1951 Willys Station Wagon / Photos Specs Model History

Willys-Ovcerland, then Willys Jeep, produced station wagons from 1946 to 1964. It's interesting to note that some regarded the Willys Wagon or Station Wagon as more of a truck than a car. The vehicle featured in this article is a finely restored 1951 Willys Station Wagon.

1951 willys station agon

1951 Willys Station Wagon

The Willys Station Wagon was introduced by Willys-Overland in 1946, the same year in which it introduced the Universal CJ Series. The CJ Series was the Jeep built for civilian use.

The Jeep Station Wagon Design

The Willys Wagon, also called Station Wagon, has the distinction of being the first all steel station wagon by at least three years. It was also the first all steel mass produced station wagon. The all steel construction made production a bit easier. The design was unique, not only the all steel construction but also because the Willys Wagon had a front end that resembled the wartime military jeep.

The Willys Jeep Station Wagon was designed by Brooks Stevens. In 1944 Stevens and others formed the Industrial Designers Society of America. Brooks Stevens not only designed automobiles but also kitchen appliances, architecture and even the Miller Brewing logo.

The Willys Station Wagon could carry seven people. The vehicle was given the nickname by some, including James D. Mooney, president and board chairman of Willys-Overland Motors, as  “The Peoples Car”. The vehicle also gained a reputation as a safe vehicle that was relatively easy to maintain. Some referred to the Willys Station Wagon as a Jeep of another name.

willys wagonsOver it's nearly twenty year production run, the Willys Wagon went through many changes, some significant, others not. Significant changes to the design and engine were instituted in 1950. These included a modified grille that was made to form a pointed “V” in the center, with 5 horizontal bars added to the 9 vertical ribs. The changes in available engines in 1950 included an F-134 Hurricane for the 473 model, and a new 161 cu in (2.6L) version of the Lightning six for the 673 model. For the 1950 model year Willys added another model to the lineup with it's new Sedan Delivery version.

The Willys Wagons had inline four cylinder engines through 1947 but upgraded to an inline six beginning with the 1948 model year. In general, it could be said that the Willlys Wagons were underpowered considering their weight and size.

Changes of Ownership

Willys went through several ownership changes during the 1950's and 1960's. In 1963 the company was called the Kaiser-Jeep Corporation. In 1970 the company was then sold to the American Motors Corporation. Willys eventually moved from the United States to Brazil, where it was engaged in the production of jeeps until 1983. Jeep finally ended up being a part of the Chrysler Corporation where it resides today and of course is quite popular.

1952 Willys Station Wagon Specifications

In the ' 50s and ' 60s years of production Willys several times changed its owner and eventually moved from the United States to Brazil, where she was engaged in the production of jeeps until 1983.

1952 Willys Station Wagon Specifications

Just as in previous years, the Willys station wagon had a selection of different engines for the 1952 model year. These included an F6-161 Hurricane and an F 4-134 Hurricane. The F 4-134's were also used with the Jeep CJ series. The Hurricane engine had it's beginnings back with the Go-Devil Flathead engine.

willys wagon dashboardTransmissions available were three and four speed manuals.

Brakes were four wheel drum.

Dimensions included an overall length of 176.3 inches and a wheelbase of 104.0 inches. The 1952 Willys Wagon weighed 2,900 lbs.

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Willys Station Wagons as Collector Cars

Willys has several models that have gained popularity among car collectors. The Jeeps of course have a solid following and strict passenger cars were a part of Willys' past. The Willys Station Wagons such as the one featured in this article has gained collector popularity as years passed.

willys hurrican engine

This Willys has a 350 Cubic Inch V-8

Willys Wagons over their long production run came in a variety of styles. The older wagons such as those of the early 50's have been rising in value. For the collector, the trick has been finding one that hasn't been mauled. Finding originality is the challenge. Like most other collectible vehicles, the more original and the more restored Willys Station Wagons will fetch the higher price.

For some sample values, as of this writing we see a 53 Willys Utility Wagon, excellent condition and rust free, priced at $23,500. Also, a 1952 fully restored in show condition for $36,000 and a restored 1951 model with a $24,900 asking price.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)






1950 Willys Station Wagon / Photos History and Specs

The vehicle featured in this article is a 1950  Willys Station Wagon. The vehicle was rated as a 1/2 ton Wagon and was available in two and four wheel drives.

