary controls, a polished and wrapped wheel, billet pedals and a painted tilt steering column, make it very easy to get very comfortable. A shaved and upholstered trunk saves a little space for car show essentials. And items like hidden speakers, a billet mirror and a remote controlled JVC head unit round out a very nice build.
The sale of this classy custom includes receipts, show pictures, a copy of the car’s feature in the 2012 Goodguys yearbook, and two pictures posed with former owner Paul Teutul Sr.
The Willys is an icon, no doubt about that. And this fully sorted Americar puts a highly unique spin on a very familiar face. The car’s workmanship is outstanding, and I can’t imagine what it would cost to build something like this from the ground up. If you’re looking for a fully-sorted bruiser that’s blindingly fast and aesthetically exhilarating, come in and claim your next hot rod!