1950 willys station wagon

1950 Willys Station Wagon

The First Willys Wagon in 1946

Considering that most station wagons at that time had some authentic wood in their bodies, the prospect of building an all steel station wagon in 1946 made a lot of business sense.

By building an all steel wagon as a passenger vehicle, Willys-Overland  was able to mass produce the station wagon very efficiently. Not working with wood on the body saved considerable production time. The first Willys Station Wagon in 1946 was a 463 model and it was powered with a flathead four engine.

The vehicle's designer was Brooks Stevens. In 1944 Stevens and other formed the Industrial Designers Society of America. Brooks Stevens not only designed automobiles but also kitchen appliances, architecture and even the Miller Brewing logo.

willys station wagon

The new grille design on the 1950 Willys Wagon

The Willys Station Wagon was called "The Peoples Car" and could carry seven people. Other claimed attributes for the Willys Wagon included easy maintenance and superior safety. Some refer to the Willys Station Wagon as a Jeep of another name.

By the time 1950 rolled around the Willys Station Wagon had many changes. These changes included some new body designing as well as a new engine. The grille was changed to a V shaped design with five horizontal bars in front. One our photos in this article gives you a good look of it.

The  463, 473 and the 673 Willys

For the 1950 model year, Willys offered three versions of it's station wagon. These were the 463, 473 and 673 models.The 463 and 473 versions came with a 134 cubic inch (Go Devil) engine. The 673 model was built with a 144 cubic inch engine. The 673 overdrive version came with a 148 cubic inch power plant. The 134 and 144 and 148 cubic inch engines were flathead four cylinder. As an option, a Willys F4-134 Hurricane inline-4 was available for the 473's and a Lightning Six was available for the 673's.

These engines were somewhat under powered for their size.

In 1950 Willys also produced a Sedan Delivery version of the Wagon.

1950 Willys Station Wagon Specifications

As mentioned above there were a variety of engines available for the 1950 Willys Station Wagons. Some engines had more power than others but as a whole the Willys Station Wagon was probably underpowered considering the vehicles size and weight.

Engines available were a 134 cubic inch, a 144 cubic inch, and a 148 cubic inch. All were straight fours. As an option, a Willys F4-134 Hurricane inline-4 was available for the 473's and a Lightning Six was available for the 673's. Top speeds for these 1950 vehicles were between 105 to 110 MPH depending on engine.

Transmissions included both three and four speeds.

Suspension for the vehicle were front independent coil springs and rear longitudinal leaf springs.

Brakes were Bendix Hydraulic drums.

The dimensions of the 1950 Willys Station Wagon included an overall length of 175.8 inches, a wheelbase of 104.5 inches, a height of 75.2 inches and a width of 72.0 inches. Curb weight was estimated at 3,350 lbs.

See our AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

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You may also be interested in the Jeep Collector's Library by author Jim Allen from MotorBooks International.

willys wagon 1950

Rear view of the 1950 Willys Station Wagon

1950 Willys Station Wagons as Collector Automobiles

Willys have been popular collector cars and trucks for a long time. The Willys Jeep can be seen at almost every automobile show you happen to attend. As a side note, the first Jeep MB (Willys MB) was produced in 1941 making it the oldest American off road vehicle. The Jeep is certainly a part of American history. One attribute in addition to the vehicles utility is the ruggedness of it's construction.

The Willys Station Wagon, like the beauty featured in this article,  overshadowed other Willys models during it's 1946 to 1964 run. Today they are fine collectible vehicles and they are gaining in popularity. The Station Wagons built by both Willys-Overland and then by Kaiser-Willys have kept that Jeep ruggedness look and therefore are quite unique where Wagons are concerned.

willys wagon dashboard

dashboard on a 1950 Willys Station Wagon

The Willys Station Wagons have good restorability and parts are relatively easy to find. As of this writing, some of the suppliers for Jeep parts including parts for the 1950 Willys Station Wagon include Midwest Jeep Willys, Rockauto.com and The Jeepster Man, Inc.

Willys-Overland built the Willys Wagons (Jeep Wagons) until 1953 when they were acquired by Kaiser.

Asking prices for early 1950's Willys Station Wagons are reasonable. You'll likely see asking prices in the low to high $20,000 range for examples in excellent condition. As of this writing we have seen Willys Wagons offered below and above those figures. Mileage, condition, exact model and originality will determine the asking prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


1941 Willys

41 willys

1941 Willys Americar Coupe

The 1941 Willy's-Overland Motors Americar

Shown in this article is a beautifully restored 1941 Americar Coupe manufactured by Toledo Ohio based Willy's-Overland Motors from 1939 until 1942. The 41 Willys Americar was the last of the line prior to the United States entering World War Two. By order of President Franklin Roosevelt, all U.S. automakers were prohibited from producing civilian automobiles for the duration of the war. In the case of Willy's-Overland Motors, their Americar models never returned.

The 1941 Americar attributes were created after Joseph W. Frazer joined Willy's-Overland Motors as president in 1939. This was the Joseph Frazer who partnered in 1947 with Henry J. Kaiser in the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation The Americar was engineered by Barney Roos.

1941 willys americar coupe

Twin rear windows of the 1941 Americar

Americar Was the Last of a Line

The 1941 Willys Americar in this article is a sedan. Willy's Overland Motors did produce station wagons, coupes and pickup trucks based on the Americar model. The Americar came after the Willy's 77. The Willy's 77 was introduced in 1933, the same year that the company went into receivership, with it's economical four cylinder engine putting out 45 HP.

The Willy's-Overland Motors car model prior to the Willy's 77 was the Willy's Whippet. Willy's Whippet came out in 1926 as a replacement for the Overland brand. The Whippet had a four cylinder engine delivering about 35 HP. The Whippet engine was considered quite well designed for the 1920's. The cars were priced from about $525 to $800 which made them relatively inexpensive. At the same time, the Whippets were sturdy, economical to operate, dependable and fast. They were popular when they were introduced.

willys coupe

Front grille design on 41 Willys

John N. Willys developed the Whippet to be a new brand for light, fast, economical, stylishly designed, and inexpensive cars. The Whippet had some good featured over it's cheaper Ford competitor. The Whippet had four wheel brakes, forced lubrication and a water pump. The car was both compact and roomy. With a wheelbase of 100 inches, the Whippet was a bit larger than the Ford Model T. The Whippet was the third best selling car in the United States in 1928.Thus, with the beginnings of the Willy's Whippet in the 1920's to the 1941 Americar, we have the Pre-World War II history of Willy's-Overland Motors non-military line of passenger cars. The next passenger cars would be Willy's in 1952.

Americar Specs

The 41 Willys Americar had 22,000 units sold in 1941 and an additional 7,000 units in 1942. The car sold for a bit over $600. The Americar had a 104.0 inch wheelbase and was 170.0 inches in length. The car's weight was in the area of 2,300 pounds and had a 134.2 cid engine.

willys americar interior

Interior of 1941 Americar Coupe

Three different models of the Americar were offered. They included the Speedway, DeLuxe and the Plainsman. The Speedway and Plainsman came as either a sedan or coupe. The DeLuxe also came as a four door woody wagon.

Three additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll enjoy are on the links below..

The Historic Willys MB     1942  Chevrolet Town Sedan   A Beautiful 1950 Willys Station Wagon

Willy's-Overland Motors After World War II

Although the Americar model disappeared during and after World War Two, Willys-Overland Motors was the beneficiary of a lucrative military contract with the U.S. government during the war. To give you an idea of just how lucrative the government war contract was, in 1939 Willys-Overland had about $9 million in sales. In 1944 they had over $200 million in sales.

We all remember the famous Willys Jeep. The model was designated the Willys MB and had the well liked and very powerful  "Go Devil" engine. The two automakers engaged in military passenger vehicle work during the war were Ford and Willys-Overland Motors.

41 willys nameplate

Americar nameplate

After World War Two, Willy's developed the CJ model which was the civilian model of the Willys MB of the war years. After the war, Ford had sued Willys for use of the term "Jeep" but was unsuccessful. American Bantam who lost out on the government war contracts (only 2,600 American Bantams were built for the government) also sued Willys over the Jeep name. Most people believe that it was American Bantam that actually designed the jeep. Willys gained full right to the name after American Bantam went out of business in 1950. The first post war military Jeep was built in 1950.

In 1953, Henry J. Kaiser bought Willys-Overland and changed the name to Willys Motor Company. Eventually the company would become Kaiser-Jeep. The Willys name and product line were discontinued in 1965.

(Photos from author's collection)